Huge success for tiny robots

(Reported by Faye Macdonald, Year 9)

Imagine a world where tiny machines can be used to help stop cancerous cells and save countless lives from this horrifying disease. It sounds like the future, but now it is all possible after the work of Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir Fraser Stoddart and Bernard Feringa.

These three ground-breaking scientists were awarded the 2016 Nobel prize in chemistry for developing controllable machines at a molecular level. This could seriously improve our modern day health service abilities. However this technology still needs to go through many more testing phases before it can be put into real life practice. For now, we remain hopeful that this terrible disease has met its match.

In 1994, Jean-Pierre Sauvage and his team succeeded in creating the first singular molecule to move once energy is applied to it. Just 23 years later, and they have created machines smaller than the width of human hair that can regulate body temperature and repair damage. To work, the machines are delivered into the human body and begin working from within. This opens a wide range of possibilities for nanotechnology and their application to medicine.

Reacting to his reception of the Nobel Prize, Professor Feringa said; ‘I don’t know what to say,’ and then mentioned ‘I’m a bit emotional about it.’ Nevertheless, the prize givers recognised the vast opportunity made possible through the scientists’ work.

Overall, these tiny robots could revolutionise the world we live in, in ways we once thought unimaginable.