Scientists at the Institute for Integrative Nanosciences in Dresden, Germany, have developed “robotic sperm” by trapping bull sperm in metal nanotubes then controlling the direction they swim with a magnetic field. Personally, I don’t care how strong that magnetic field is, mine would still swim in circles because they are DETERMINED to not get anything pregnant. “They’re not even swimming, they’re just lying on the bottom like a pile of dead Sea Monkeys.” Really? *tapping on glass* Maybe they’re just resting.
The resulting biobot (a ‘biological robot’, referring to a bacterium or cell which has been programmed to behave in a certain way) could be put to a range of uses, including delivering drugs to a specific target in the body or fertilising an egg, reports New Scientist.
The experiments have been led by Oliver Schmidt at the Institute for Integrative Nanosciences in Dresden, Germany. Schmidt and his team created magnetic nanotubes 50 microns long by 5 to 8 microns in diameter and dropped these into a fluid containing bull sperm.
The tubes, which are narrower at one end to stop the sperm from escaping, can then be rotated by using magnetic fields. The tail-like flagellum of the sperm cell sticks outside the end of the tube and powers the biobot around the fluid like an outboard motor.