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Scientists have yoked bacteria to power rotary motors,
the first microscopic mechanical devices to successfully
incorporate living microbes together with inorganic parts.
"In far future plans, we would like to make micro-robots driven
by biological motors," researcher Yuichi Hiratsuka,
a nanobiotechnologist now at the University of Tokyo,
This pear-shaped microbe, a millionth of a meter long,
can glide over surfaces at up to seven-tenths of an inch an hour.
Translated to a six-foot-tall runner, this roughly equates to 20 mph.
The researchers built circular pathways coated with sugary proteins,
which the microbe needs to stick to in order to glide over surfaces.
They then docked a rotor onto the track and coated the bacteria with
vitamin B7, which acted like glue to yoke the germs to the cog.
They also genetically modified the microbes so they stuck to their tracks