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Race of World's Tiniest Cars Set to Drive Nano-Robot Revolution

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A model of the Ohio teams nanocar.

This November, scientists from around the world will meet in Toulouse, France, for a world first: a car race conducted at the nanoscopic level.

Credit: CNRS

Scientists from around the world will meet in Toulouse, France, in November for the world's first car race conducted at the nanoscopic level.

Five teams from France, the U.S., Austria, Germany, and Japan will participate in an event that will test the capabilities of molecular machines and could spur science to progress more quickly.

The race has created a competitive environment for building machines that can operate on a microscopic level.

Rice University professor James Tour envisions nanocars carrying raw materials to build tiny, useful structures from the ground up. He says they could pile metal atoms up to build bits of a computer, eventually precisely building up to objects that could be visible by people.

For the race, the teams will place their cars onto a crystalline gold surface, and the designated drivers will have to find and navigate them to the finish line. "This nanocar race is going to be child's play compared to the things that will be demonstrated in the next century," Tour says.

From New Scientist
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