A European consortium has built two micro-robots to manipulate carbon nanotubes. Handling and characterisation of nano-tubes, which are thousands of times thinner than a human hair, is difficult and a large range of potential applications have made it an important problem.
The two robots created as part of the NanoHand project funded by the European Union are about two centimetres in size and work inside the vacuum chamber of a scanning electron microscope. They are equipped with jaws that open to about 2 micrometres to pick up objects less than 100 nanometres in size.
From the start, the project has been run with commercialization in mind and the first product is already marketed with two industrial partners.
Some good additional info can be found on the ICT Results website and Science Daily.