In this artist's impression, a swarm of nanobots is read to be deployed to deliver drugs inside a human body with extreme precision.
Microscopic robots would be able to reduce collateral damage to healthy tissue, and could therefore represent a crucial advancement in cancer therapy.
The shape of the nanobots is designed after the bacteria E.coli.
The propeller-like shape allows the nanobots to be controlled through magnetic fields, without an actual on-board propulsion system.
Nanobots are so tiny than up to 3 billion of them could fit in a teaspoon.
A petri dish with a culture of bacterial strains of E. coli, which inspired the shape of the nanobots developed at ETH.
CHRISTIAN CHARISIUS/AFP/Getty Images/FILE
Thick oil is seen washed ashore from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on July 1, 2010 in Gulfport, Mississippi. Nanotechnology has the potential to tackle environmental disasters such as this much more effectively than traditional methods.
American physicist and Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman was the first to envision the potential of nanotechnology, back in 1959.