In Michael Crichton’s _Prey_, Jack Forman faces sentient nano-machines that are built by engineered bacteria. Nano-machines are made by assembling billions of individual atoms, one at a time. Even if techniques improve to achieve speed of one atom per second, a complete assembly will still require more than five years. This build time issue can be solved by exploiting the manufacturing chains of life itself, according to scientists.
This is exactly what researchers at Ludwig Maximilians University in Germany have managed. Using DNA, they have built a simple _hand_ that can grab and release a specific type of protein. Eventually, the same technique will be used to combine atoms in specific arrangements that will yield in nano-machines.
In fact, researchers predict that simple constructions will be possible in two to five years, and advanced ones in five to ten years. The story of _Prey_ is, after all, not so far fetched if we judge by this achievement.
Link: “DNA has nano building in hand”:http://tinyurl.com/2ecq8