Nanotechnology, the new science of extreme miniaturization, is a rapidly growing field in engineering. On this size scale, it is extremely difficult and expensive to fabricate analogs of macroscale engineering, such as grippers. Drawing inspiration from biological fabrication in nature, engineers are seeking to self-assemble structures from the bottom up. This manufacturing paradigm has been largely unexplored in human engineering since the process is generally perceived to be indeterminable and uncontrollable.
The Gracias Lab at Johns Hopkins has developed a relatively easy, precise, and cost-effective process by which the 2D templates of semi-tethered "faces" can self-assemble into controlled 3D structures by utilizing the natural phenomena of surface tension. This video highlights the development, manufacturing process, and proposed functions (cell encapsulation devices and controlled drug delivery carriers) of our self-assembling nanoliter containers.