For thousands of years, people have been coaxing other creatures into doing chores. Now, a team of scientists has microsized the strategy. They've devised a way to make single-cell algae bear loads over distances of several centimeters—a tactic that the researchers say could prove useful in tiny machines.
Algae and other single-celled organisms power their movements with molecular motors. Scientists have long coveted these motors for use in micromachinery, notes chemist Douglas B. Weibel of Harvard University.