Researchers from Ohio State University have announced the development of new software called MagicDNA. The software is a new development tool that can allow scientists to design much more complex DNA robots and nanodevices than were possible before. The software enables researchers to design ways to take very small strands of DNA and combine them into complex structures with components such as rotors and hinges that can move to complete various tasks.
The devices created with the software can perform tasks such as drug delivery and possibly others. Researchers on the study say that scientists have been constructing structures using DNA for years with slower tools and tedious manual steps. The team says that nanodevices that may have taken several days to design before can now be designed in a few minutes.
The software also allows the designing of much more complex and useful nanodevices than was previously possible. Previously, researchers built devices with around six individual components connected via joints and hinges to execute complicated motions. Using the new software, researchers can now make robots or other devices with 20 or more components that are easier to control.
Researchers say that the software is a huge step in designing new devices able to perform complex actions. The software allows the entire design process to be done in 3D. Previous design tools allowed creation in 2D only, which forced the creations to be mapped into 3D, limiting their complexity.
Scientists can also harness the software to build DNA structures using a bottom-up or top-down approach. The bottom-up approach allows designers to take individual strands of DNA and decide how to organize them into the structure they want. The top-down approach allows users to decide how the overall device needs to be shaped geometrically and automate how the DNA strands are assembled. The software also allows simulations of how objects designed using it would move and operate in the real world.