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  • Have you ever wondered

  • how things are built within our bodies?

  • Why our bodies can regrow and repair themselves,

  • and how we can pass on genes

  • from one generation to the next?

  • Yet, none of our man-made objects have these traits;

  • they're simply thrown away when they break

  • and they definitely can't reproduce.

  • The answer lies in something called self assembly.

  • Self assembly is a system where unordered parts

  • come together in an organized structure,

  • completely on their own.

  • This means that a pile of parts on your desk should,

  • in theory, be able to move around on their own,

  • find one another,

  • and build something useful.

  • This seems impossible,

  • like Transformers

  • or the Sandman,

  • but it's exactly how our bodies are built,

  • how our immune system works,

  • and why we can reproduce.

  • Self assembly is the factory and copy machines within our bodies

  • that make proteins fold and DNA replicate.

  • It's a process that not only happens

  • in the biological and chemical world,

  • but is a phenomenon that can be seen from magnets

  • to snowflakes,

  • robotics,

  • social networks,

  • the formations of cities and galaxies,

  • to name just a few.

  • In biology and chemistry,

  • self assembly is everywhere,

  • from atomic interactions,

  • cellular replication

  • to DNA, RNA, and protein folding.

  • Proteins are like bicycle chains

  • with sequences of amino acid links.

  • They self assemble into 3-D structures

  • because of the interaction

  • between the amino acids along the chain,

  • as well as the relationship

  • between the chain and the environment.

  • These forces make the flexible chain

  • fold into a 3-D shape

  • that governs the function in the protein.

  • Viruses, on the other hand, are like soccer balls.

  • They're made up of a series of sub-units with specific shapes.

  • Those shapes have attraction to one another,

  • so they fit together in precise ways.

  • Image you want to build a perfect sphere.

  • It turns out that making a precise sphere

  • through traditional means is actually quite difficult.

  • Alternatively, you could try to self assemble the sphere.

  • One way would be to inflate the sphere

  • like a bubble or a balloon.

  • Another option would be to create many identical pieces

  • that would come together to make a perfect sphere.

  • You could try to put the pieces together one-by-one,

  • but it might take a long time

  • and you would still have human errors.

  • Instead you could design a connection

  • between the components like magnets

  • and dump them into a container.

  • When you shook the container,

  • all the parts would find one another

  • and build the sphere for you.

  • Self assembly is being used as a new design,

  • science,

  • and engineering tool

  • for making the next generation of technologies

  • easier to build,

  • more adaptive,

  • and less reliant on fossil fuels.

  • Scientists are now making molecular microchips for computers

  • where small, molecular elements are given

  • the right conditions to form themselves into organized pathways.

  • Similarly, we can now use self assembly

  • as a way to make 3-D structures with DNA,

  • like capsules that could deliver drugs inside the body,

  • releasing them only if certain conditions are met.

  • Soon, self assembly will be used for larger applications,

  • where materials can repair themselves,

  • water pipes can reconfigure on demand,

  • buildings can adapt on their own

  • to environment or dynamic loading,

  • and space structures can self assemble without humans.

  • Imagine if our factories were more like organisms or brains

  • and our construction sites were like gardens

  • that grow and adapt independently.

  • The possibilities are endless

  • and it's now up to us

  • to design a better world through self assembly.

Have you ever wondered

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B1 TED-Ed assembly sphere assemble dna amino

【TED-Ed】Self-assembly: The power of organizing the unorganized - Skylar Tibbits

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    wikiHuang posted on 2013/12/05
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