Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh is making biomimetic robots. They are based on biological principles and have bacteria motors attached to their near-invisible bodies, and can slither through water canals and probe deep into blood vessels to stop disease and administer medicine.
The nanorobotics lab at Carnegie Mellon University is doing interesting work
Nanomanipulation project goal: To develop a robotic manipulation system that can autonomously construct complex three-dimensional micro and nano-structures from micro and nano-parts. To develop a large-scale assembly system to mass-assemble micro and nano-devices. Currently: A micromanipulation system is developed that can autonomously construct two-dimensional micro-arrangements of spheres sized from 3um to 20um in diameter. They are looking to get smaller using atomic force microscopes.
nanoManipulation Modeling project goal: Develop a continuum physical model of the dynamics of nano-scale particle manipulation. Complete computer simulations have been devised based on preliminary modeling of the physics of nano-scale dynamics. These simulations will be compared with the experimental Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) probe based nanoparticle pushing data.
Integrated NanoTool Carrier project goal: Develop an autonomous mobile robot equipped with various exchangeable nano tools(e.g. drills, shears, saws, buckets, and grippers) by applying a novel ultra precise positioning strategy to improve the flexibility and versatility of existing nano imaging and manipulating facilities and also perform assigned nano missions in a cooperative and efficient way by colony of robots.
Telenano project goal: Augmented Reality User Interface for Atomic Force Microscopes (afm)
Project to make 3D nanofibers and nanofiber networks from polymers
Foresight's Nanodot reports that at a NASA nanotech meeting in August 2004, Prof. Sitti gave his timing projections: 5-10 yrs: nanoassembly, nanomanufacturing, hybrid biotic/abiotic robots. After 10 years: atomic and molecular scale manufacturing. He explained that complexity will be a challenge: controlling and programming. So an estimate of 2014, to the start of molecular manufacturing from someone making interesting things now.
The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology has coverage on this