Bacterial Builders, Inspired by Ancient Pyramids

The title of this study speaks volumes (albeit a bit cryptically):

A robotic micro-assembly process inspired by the construction of the ancient pyramids and relying on several thousand flagellated bacteria acting as micro-workers,” S. Martel and M. Mohammadi, IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2009, IROS 2009. 10-15 Oct. 10-15,2009, pp. 426-7. (Thanks to investigator Matt Brand for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at Ecole Polytech. de Montreal, Canada, report:

“Bacteria can be used as computer-controlled bioactuators and means of propulsion for microrobots and other micro-scaled entities to accomplish precise operations as first proposed by our research group… and demonstrated later experimentally…”

BONUS: IEEE Spectrum gives its take on the matter.