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Technisches museum wien

part of “TechLAB” in the “Arbeit & Produktion. Weiter_gedacht”


It was an honor to be chosen as Artist in Residence by Ars Electronica in 2016

This project is part of Sparks, a H2020 project funded by the European Commission

BeBot project consists of three parts:

1 - BeBot Nanorobots

2 - BeBot Inhaler

3 - BeBot Infoboard

Interview with Markus Scholl / Futurelab Ars Electronica
You will not crave for junkfood anymore - a story of nanobots


Credits and Special Thanks to:
Christian Kittner - Inhaler Design / Elisabeth Leuthner - Logo and Graphic Design / Werner Pötzelberger - nanobots character design and 3D realization / Christopher Lindinger - futurelab / Claudia Schnugg - futurelab / Markus Scholl - futurelab

Nanobots BeBots - scanning electron microscope

Nanobots BeBots - scanning electron microscope

Nanobots BeBots - scanning electron microscope

Nanobots BeBots - scanning electron microscope


Would you insert a robot inside your body if it could change your appetite and improve your health? Artists Jakob and Lea Illera have created the Bebot, an imaginary nanobot that interferes with our nervous systems to suppress our conscious and subconscious desires. Designed in response to the growth in diet-related diseases such as diabetes and obesity, Bebots examine a future where we can all resort to DIY medical solutions that manipulate our fundamental thoughts and feelings.

We are using the perfect most beautiful molecule on earth: DNA. It makes sense to use molecules, if we want a machine in the size of a molecule. In fact, every part of a nanobot, moving parts, software, everything is made of DNA. This technology already exists: recombinant DNA and origami DNA. We use these CAD tools to design our BeBots by forming and folding DNA, as we need it. Leading scientists like Ido Bachelet, Ph.D., already use DNA to build nanobots. They serve as cargo to load cancer drugs. This way, cancer drugs reach their specific destination, the cancer cells. / Watch this TED Med Video with Ido Bachelet: How Nanobots will revolutionize medicine /

DNA ORIAGMI is the nanoscale folding of DNA to create non-arbitrary two- and three-dimensional shapes at the nanoscale. The specificity of the interactions between complementary base pairs make DNA a useful construction material, through design of its base sequences.DNA is a well-understood material that is suitable for creating scaffolds that hold other molecules in place or to create structures all on its own. / Read more about DNA Origami at Wikipeadia /



BeBot is designed to receive data from the brain, to alter patterns in our subconscience and to regulate cognitive processes. We are aware of the potential danger this intervention entails. Therefore, we are careful to focus in our BeBot‘s design solely on favourable applications. We aim to facilitate dietary changes and assist people with specific ailments (diabetes, intolerances, cancer etc. … ) In particular, we are interested in concepts to breach the blood-brain barrier for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

„The connection between the nasal cavity and the CNS (central nervous system) by the olfactory neurones has been investigated extensively with regard to its feasibility to serve as a direct drug transport route to the cerebrospinal fluid and brain. It has been proved that neurotrophine, neuropeptide, insulin, cytokines and even DNA could enter CNS via the olfactory nerve.“ / Read more about concepts to breach the the blood-brain barrier - Quote in german only /

This explains the idea to administer the BeBot via nasal spray or inhaler. We believe that this form of administration is less invasive and easy to apply for everyone.


Parasites infest their host by using their host’s behavioural pattern. As a result, parasites even gain access to their host’s brain and neural tracts. Access is easier in invertebrates than vertebrates; as the latter have a blood-brain barrier. Some parasites (e.g. toxoplasma) and substances (e.g. morphine, codeine, heroine), however, are able to pass it.

One example would be Toxoplasma gondii: „Mice infested by Toxoplasma gondii lose their fear of cats and, consequently, fall an easy prey. Mice, therefore, function as intermediate hosts, whereas cats serve as definitive hosts. Inside the mouse Toxoplasma gondii remain in muscles and brain. Once inside the cat, these protozoa reproduce solely in the intestinal tract. …. other intermediate hosts among vertebrates are humans, for example. The acute infection is called toxoplasmosis.“ / (Florian Rötzer, Telepolis by Jaroslav Flegr: Toxoplasama, behaviour-altering parasite) Quote in german only /


In detail: The blood–brain barrier is a highly selective permeability barrier in the brain and spinal cord that separates the circulating blood from the brain extracellular fluid in the central nervous system (CNS) and maintains the homeostasis. The blood–brain barrier allows the passage of metabolic products as well as of nutrients crucial to neural function. The blood–brain barrier effectively protects the brain from many bacterial infections by preventing the entry of potential neurotoxins and germs. In its neuroprotective role, the blood–brain barrier hampers the delivery of many potentially important diagnostic and therapeutic agents to the brain and thereby constitutes a challenge to the treatment of most brain disorders. / Read more about the Blood-Brain Barrier at Wikipedia /



Our BeBot project is mainly based on research in behavioural biology, neurology and nanotechnology. In developing our BeBot‘s behaviour, we draw upon the behaviour of parasites. To implant BeBots into the nervous system, we rely on excellent research in medicine, biosciences, nanotechnology and advanced material.


BeBots are nanobots that impact our conscience, subconscience and autonomic nervous system and thereby induce desired changes in the brain and nerve tracts. BeBot is derived from nanobots, to behave, to be as well as behaviourism.

Bebot is designed to regulate and influence our eating habits, respectively. Diseases like diabetes, overweight, allergies and intolerances will continue to spread. BeBot may encourage to aspire to well-tolerated food. We see BeBot as yet fictional advancement of today’s nanomedicine. Our project will result in a range of ready-to-use products. We aim to offer a nasal spray or inhaler so easy in its application that it preempts conceivable fear of the unfamiliar.

The pivotal idea of „man’s freewill“ in mind, how far do we go to enable self-healing?


BeBots are supposed to operate on synapses, where our conscience is formed. This requires BeBots to intelligently and independently function as a team. Again, we draw upon behaviour patterns common among certain animals like collective intelligence, Quorum sensing of protozoa and certain skills of ants.

Collective intelligence enables the collaboration of many individuals in a complex way. It is thereby not necessary that each individual follows its own direction of action. They act as a group. Ants, for instance, are able to build physical bridges. This ability could be useful in building nanobot chains.

Quorum sensing is a system of stimuli and response correlated to population density. This is how many species of bacteria (Bioluminescence) coordinate gene expression according to the density of their population. In similar fashion, BeBots initiate their course of action in accordance with their density of population. / Read more about Quorum sensing in Wikipedia /