A proposed branch of research is the integration of molecular motor proteins found in living cells into molecular motors implanted in artificial devices. Such a motor protein would be able to move a "cargo" within that device, via protein dynamics, similarly to how kinesin moves various molecules along tracks of microtubules inside cells.
Starting and stopping the movement of such motor proteins would involve caging the ATP in molecular structures sensitive to UV light. Pulses of UV illumination would thus provide pulses of movement. DNA nanomachines, based on changes between two molecular conformations of DNA in response to various external triggers, have also been described.
Chemically powered or externally powered artificial nanomotors have also been prepared using synthetic materials and chemical methods.
 Nanotube and nanowire motors
Catalytic nanowire motors and microtube microengines exhibit autonomous self propulsion in the presence of a hydrogen peroxide fuel. The latter, developed in Dresden Germany, offer efficient bubble-induced propulsion in relevant biological fluids. These catalytic motors are autonomous in that they do not require external magnetic, electric, or optical fields as energy sources. Researchers led by Joseph Wang have made a breakthrough development in 2008 by making a new generation of fuel-driven catalytic nanomotors that are up to 10 times more powerful than existing nanomachines. It is a major step forward to a practical energy source for powering tomorrow's nanomachines. The large force of recently developed nanomotors holds major promise for important cargo-towing applications ranging from cell sorting in microchip devices to directed drug delivery.
 See also
- Carbon nanotube
- Electrostatic motor
- Molecular motor
- Protein dynamics
- Synthetic molecular motors
- S. Bamrungsap, J. A. Phillips, X. Xiong, Y. Kim, H. Wang, H. Liu, A. Hebard, and W. Tan, "Magnetically driven single DNA nanomotor," Small, vol. 7, no. 5, pp. 601-605, 2011.
- Rotational actuators based on carbon nanotubes
- Speeding up catalytic nanomotors with carbon nanotubes
- Berkeley.edu – Physicists build world's smallest motor
- Nanotube Nanomotor research project