With the possibility of creating and handling nanometer-sized objects, it became popular to dream of future miniaturized tools allowing completely new applications in medicine and technology. Mother nature created during evolution many such self-assembled highly sophisticated and robust objects, and it is very tempting to modify them for other purposes: artificial cells as intelligent submarines floating in the bloodstream attacking cancer cells, single-molecule detection and manipulation allowing the bottom-up construction of devices, and so on. Nanobiotechnology became a hot topic and significant budgets have been attributed to it. However, caution has to be paid that unrealistic dreams might have a fairly negative effect on the taxpayer seeing unkept promises. In this paper, we explore the possibilities of using biological substances in material science. [on SciFinder (R)]