In biology, nucleic acids are carriers of molecular information: DNA’s base sequence stores and imparts genetic instructions, while RNA’s sequence plays the role of a messenger and a regulator of gene expression. As biopolymers, nucleic acids also have exciting physicochemical properties, which can be rationally influenced by the base sequence in myriad ways. Consequently, in recent years nucleic acids have also become important building blocks for bottom-up nanotechnology: as molecules for the self-assembly of molecular nanostructures and also as a material for building machinelike nanodevices. In this Review we will cover the most important developments in this growing field of nucleic acid nanodevices. We also provide an overview of the biochemical and biophysical background of this field and the major “historical” influences that shaped its development. Particular emphasis is laid on DNA molecular motors, molecular robotics, molecular information processing, and applications of nucleic acid nanodevices in biology.