Entries Tagged as 'Nanotech'

On Nanotech and Economics

Tihamer Toth-Fejel writes about Productive Nanosystems and the 2009 Financial Meltdown.

The collisions between unstoppable juggernauts and immovable obstacles are always fascinating—we just cannot tear our eyes away from the immense conflict, especially if we have a glimmer of the immense consequences it will have for us. So it will be when Productive Nanosystems emerge from the global financial meltdown. To predict what will happen in the next decade or so, we must understand the essential nature of wealth, and we must understand the capabilities of productive nanosystems.

Simplified nanobot anti-aging solution

[ I’ve started this article 2 years ago – will post it now even though I feel it is incomplete. ]

I’d like to propose a somewhat simplified approach to eliminate aging, given early-stage molecular robots and following the SENS approach to aging.

Results in this approach depend on equal amounts of creation of new cells and destruction of old cells to exponentially reduce the amount of aging related defects in the body over time.

Aubrey de Grey proposes 7 mechanisms for aging, which are believed to be comprehensive: [Read more →]

Chris Phoenix on Nanotech Fast Takeoff

Chris Phoenix is writing an interesting series of articles over at CRN about the dynamics of the development of molecular engineering.

His thesis, as far as I understand it after the first three articles, is that we’re likely to see a fast takeoff, because it’s easy to achieve excellent results after you’ve achieved good enough.

One example is error rate – going past an adequate error rate to a superlative one just requires additional purification / error correcting steps. Other things that may improve very quickly once a workable solution is found are reaction rates – which are exponentially dependent on positional accuracy / stiffness.

Cool virus infection and assembly videos

Fun video with accurate structures and mechanism, although motions are not realistic (Brownian motion is not goal directed). The third video is the most involved.

H/T: Eric Drexler

Making choices

Brian Wang posts a very cogent article about how global forces exist which delay progress and cause global harm. This includes the use of coal instead of cleaner energy (including nuclear), causing hundreds of thousands of deaths per year. It also includes corruption and violence preventing distribution of food and medicine and preventing economic growth.

I find it amazing that the human race spends on the order of a million dollars per year on molecular manufacturing when the potential impacts are measured in trillions. In other words, the race is spending less than one ten millionth of its efforts on this technology. The shortfall is mostly due to political issues, such as a lack of interdisciplinary thinking.

Nano and lightyears in context

Check out this interactive “powers-of-ten” flash presentation from Nikon. Good for some perspective…

Make sure your browser is full screen or you may miss the controls at the bottom.

Hat tip to Nanodot.

Advances in top-down nanotech

Brian Wang has a good review article about recent advances in top-down nanotech and some projections. Maybe top-down will meet bottom-up in 10 years?

CRNANO on DNA based nanomanufacturing

Chris Phoneix at CRNANO has some suggestions for nanomanufacturing using DNA bricks, and a followup article.

Brian Wang’s predictions

Brian Wang has predictions.

And he has some actual references to back them up.

(Found through Accelerating Future.)

Winner take all and Molecular Manufacturing

I posted on a discussion about the problem of winner-take-all and MM.

Molecular Tinkertoys

Check out Schafmeister Lab for interesting progress in arbitrary shaped nanostructures from a fixed set of building blocks.

Nanotech and molecular tech

Every promising field has plenty of hype. Lots of “jump on the bandwagon” relabeling of existing research.

Here is a definition of nanotechnology: Nanotechnology is technology on the nanometer scale. Nanotechnology is an interdisciplinary activity, drawing on physics, chemistry, electronics, materials science and molecular biology.

And a separate definition for molecular engineering: methods and tools to design and produce high-complexity atomically precise structures. Molecular engineering is a nanotechnology.

I’m interested in molecular engineering. Biotech is not molecular engineering. Biotech is limited in building blocks, complexity and applications. Micro-machinery is not molecularly precise.

An important aspect of engineering is the ability to use an engineering discipline to incrementally improve the discipline itself. For example, you can use a milling machine to build parts for further milling machines. You can use computers to design and simulate computers. With molecular engineering you will be able to both design (molecular computers) and build (molecular assemblers) further molecular devices.

This is the crux of it – by feeding back on design tools and manufacturing you will get a “Moore’s Law” comparable to that of computers.

Enzymes can be used for bootstrapping an initial/simplified assembly machine. After you have the initial machine, it can be used to assemble better assembly machines, etc. . Enzymes are limited in medical application. You can’t really have an enzyme that does complex evaluation of a cell to decide if it is a pre-cancerous or perform complex cleanup and repair on a neuron, etc. . That’s why we should go a step further.

A molecular assembler will require interdisciplinary effort combining chemistry, computation, etc. . Researchers limited to existing fields may not have the vision or may feel threatened by the multi-field requirement. Bio-chemists and computer scientists have different temperaments which may make it harder to collaborate.

A programmable machine has product cycles measured in weeks or months. Existing research has cycles of years. An order of magnitude or two difference. And again, I don’t think you can reach the complexity that you need to deal with the human body.

The “major breakthroughs” in biotech have yet to increase lifespans by more than a few percent. They are major in terms of the past, but minor in terms of what needs to be done/can be done.

Nano links

Protein based assembly: