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« Coping with Nanoscale Errors | Main | Nanotechnology Funding »

October 03, 2004

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Matt

Now I feel really stupid. Here in Germany we have a handful of TV science magazines, in 2001 one of them brought an episode about nanotechnology, and I just forgot I had this very episode on my PC.
The point is: In this 2001 episode they featured a Gymnasium school class (about equiv. to 2nd year of College) that - with help of 2 physicists - actually built an STM at material costs of about 500 Euro ($550 back then).

Originally the magazine's editors approached the school, but they (the pupils) continued the project afterwards, naming it the SXM Project (english version available). Today they are offering a complete construction kit for worldwide shipping at about $800 - $850 or basic components at 500 Euro ($650) (buying prices, no profit). Currently they seem to be experimenting on an AFM, though no details are the site yet.
Also see a basic guide by Jim Logajan here.

Moving molecules at room temperature has already been achieved by the maybe most promising non-government (or overall) competitor for MNT: IBM, in particular, IBM Zurich.

No my questions are:
- Has there been progress at moving molecules, i.e. has it been achieved to move them in air rather than vacuum?

- How hard is it to set up a vacuum atmosphere in a home-made STM? Sorry if that´s too much of a guesswork question and maybe I should ask it to the SXM team directly. But maybe you can tell me about it too, since you probably know the setup from hands-on experience?

- Robert Freitas proposed to experimentally identify the most promising candidates for a set of molecular tools required for Nanosystem MNT. Assuming he eventually achieves this and mass-producing these molecules becomes close to trivial (i.e. they are commercially available to hobby experimenters), what kind of tools would you consider the absolute minimum to fiddle about with mechanosynthesis at home?

Matt

> at about $800 - $850

That should read "at about €800 - €850"

Kurt

The problem with "professionalism" is that it has become the the old European guild system, with licensure being used as a means to limit entry into the system and for restraint of trade. This is especially true of medicine, where very few MDs actually have a technical background. This problem, when coupled with government funding, leads to politics and bureaucracy, which is death to any positive work what so ever.

Most technical fields, especially medicine, are not that difficult to learn for someone with an IQ of 135 or above. The reason why "professionals" have maintained their dominance in certain fields is because they have had a monopoly on financial resources, not on brains. Biotech and nanotech are very tool driven. As the tools necessary to do leading edge work get cheaper and cheaper, the monopoly of the professional guilds is being broken.

About time, too. Its time we free ourselves from top-down, hierachial forms of society and replace them with bottom-up, decentralized, networking forms of society. We will all be the better of it. All of us, except for the parasites who live off of the productive efforts of other people, which is the original basis of social hierarchy in the first place.

Matt

Building a nanomanipulator via nanotech-now.com.

Looks very impressive to me, considering the pretty low costs. Combined with a low-cost STM this really looks promising.

Brett Bellmore

That is a pretty impressive design. I'll have to study it a bit, I think I might have everything on hand needed to build something like that.

Brett Bellmore

One thing though; The article states that it's a six axis tool; Three positional axis, three rotational. I'm suprised at that. The general scheme here, of very slightly deflecting a flexible member, in order to move a point on it controllably on the nanoscale, works well in three axis of displacement, but works against you if you're trying to tilt and rotate the tool head, as those motions require relatively LARGE displacements away from the work point. I'll have to think on that, maybe look up the patent, to see how it's accomplished.

davidoker

http://www.suntimes.com/output/business/cst-fin-cia05arryx.html

it won't take them long to improve this system and even use it to make more conventional mechanical molecular assembly systems.

At this point, it looks to me that the current industrial world is gone before 2010 at least(whether there is a war of mnt or mnt just changes the world).

Janessa Ravenwood

I rather doubt 2010. I'd say 2020 at the earliest for a real effect to be felt, but I'll take it as soon as it can get here. Yesterday wouldn't be soon enough.

Brett Bellmore

Same here; I"m not getting any younger, and I'd really like to avoid having to spend a few years "vacationing" in a dewar of LN.

Janessa Ravenwood

Even if I'm seriously thinking of moving to Phoenix solely to be closer to Alcor, I'm not in a hurry myself. At 34 I stand some good chance of making it to life extension without having to do some serious chilling out first.

Mike Deering

Janessa, you can do a lot of life extension just by reducing risk factors:

don't smoke,
don't drink more than two alcoholic bevs a day.
don't drive when you can fly,
minimize time in cars,
wear your seat belt,
don't take drugs,
wash your hands a lot,
avoid mosquitoes,
avoid dangerous areas, activities, and people,
don't over eat,
brush and floss daily,
avoid sunshine,
get a micron water filter,
install hepa filters on your house,
don't live near the coast (tidal waves),
don't live in earthquake zones,
don't live in tornado alley,
don't live in blizzard prone areas,
don't live near major population centers, military bases or other terrorists targets,
don't live more than ten minutes from a hospital emergency room, and trauma center,
get a home security system, or a dog,
take a police academy firearms class,
put a safe room near your bedroom,
wear a bulletproof vest,
sterilize everything,
hire bodyguards,
avoid people, they have germs,
irradiate your food,
be paranoid,
don't worry - be happy.


davidoker

"get a home security system, or a dog"

I have to make a comment about this one hazard avoidance suggestion . . . dogs are easy to sooth by means of a good sized steak . . . at least, that's what a friend of mine said when his house was robbed.

Matt

The X-Prize Foundation, together with the World Technology Network WTN, wants to create the WTN X Prize. It is like the recent X Prize that was won by the Space Ship One company, but is supposed to be an annual prize for all kinds of technological challenges, suggested by the public.

According to this article the X prize would be limited to challenges regarding commercial spaceflight, but
here everybody can submit any title, descritpion, rule suggestions, etc.

For nanotechnolgy there already is the Feynman Grand Challenge of course, but I really never read anything about it outside the Foresight Institute. So I assume its recognition among those without particular interest in MM is fairly low, even though it has been around for quite some time now. The X Prize, however, already has become widely known, with the commercial race to space being a broadly appealing and important topic. The popularity of the X Prize would be perfect to make the goals of organizations like CRN and Foresight better known to the public and advance MM in general. What do you think?

Brett Bellmore

A really cheap STM I just ran across:

http://www.geocities.com/spm_stm/Project.html

Looks fun!

Matt

While we´re at the grass root effort: Do you all have your Folding@home client installed and running, preferably 24/7?

Chris Phoenix, CRN

I'm not sure if you need a vacuum environment, or if simply flushing with helium will work. Probably depends on what you're trying to do.

Chris

Tom Craver

Janessa:
"At 34 I stand some good chance of making it to life extension without having to do some serious chilling out first"

Funny - that's about what I thought, a bit over a decade ago. I'm getting less certain as time goes on.

Positive side - much wider acceptance of the idea, much more open discussion, a few intelligent advocates, Methuselah mouse prize, occasional bits of relevant research progress, cracking of the human genome (at least for protein-formation - now they're saying the "junk" DNA may have control functions).

Negative side - we still haven't beaten cancer, "serious" scientists still generally wouldn't risk their career doing true anti-aging research, pharma companies aren't going to fund such a radical idea (even if it didn't threaten to cut into their cash cow of drugs for the elderly), govt isn't likely to fund something that too many still perceive as "causing population problems" - we're still stuck with the "death as a moral obligation" meme - odd that such a meme would have evolved since we've never really had a choice in the matter. Sour grapes I suppose...

At least (by luck) I live in the Phoenix area. As the years fly past, I'm starting to think I should just go ahead and sign up.

anonymous

re: wtnxprize

http://www.space.com/news/new_xprize_041007.html

"According to the X Prize Foundation and the World Technology Network, examples of privately-funded solutions in scientific and social fields might include the following:

[...]

2. Nanotechnology: Construction of a pre-determined molecule by an assembler"

Janessa Ravenwood

Tom: The older you are, the harder it is to fund this via insurance. Lock in some rates on a Whole Life Policy NOW if you're going to do it. Don't know why you're so pessimistic, I wouldn't have dared to make this prediction 10 years ago, but I will now. And the attitudes on "serious scientists" are seeing a distinct thaw recently. There's lots to cheer recently, perk up a bit! :-)

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