As nanomachines move beyond just prototypes, a potential industry of microscopic mass production awaits its own Henry Ford to make it a reality.
In anticipation of this demand, researchers at a nanotech lab at UCLA [led by Dr. Thomas Mason] are mass-producing billions of customizable microparticles using a machine normally found in the microchip fabrication industry.
Mason's ultimate goal is to quickly create large quantities of parts for complicated nanomachines. These parts would include nanogears, nanoengines and other small-scale parts that are currently created one at a time in an assembly line fashion.
The excerpt and photo above are from an article at WIRED. Although Mason's process is still working at the microscale level, the stated goal is to mass produce parts for future nanomachines. Whether or not this particular approach proves to be useful, it is emblematic of the shift in willingness of scientists to focus their work in the direction of advanced nanotechnology.