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« Nanotech Today vs. Nanotech Tomorrow | Main | Notes on Nanofactories »

November 30, 2005


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Tom Mazanec

And just wait! The year still has a month to go, and THEN there's 2006!


Followed by 2007!

Tom Mazanec

Would THIS count as a major development?

Chris Phoenix, CRN

I'm not sure if it's major or not. It looks like they have a way of building repeating structures with a variety of engineered patterns. That's good but it's not clear whether they have extended it to build non-repeating structures.

Certainly the tone of the article is encouraging to those of us who have been arguing that nanostructures can be engineered, that self-assembly is not the only way to go, and that Drexler was right all along.


Tom Craver


A simpler and I potentially faster design for a nanofactory would use stacked sheets of workstations, but produce the product in rigid sheets that will be ejected, stacked, and locked together. Feedstock (or pre-made nanoblocks) could be fed down the interior of the double-sided workstation sheets. (A future elaboration might use the nanoblock-making-and-passing design, but only perpendicular to the surface of the workstation sheets.)

The product sheets would need to be designed to have stand-offs (spacer columns) that fold or telescope down during ejection, to keep the stack separated and lined up until it is fully ejected, at which point the sheets would collapse and lock together in a controlled fashion.

There's a bit of added complexity in the product designs - mainly just adding the stand-offs (which can likely be automated) - but it avoids the need to program the control and scheduling of nanoblock passing, (which would be design dependent, assuming there are more than one type of block).

This design would expand as it builds up product sheets, so it would be much smaller when not in use, and expand to make products of nearly arbitrary height, though of fixed maximum size in the other dimensions. For still larger products, unfolding and manual stacking or assembly could be used.

Non-rigid objects (clothes, springs, etc) could be produced rigid, then release locked hinges to become flexible.

Tom Craver

If the nanofactory does product assembly using nanoblocks rather than direct assembly, even if atomic precision assembly is allowed for private use, a nanofactory will probably use pre-assembly during "idle" time, storing nanoblocks in sorted bins for later use.

That should greatly reduce the heat released per unit mass during final assembly.

In that case, products might be assembled almost as fast as blocks can flow to the product surface. Using the "1 meter per second" flow rate Chris quotes, it doesn't seem unreasonable to think in terms of extruding a meter of product in under a minute. It could use a nanofactory similar to Chris' design, except with mere block queuing instead of nanoblock assembly stations behind the main assembly surface.

Tom Mazanec

Could this anti-virus approach be used against "nano-hackers"?


Chris Phoenix, CRN

First, it depends on what you mean by "nano-hackers."

I'm not quite clear on their approach; they seem to have lumped together two different ones.
1) Build a dedicated network for dissemination from multiple points. This seems like an even better idea in the physical world than in the online world.
2) Develop automated cures for anything that attacks a honeypot. I'd be nervous of anything automated that developed novel physical active devices. I hope it'll be a long time before we need that kind of response to anything MM-built.


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