Re: Complexity of self-repicating nanotech.

From: Ian Field (
Date: Tue Jun 13 2000 - 11:26:41 MDT

Martin Ling wrote:

> I was considering the requirements in complexity (and hence, size) of
> self-reproducing nanobots. Looking at the systems involved;
> - fuel accumulation and use

Generally, what fuel sources (i.e hydrogen, carbon) are being considered for

> - movement

Locomotive components (i.e. cilia) will undoubtedly be much simpler (and
smaller) than the components necessary for construction and external
manipulation of materials. It would be interesting to see a simple
specification for a nanite capable of manipulating raw materials, etc...

> - identification of raw materials

eek! optics and/or other sensory components - that's pretty bulky too. I
guess the simplest capability would be chemical compounds which react to
certain environmental variables... thoughts?

> - knowledge of complete structure

Is there any data storage technology on the horizon which could conceivably
scale to this degree? Quantum computing is dependant on "atomic" storage,
anybody have info on this?

> I realise that these are going to be extremely large structures by nano
> terms, consisting of millions of atoms. We've become used to thinking
> 'nanotech... right, atomic scale, tiny', but there isn't an infinite
> separation between atomic scale and conventional. Anything as
> sophisticated as a self-reproducing nanobot is probably going to be
> comparable to some bacteria, and will quite likely (by my brief mental
> educated-guestimates) be visible via optical magnification.

Agreed - bacterium are certainly small enough for many tasks though. For
example, a nanite this size may not be able to repair cellular nuclei, but
could probably repair tissues...

> Martin
> --
> -----[ Martin J. Ling ]-----[ ]-----

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