Re: Cryonet Message #10564 - nanoassembly

Hara Ra (
Wed, 21 Oct 1998 22:58:44 -0700

>Hara Ra wrote:
>> I agree that it is ambitious. However, building the components needed to
>> pickup and join Lego blocks should be feasible with a limited budget.
>> Bernard:

>I think a critical issue with a macro assembler is positioning. Once you can
>position components accurately and verify that they are there, you can also
>position work tools and build the components. I don't think lego blocks
give you
>a lot of inherent clues about their position. Still, I agree availability
is a
>big plus. A lot depends on the functionality of the active components they
I've been on tours of a number of manufacturing plants. There are a lot of ways to guarantee that a part is identified by type and properly oriented and positioned. For example, with LEGOs, put a steel BB into the center of each block. An arm with an electromagnet can pick up blocks and drop them into a sorting hopper. Once the Lego Block is lying on its side, the bar code can be read by a supermarket scanner which is orientation independent. Unidentified blocks go back to the hopper for another try. Identified blocks are handled according to their type.

> I've been thinking about macro-assemblers for a long time. The model I have
>been thinking about I call the Universal Fabricator Replicator (UFR), on the
>principle that any engineering project needs an obscure acronym :-). It
>feature is that it can disassemble anything it builds. Building one off
>out of generalized robust components seems likely to be more expensive than
>using bulk technology. But when you can download a new design for you living
>room, and simply disassemble the old one to make the new, you are into a
>new ball game. Like nanotech, you drop much of the bulk transport and central
>manufacturing. Even with nanotech, it may be energetically cheaper to
>large objects from largish (millimeter?) components.
I did the calculations for nanotech, with micron sized components. At least 100x energy savings. Something like a tube about the size of cable tv coax can deliver liters per minute to a home. With accelerations of 10 KiloGee available in the distribution system, 10 minute delivery from across the country. As with many things, 99.999% of the block types will be available within 100KM. Some of these can be data blocks, a single block can hold several hours of HDTV. Video on demand with a vengance!


| Hara Ra <> | 
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