Nanorobots: Where We Are Today and Why Their Future Has Amazing Potential

BY Peter Diamandis

This post is a status update on one of the most powerful tools humanity will ever create: nanotechnology (or nanotech).

My goal here is to give you a quick overview of the work going on in labs around the world, and the potential applications this nanotech work will have in health, energy, the environment, materials science, data storage and processing.

As artificial intelligence has been getting a lot of the attention lately, I believe we're going to start to see and hear about incredible breakthroughs in the nanotech world very soon.
Origins of Nanotechnology

Most historians credit the concept of nanotechnology to physicist Richard Feynman and his 1959 speech, "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom."

In his speech, Feynman imagined a day when machines could be miniaturized and huge amounts of information could be encoded in minuscule spaces, paving the way for disruptive technological developments.

But it was K. Eric Drexler's 1986 book, Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology, which really put the idea on the map.

Drexler posited the idea of self-replicating nanomachines: machines that build other machines.

Because these machines are also programmable, they can then be directed to build not only more of themselves, but also more of whatever else you'd like.

And because this building takes place on an atomic scale, these nanobots can pull apart any kind of material (soil, water, air, you name it), atom by atom, and construct, well, just about anything.

Drexler painted the picture of a world where the entire Library of Congress could fit on a chip the size of a sugar cube and where environmental scrubbers could clear pollutants from the air.

But before we explore the possibilities of nanotechnology, let's break down the basics.
What Does "Nanotechnology" Actually Mean?

Nanotechnology is the science, engineering, and technology conducted at the nanoscale, which is about 1 to 100 nanometers.

Essentially, it's manipulating and controlling materials at the atomic and molecular level.


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