Some news reports from

I’m a technophile, and a fan of cyberpunk (which generally makes heavy use of nanotech). I’m very interested to see where this technology will go in the next few decades. There are obvious applications for nanotechnology in the computing and medical fields (esp. surgery).

There are also several ideas I can come up with for weapons. :frowning:

I don’t have an particular question to ask. (That’s why I posted this here). I’m just looking for any thoughts the Straight Dopers might have on the future of nanotech.

You say “cheesy” like that’s a BAD thing.

I’m also a HUGE cyberpunk fan (Gibson, Sterling, etc.). These articles are really, really exciting. SeaLemon, have you read Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age? It’s probably the best example I’ve seen of a world totally immersed in nanotech. And yes, this sparks some great ideas about all kinds of applications, notably some really nasty weapons.

Yes, I have read The Diamond Age. It’s one of my favorite cyberpunk books. I can only hope to live long enough to see a world like that ( The story has nanomachines that can manipulate matter on the molecular level; carbon is one of the most common elements in the world, and if you can manipulate it’s molecular structure, you can get…diamonds).

The article that really blew my mind was the molecular logic gate. Just the thought of having a workstation small enough to wear on my wrist is astounding.

Imagine the possibilites of combining nanotech with genetic research.

You say “cheesy” like that’s a BAD thing.

I’d say that real nanotechnology would fall behind only language and agriculture as the most revolutionary invention in human history. K. Eric Drexler in his classic Engines of Creation found that it was easier to list the few areas that nanotechnology wouldn’t affect rather than to try to figure out all the areas it would.

Speculation on it’s application as a weapon of mass destruction is already underway.

Here’s an idea I meant to use in a story years ago, but never got around to it, like so many other things. Thing is, the technology involved isn’t really all thatnano-.

I called this concept the Ladybug, for reasons which will be obvious. First, it’s about the size and shape of an actual ladybug, and is colored bright red with yellow spots to make it easy to see during a gynecological exam. The ladybug is used in conjunction with a small, programming module on the bedtable. After inputting a code to tell the ladybug what mode to operate under, the woman puts it on her labia and allows it to crawl inside her vagina. Once there, it nestles itself between the openings of the Fallopian tubes and waits. Depending on how it’s been programmed, when it detects an ovum leaving one of the tubes, it either leaps on it and tears it to pieces, letting the remains wash away with the usual monthly flow, or it grabs the ovum very carefully, carries it to the center of the womb and waits for it to be fertilized by a flow of semen. Once fertilized, it then holds onto the zygote and opens a very tiny slit in the uterine wall and holds the zygote until it implants.

During sleeping hours, the ladybug patrols the uterus looking for precancerous cells to excise. Alternately, it can be programmed to enter the Fallopian tubes and, cell by cell, remove scar tissue that renders some women infertile due to ‘silent’ STDs.

I imagine an army of nanites flowing through the human body, performing as many medical tasks as you can think of. Scrubbing arteries, killing cancer cells, lowering cholesteral, you name it.

Imagine the cosmetic applications. They could perform continuous fat reduction, build muscle tissue, etc.