Nanobots and its future implementation

by | Technology |

Nanobots and its future implementation

Nanobots, also known as nanomachines, nanorobots, nanomites, nanites or nanoids, are robots that are microscopic in nature, measured largely on the scale of nanometers. They are currently in the research and development phase, but on realization, they are expected to do specific tasks at the atomic, molecular and cellular level and help in bringing about many breakthroughs, especially in medical science.

Nanobots can be considered to be machine version of a bacteria or virus. They can be biological or synthetic but are adapted to perform pre-programmed tasks at the atomic level. They are expected to be autonomous in nature and powered by a small cell or battery, or even solar cells.

The first scientist to mention the term “nanobots” was the physicist Richard Feynman in 1959; when he gave his popular talk named “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.

Feynman commented about nanotips and nanobots for curing heart diseases. Later, the scientist Eric Drexler, inspired by the talk, published his book “Engines of Creation”, where genetically programmed molecular machines were mentioned as upcoming technologies in cellular biology.

The first study related to nanobots was made by Robert Freitas. It was related to medical nanobots called respirocytes; resembling red blood cells. Nanobots could be defined as a controllable nanoscale machine composed of a sensor and a motor, capable by performing specific tasks.

These are not comparable to a drone, instead are more similar to a complex piece of fabric. Robert Wood defined them as devices that detect friends or enemies; undergoing through a conformational change when they sense an enemy, catalyzing the release of a substance that can act against it.

Here are some real-life implementations of Nanobots.

Considering their potential, nanobots find their first and most prominent applications in medical science. Applications such as closing open wounds, rebuilding ruptured arteries and veins and traversing through the body for diagnoses are some important realizations.

Medicine

Imagine having an internal repair system. Tiny robots patrol your blood vessels, looking for any damage to report and repair. Although we're a bit far off from this today, nanobots that work inside our body are the next step in nanomedicine. Doctors and scientists have been working on developing nanobots for use in the treatment of cancer. Recently in 2017 scientists created nanobots that were able to target cancer cells and drill holes in them, causing cell death. The arrangement of atoms in the nanobot runs like an electric motor in the presence of UV radiation. This causes the nanobot to operate like a drill, puncturing holes in target cells. In the future, scientists envision nanobots delivering medicine directly to target cells instead of treating patients systemically as we do today with oral or intravenous medication. Nanobots may even be able to hang out in our body, look for damage such as plaque buildup in our arteries during atherosclerosis, and then take the appropriate actions to clean them.

In Research

Nanobots are not only used in medicine, but also the research used to develop these treatments. Nanobots have been extensively used to study DNA. DNA combined with nanomaterials have been used to create sensors and highly targeted imaging of cells, as well as specific cell delivery vehicles.

In Biohazard Defense

Nanorobots will also have useful applications for biohazard defense, including improving the response to epidemic disease. Nanobots with protein-based biosensors will be able to transmit real-time information in areas where public infrastructure is limited and laboratory analysis is unavailable. This is particularly applicable for biomedical monitoring of areas devastated by epidemic disease as well as in remote or war-torn countries during humanitarian missions. Nanorobotics may also reduce contamination and provide successful screening for quarantine.

Medical Imaging

Creating nanoparticles that gather in certain tissues and then scanning the body with a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) could help highlight problems such as diabetes.

Breaking up kidney stones

Kidney stones can be intensely painful - the larger the stone the more difficult it is to pass. Doctors break up large kidney stones using ultrasonic frequencies, but it's not always effective. A nanorobot could break up kidney stones using a small laser.

Helping the body clot

One particular kind of nanorobot is the clottocyte, or artificial platelet. The clottocyte carries a small mesh net that dissolves into a sticky membrane upon contact with blood plasma. According to Robert A. Freitas, Jr., the man who designed the clottocyte, clotting could be up to 1,000 times faster than the body's natural clotting mechanism [source: Freitas]. Doctors could use clottocytes to treat hemophiliacs or patients with serious open wounds.

Cleaning wounds

Nanorobots could help remove debris from wounds, decreasing the likelihood of infection. They would be particularly useful in cases of puncture wounds, where it might be difficult to treat using more conventional methods.

New Energy Systems

Nanorobotics might play a role in developing more efficient renewable energy system. They could make our current machines more energy efficient such that they’d need less energy to operate at the same or high capacities.

In robotics field

The science of Nanorobotics vital role in the development of the robots, whose structure is built by using nanoscale components and its contents within the basis of objectives and limitations. The nature of the component is in the nanoscale allows the researchers for the engineering of the mimic of human beings. Which constitute the robots have been possible due to nanorobotics nanobots, nanites, nanoids or nanomites are some of the hypothetical devices created with the knowledge of the nanorobotics.

 

Other applications where nanobots can potentially be of use are in aerospace, security, defense, electronics, and environmental protection.

 

 

The nanobots are not an idea written on paper anymore, they are currently under development. The components are sensors, propulsion and navigation systems. There is a lot of research, but it is going to be needed a lot more in order to create a functional nanobot, able to accomplish tasks beneficial for the human being; surface modifications, structures, components, and body response has to be well understood.

 

Photograph by graphicwithart