Nanomachines refer to robots that can perform tasks on a molecular level. The prefix “nano” describes the nanometer dimensions of these machines. They have just been introduced recently although they have been a subject of science fiction for a long time. Nanomachines are now quickly being integrated into products and industries and are projected to possibly decipher the human genome, create stronger and lighter body armor than Kevlar and many other applications in the future. With their limitless use, nanomachines are said to be the most profitable technology of this century and beyond.
The human body is filled with nanomachines, arguably making up most of its mass. A cell might be considered a nanomachine because it consists of nanoscale components. An even more obvious nanomachine would be ribosomes, molecular factories that synthesize proteins. Ribosomes are about 20 nanometers in diameter. Other biological nanomachines would be bacteria and viruses.
Nanomachines can easily fit inside human cells as they are 2.5 times smaller than DNA. This means they can perform tasks such as repairing damaged tissues, destroying cancer cells or making nanoscale incisions. A nanomachine bandage that soaks into human skin and repair tissue damages brought by infection, wounds or abrasions is already available. Nanomachines have also made delivering important DNA elements to damaged cells possible and has resulted in great leaps in disease control, chronic disorder prevention, as well as reversal of various mental and physical disorders.
Besides the help it gives in bringing good health to people, nanomachines are also poised to provide biological enhancements like additional muscle tissue, stronger bones, and better senses, as well as to alter the physical makeup of human cells. What this means is that scientists could change a person’s eye color, skin color, hair color, height and weight at will. Even gender can be changed if scientists perfected the map of the human genome with the help of nanomachines. Likewise, nanomachines will soon allow cloning to be more practical and efficient and may provide a solution to the problems that cryogenics faces.
Unknown to many, nanomachines have also made their mark in the food industry. These super tiny machines have the ability to alter the characteristics of food just like they can change the characteristics of human cells. Nanomachines can change the taste, texture, appearance, and most importantly, the nutrition that can be acquired from any food.
Nanomachines have helped law enforcement in Britain and other places around the world catch shoplifters by tracking nanosized RFID chips or bar codes that can only be deactivated upon purchase. Retail outlets in Europe, and now some in the United States, have recently been including these items in their products because shoplifters cannot see or deactivate them.
Nanomachines allow sports equipment manufacturers to create products that are much more flexible, durable, shock-resistant, and stronger than similar products. Athletes will soon have a much more diverse assortment of gear as nanomachines will allow many new technologies to arise, thereby allowing the development of new sports altogether.
Nanomachines are also found in common appliances like refrigerators and washing machines. Billions of nanosized particles of colloidal silver (an antibacterial and antimicrobial solution) are continuously released inside the mentioned appliances for sterilizing their contents. The colloidal silver prevents germs and bacteria from building up on food or clothes. In fact, the washing machines that use silver nanoparticles are capable of keeping clothes sterile for up to one month after each wash. In addition to appliances, several cleansers that use colloidal silver have been introduced to the market.
Amidst these applications, nanomachines are still in the research stage. If nanomachines could be improved to become self-replicating, or could be built in large quantities using self-assembly, or programmed into cooperating to create objects, they could be formed into a custom manufacturing system with far more capabilities than anything in existence today.
LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in embedded systems and wireless technologies design. www.lx-group.com.au
Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.