The Future of Medicine – Nanomachines

Posted By on November 3, 2015

The Future of Medicine – Nanomachines provides a primer on what nanotechnology (and machines) is and what it can do.

Richard Feynman “Tiny Machines” Nanotechnology Lecture

Richard Feynman gave his famous talk “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom” on December 29th 1959 at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) as his vision on how physics and engineering could move in the direction that could eventually create nanotechnology.

Feynman himself may not have invented the technology we see in the development and continuity of the computer age, but the fact that even in the early 1960’s nanotechnology was being considered as a serious field of study was definitely a factor contributing to the boom in computer technology seen in the late 20th century and continues to reach more spectacular levels of sophistication in the 21st century.

Jump 25 years forward into the year 1984, when Feynman tries to retell his 1959 lecture from a more modern perspective in that many aspects of his vision have been fulfilled, particularly with the invention of the electron microscope, the atomic force microscope and experimental manipulation of the atomic scale of matter. Also discussed is the current practical field of photolithography for the manufacture of bipolar transistors and junctions used in computer chips done on an industrial scale and how this process continues with ever decreasing wavelength capabilities of lasers from UV to X-rays. Feynman also discusses the boundaries of miniaturization and how the scale differences affect the function of certain aspects of technology as well as in nature.


Ray Kurzweil interviews the Father of Nanotechnology Eric Drexler

During the late 1970s, Drexler began to develop ideas about molecular nanotechnology (MNT). In 1979, he encountered Richard Feynman’s provocative 1959 talk There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom. The term “nano-technology” had been coined by the Tokyo Science University professor Norio Taniguchi in 1974 to describe the precision manufacture of materials with nanometer tolerances, and Drexler unknowingly used a related term in his 1986 book Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology to describe what later became known as molecular nanotechnology (MNT). In that book, he proposed the idea of a nanoscale “assembler” which would be able to build a copy of itself and of other items of arbitrary complexity. He also first published the term “grey goo” to describe what might happen if a hypothetical self-replicating molecular nanotechnology went out of control. He has subsequently tried to clarify his concerns about out-of-control self-replicators, and make the case that molecular manufacturing does not require such devices.

The World’s Smallest Robots: Rise of the Nanomachines

Nanomachines – including nano-sized motors, rockets and even cars – are many orders of magnitude smaller than a human cell, but they have huge promise. In the future, they could deliver drugs anywhere in the body, clean up oil spills and might even be used as artificial muscle cells.

Cellular Surgeons: The New Era of Nanomedicine

Pills the size of molecules to seek and destroy tumors. Miniscule robots performing surgery inside patients with a precision never before achieved. Nanobots, a billionth of a meter across, fixing mutations in DNA, or repairing neurons in your brain. Such are the possibilities as medicine enters the nano-era. Join leading researchers who are pushing these frontiers, to learn of new cures in the coming nano-revolution and possible risks of the molecular E.R.


Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected futurist speaker that researches, speaks, and writes about the future of work, how technology is affecting the workplace, how workers are adapting, the sharing economy, and how the world is evolving. He appears at conferences in Canada, USA, UK, and Europe. Email him to book him for your radio, TV show, or conference.


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