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How Nanorobots Are Made

How Nanorobots Are Made

Nanotechnology as a whole is fairly simple to understand, but developing this universal technology into a nanorobot has been slightly more complicated.

To date, scientists have made significant progress but have not officially released a finished product in terms of a nanorobot that functions on an entirely mechanical basis.

Many of the nanobot prototypes function quite well in certain respects but are mostly or partly biological in nature, whereas the ultimate goal and quintessential definition of a nanorobot is to have the microscopic entity made entirely out of electromechanical components.

In fact, researchers anticipate that due to the complicated nature of their construction, nanobots will only fully emerge after several generations of partly-biological nanobot forerunners have been constructed in order to make them.

Nanorobots are essentially an adapted machine version of bacteria. They are designed to function on the same scale as both bacteria and common viruses in order to interact with and repel them from the human system.

Since they are so small that you can’t see them with your naked eye, they will also possibly be used to perform “miracle” functions such as cleaning your kitchen (“the kitchen that cleans itself!”) invisibly weaving fabric, cooking food slowly but steadily, and essentially performing other functions that humans could do, but—let’s face it—will probably be too lazy to do ourselves by the time these nanobots become functional.


Since the best way to create a nanobot is to use another nanobot, the problem lies in getting started. Humans are able to perform one nano-function at a time, but the thousands of varied applications required to construct an autonomous robot would be exceedingly tedious for us to execute by hand, no matter how high-tech the laboratory. So it becomes necessary to create a whole set of specialized machine-tools in order to speed the process of nanobot building.

Researchers have been chipping away at this problem for decades. In 1989 they discovered how to manually operate the system; a group of IBM engineers lined individual atoms up one by one until they had spelled out their company’s name.

In doing so they not only created the smallest business logo in history, but also discovered for themselves just how long and grueling the process of hand-building even a single nanobot would be. True, nanobots measure more like six atoms across, but they are far more complicated in design and need to be engineered in such a way that they are autonomous.

The ideal nanobot consists of a transporting mechanism, an internal processor and a fuel unit of some kind that enables it to function. The main difficulty arises around this fuel unit, since most conventional forms of robotic propulsion can’t be shrunk to nanoscale with current technology. Scientists have succeeded in reducing a robot to five or six millimeters, but this size still technically qualifies it as a macro-robot.

One possible solution is to adhere a fine film of radioactive particles to the nanobot’s body. As the particles decay and release energy the nanobot would be able to harness this power source; radioactive film can be enlarged or reduced to any scale without a drop in efficiency occurring.

Another nice side effect of this system is its ability to renew automatically. With the constant circulating nuclear energy it would supply, this fuel cell would never need to be replaced. This puts it several notches above solar cells or conventional battery packs of any size, which were previously the other two options being considered for equipping the nanorobot.

The other problem with constructing a successful nanorobot lies in breaking its materials down small enough. Metal that might be used for the robot’s construction behaves one way in relatively large quantities and a completely different way on the nanoscale—in fact, this is the entire basis for nanotechnology as a discipline.

Experts believe that silicon might make the ideal material, especially since it has been traditionally used for delicate electronics, particularly small computer parts. Microscopic silicon components called transducers have so far been successfully built into nanorobot legs.

Scientists are hard at work on designing a body built out of transducers; they are encountering slight problems in agreeing on what the final shape of the standard nanobot should be.

Very few researchers support the biped-humanoid design, since this has given test robots a strange, clumsy shuffle. The nanobot needs to be fast, aerodynamic and smooth-moving in order to complete its functions. Some people think that a spider-like body would work best, but many nanorobot researchers also think that a smaller version of the centipede might be best.

They hope that by equipping the nanobot with several sets of fast-moving legs and keeping its body low to the ground, they can create a quick, efficient machine that would also be suitably shaped for introduction into human blood vessels to perform functions such as clearing away built-up cholesterol or repairing tissue damage.

These tasks are key to the concept of a nanorobot, since it is anticipated that many of their most useful applications will be in the medical field. Doctors and researchers expect nanobots to be useful for a wide variety of things, since a robot this small can actually interact with materials on their molecular and atomic level. Because of this special capability, the nanobots can build or destroy particle by particle.

They could rebuild tissue molecules in order to close a wound, or rebuild the walls of veins and arteries to stop bleeding and save lives. They could make their way through the bloodstream to the heart and perform heart surgery molecule by molecule without many of the risks and discomfort associated with traditional open-heart operations.  Likewise, researchers hope that nanorobots will have many miraculous effects on brain research, cancer research, and finding cures for difficult diseases like leukemia and AIDS.

Although standardized nanorobot production has not yet been fully realized, scientists are hard at work developing a system for constructing these tiny helpers. Chances are good that sometime in the next 25 years they will make their public debut.

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  1. #1 by Joshimar on July 7, 2011 - 3:15 pm

    Awesome! This aided in a project that I am going to present. Nanotechnology is a very key investment to be made in the medical field. This could help solve answers and cures to various illnesses and diseases….Besides that, it is very interesting!

  2. #2 by Steven on October 7, 2011 - 6:40 pm

    It’s an interesting subject but I think the article is a little too fantastical in respect of the application of Nanorobotic technology in the medical industry. For example, the likelihood of Nanorobots performing singular operations in aligning atoms to make super strong and flexible materials on a production line in the petrochemical industry is far more likely to happen first before any complicated medical procedures are considered, let alone realised.

  3. #3 by Allegiance on August 10, 2012 - 3:15 pm

    It sounds great for capitalism and profit. But this is Dangerous technology being that a million nano bots can fit on the head of a needle and they can also control a being; interupting daily functions almost like creating a Robosapien. These are facts and are being implimented as I write. Yet It seems awesome in a way due to the expansion in technology… but It also has negative qualities that can be detrimental to human life. We aren’t made to be Robots and in conclusion scientifically it is a capability where such ordeal is made possible. It can provide the same qualities as Mind Control.

  4. #4 by Natalie on May 22, 2013 - 7:13 pm

    Nanotechnology is having major advancements in science, as we already know. I am trying to make different models to use when I get into the medical field. With this new technology mankind will have less trouble with having to go through the new types of sicknesses that are going around. This could potentially change the world as we know it….

  5. #5 by Sonya Stevens on August 13, 2014 - 12:30 am

    Synthetic Viral Synthesis
    Step I:Custom Oligonucleotide Synthesis
    •Commerical Nucleic Acid Synthesizer
    •Solution of the four DNA phosphoramidite monomers (bases)
    •All the 5’-hydroxyl groups must be blocked with a DMT group for all four bases
    •All phosphorus linkages must be blocked with a cyanoethyl group.
    •Blocking solutions
    •Reaction chamber and a type of solid support such as controlled pore glass
    •The solid support should be prepared with the desired first base already attached via an ester
    linkage at the 3’-hydroxyl end.
    •Dichloroacetic acid or trichloroacetic acid
    •Acetic anhydride and N-methylimidazole
    •Dilute iodine in a water/pyridine/tetrahydrofuran solution
    •Concentrated ammonia hydroxide.
    •Materials for one desalting method
    Step A: De-blocking
    The first base, which is attached to the solid support, is at first inactive because all the active sites
    have been blocked or protected. To add the next base, the DMT group protecting the 5′-hydroxyl
    group must be removed. This is done by adding a base, either dichloroacetic acid (DCA) or
    trichloroacetic acid in dichloromethane (DCM), to the reaction column. The 5’-hydroxyl group is now the only reactive group on the base monomer. This ensures that the
    addition of the next base will only bind to that site. The reaction column is then washed to remove
    any extra acid and by-products.
    Step B: Base Condensation
    The next base monomer cannot be added until it has been activated. This is achieved by adding
    tetrazole to the base. Tetrazole cleaves off one of the groups protecting the phosphorus linkage.
    This base is then added to the reaction column. The active 5’-hydroxyl group of the preceeding
    base and the newly activated phosphorus bind to loosely join the two bases together. This forms
    an unstable phosphite linkage. The reaction column is then washed to remove any extra
    tetrazole, unbound base and by-products.
    Step C: Capping
    When the activated base is added to the reaction column some does not bind to the active 5’-
    hydroxyl site of the previous base. If this group is left unreacted in a step it is possible for it to
    react in later additions of different bases. This would result in an oligonucleotide with a deletion.
    To prevent this from occurring, the unbound, active 5’-hydroxyl group is capped with a protective
    group which subsequently prohibits that strand from growing again. This is done by adding acetic
    anhydride and N-methylimidazole to the reaction column. These compounds only react with the
    5’-hydroxyl group. The base is capped by undergoing acetylation. The reaction column is then
    washed to remove any extra acetic anhydride or N-methylimidazole.
    Step D: Oxidation
    In step 2 the next desired base was added to the previous base, which resulted in a unstable
    phosphite linkage. To stabalize this linkage a solution of dilute iodine in water, pyridine, and
    tetrahydrofuran is added to the reaction column. The unstable phosphite linkage is oxidized to
    form a much more stable phosphate linkage.
    Repeat as need based on length desired between 1 and 10,000 times.
    Final Product: DNA Chains from 1 to 10,000 base pairs in length.
    Step II:Molecular Cloning: Polymerase Chain Reaction(PCR)
    -Thermal Cycler
    -Taq polymerase
    -Generated DNA Fragments
    A. Denaturation – the DNA is heated usually to 95C to render it single-stranded
    B. Annealing – the two primers bind the appropriate complementary strand; the temperature for
    this step varies depending on the of size of the primer and its homology to the target DNA
    C. Primer Extension – DNA polymerase extends the primer by its polymerase activity; this is
    done at a temperature optimal for the particular polymerase that is used; currently the most
    popular enzyme for this step is Taq polymerase, the DNA polymerase from the thermophilic
    (“heat-loving) bacteria Thermus aquaticus; the extension is performed at 72C. These steps are
    repeated from 28-35 times. Since the reaction is essentially exponential and since each cycle is
    about 5 minutes, a large quantity of DNA can be produced for analysis in as little as several
    Final Product: Exponential DNA cloning
    Step III:Mass Ligation Reaction
    •Two or more fragments of DNA that have either blunt or compatible cohesive (“sticky”) ends.
    •A buffer which contains ATP. The buffer is usually provided or prepared as a 10X concentrate
    which, after dilution, yields an ATP concentration of roughly 0.25 to 1 mM. Most restriction
    enzyme buffers will work if supplemented with ATP.
    •T4 DNA ligase. A typical reaction for inserting a fragment into a plasmid vector (subcloning)
    would utilize about 0.01 (sticky ends) to 1 (blunt ends) units of ligase.
    The optimal incubation temperature for T4 DNA ligase is 16C and when very high efficiency
    ligation is desired (e.g. making libraries) this temperature is recommended. However, ligase is
    active at a broad range of temperatures, and for routine purposes such as subcloning,
    convenience often dictates incubation time and temperature – ligations performed at 4C overnight
    or at room temperature for 30 minutes to a couple of hours usually work well.
    Final Product: Every possible recombination
    Step IV:Activation and Reproduction:Plasmid Vector
    -Anything with ribosomes
    -NotI Ligase
    Same as step III
    Final Product: Viral Vector

  6. #6 by ievex zervex on March 30, 2015 - 1:39 pm

    well you could build a nanobot in the form of a sphere so it could hide the arms so that it could pick up a cancer cell and then put it in its body and then it could drop the cancer cell into a nanobot that had the shape of a cylinder and that cylinder bot could act like a garbage truck for the cancer cells

(will not be published)