If you are at all familiar with nanotechnology you may have also heard about nanobots, but since nanotechnology itself has such a diverse application it can be difficult to ascertain exactly what nanobots do.
As a matter of fact, technically speaking nanorobots, or nanobots, don’t do anything yet—they haven’t been formally invented.
Researchers are hard at work developing them, however, and based on their promising progress they anticipate that the public debut of a working team of nanobots will occur sometime in the next 25 years if not before then. In other words, these microscopic robots are the next big thing.
So just what is so great about having a robot that measures only six atoms across? Since this tiny size gives them the ability to interact at the bacteria and virus level, nanobots’ main function will probably be medical. They have the potential to revolutionize the medical community in almost every way.
Nanorobots are so tiny that they could be easily injected into the bloodstream, where they would then float through your circulatory system in order to locate and fix problem areas of your body.
This has especially meaningful ramifications for cancer research and other serious diseases. It is thought that once the nanobot has been fully developed, the design may be refined to produce cancer-killing nanobots that swim through the bloodstream, identify a malignant tumor, and zap it cell by cell with some type of laser or similar treatment until the entire cancerous growth has been removed, right down to the last molecule.
This has many great advantages over cancer treatments that are currently in practice; it is obviously much less traumatic to the human system than chemotherapy, for example.
Chemotherapy is a harsh form of cancer treatment that kills not only the target malignant cancer cells, but also many good non-target tissues as well. In some cases it has been speculated that chemotherapy does more harm than good, but equally effective remedies have not yet been found. Nanobots are poised to change that.
They also far outweigh the benefits of cancer surgery, since this highly invasive and traumatic procedure often places undue stress on an already-overwhelmed body trying to battle tumor growth. Surgery is also oftentimes less effective than we would hope.
If even one molecule of cancer is missed, the tumor has the potential to return and the operation will be deemed a failure. Yet no matter how trained or skilled a surgeon may be, he or she is only human and cannot naturally detect cancer at the particle level.
This is where the nanobot steps in. These microscopic robots could not only eliminate every cancer cell without touching non-target beneficial cells in the body, but they could do it in a very non-invasive, non-traumatic way. The day may be coming when cancer treatment will be nothing worse than a shot in the arm. As long as that syringe is full of cancer-killing nanobots, the patient will recover completely.
Nanobots have the capacity not only to heal cancers, but also all forms of common ailments found in the human system. They can remove particles from the bloodstream, allowing them to effectively unblock clogged arteries by removing the cholesterol molecules one by one.
If an organ is breaking down due to age or disease, it is possible that the nanobots may be trained to swim to the affected area and perform micro-surgery, thereby fixing the problem on the spot without recourse to damaging surgical procedures. Nanorobots could also be used to heal basic tissue damage, such as contusions or wounds in the flesh.
Researchers expect that nanobots will be able to engineer material using the most basic building blocks of life, so it naturally follows that they would be able to clear away dead tissue from a wound site and slowly rebuild healthy skin in its place to join the gash together again. This may even be accomplished without resulting scar tissue, thanks to the level of detail that nanobots can achieve.
When it comes to common illnesses, nanobots would be no less effective. They essentially have the ability to act as artificial helper-T cells in the human immune system, patrolling the bloodstream in search of hostile pathogens such as viruses and bacteria and then “zapping” or otherwise eliminating the unwelcome substances before they can cause harm.
This could be the answer for many people who suffer from autoimmune diseases such as AIDS. With such an effective synthetic immune system in place, their systems would be well-equipped to survive the HIV/AIDS onslaught.
Scientists in the medical field are also particularly excited about not only the healing nature of nanobots, but also their capacity for research and discovery inside the human body. For example, we do not yet know or understand many of the mysteries surrounding the human brain and how it functions.
But well-placed, highly-trained and controlled nanobots could potentially journey to the brain stem or even higher in a completely painless and non-invasive manner, where they could then observe the firing of synapses and other mental processes in order to provide a greater understanding and discovery of their functions and abilities.
This would unlock many new areas of wonder for not only brain scientists and researchers, but also for humanity as a whole. Essentially, we could use our brains to create micro-robots that can learn more about our brains, creating an everlasting cycle of learning and refinement.
But entirely apart from the healing nature of nanobots, they also have a fun side. Since swarms of nanobots can achieve any task if enough of them are present, they could perform functions like cooking and cleaning. Best of all, the nanobots are so tiny that they literally cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Since nanorobot researchers expect to have the first fully functioning prototype released to the public in the next 25 years, the day may soon come when you will have the wonderful experience of seeing your kitchen miraculously “clean itself.”