Teams around the world are working on creating the first practical medical nanorobot. Robots ranging from a millimeter in diameter to a relatively hefty two centimeters long already exist, though they are all still in the testing phase of development and haven't been used on people. We're probably several years away from seeing nanorobots enter the medical market. Today's microrobots are just prototypes that lack the ability to perform medical tasks.
Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images
Although this 2-centimeter-long robot
Another potential future application of nanorobot technology is to re-engineer our bodies to become resistant to disease, increase our strength or even improve our intelligence. Dr. Richard Thompson, a former professor of ethics, has written about the ethical implications of nanotechnology. He says the most important tool is communication, and that it's pivotal for communities, medical organizations and the government to talk about nanotechnology now, while the industry is still in its infancy.
Will we one day have thousands of microscopic robots rushing around in our veins, making corrections and healing our cuts, bruises and illnesses? With nanotechnology, it seems like anything is possible.
To learn more about nanotechnology, follow the links on the next page.
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More Great Links
- Barker, Veronique. "Fantastic Voyage - From Fiction to Reality." innovation Canada.ca. July-August 2007, Issue 29.
- Cavalcanti, Adriano, et al. "Nanorobot for Treatment of Patients with Artery Occlusion." Proceedings of Virtual Concept, 2006. Cancun, Mexico.
- Cavalcanti, Adriano. "Nanorobotics." NanoScience Today. September 13, 2004. http://www.geocities.com/cbicpg/nanoscience/NST2004/nanorobots.htm
- Freitas, Robert A. "Clottocytes: Artificial Mechanical Platelets." Institute for Molecular Manufacturing. http://www.imm.org/publicatoins/reports/rep018/
- Griml, Guy. "Israeli scientists unveil mini-robot that can travel through bloodstream." Haaretz.com. July 17, 2007. http://wwwhaaretz.com/hasen/spages/875277.html
- Hyperphysics. http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hframe.html
- Introduction to Thermoelectrics. http://www.thermoelectrics.com/introduction.htm
- "Israeli scientists invent smallest robot to deliver drugs through blood vessels." China View. June 27, 2007. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-06/27/content_6300084.htm
- Knight, Will. "Drugs delivered by robots in the blood." NewScientist.com. October, 2004. www.newscientist.com/article/dn6474.html
- Mavroidis, Constantinos, Ph.D. "Bio-Nano-Machines for Space Applications." Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts. September, 2004. http://www.niac.usra.edu/files/library/meetings/annual/oct04/
- Rubinstein, Leslie. "A Practical NanoRobot for Treatment of Various Medical Problems." Foresight Nanotech Institute. http://www.foresight.org/conference/MNT8/Papers/Rubinstein/index.html
- "Technion Researchers Find Way to Move Swimming Robot Through the Human Body." Technion University Press Release. October 29, 2006. http://pard.technion.ac.il/archives/presseng/Html/PR_
- Thompson, Richard E., M.D. "Nanotechnology: Science Fiction? Or Next Challenge for the Ethics Committee?" Thy Physician Executive. May/June 2007.