[extropy-chat] Research question

Robert Bradbury robert.bradbury at gmail.com
Thu Sep 7 20:21:37 UTC 2006

On 9/7/06, pjmanney <pj at pj-manney.com> wrote:
> Crucial piece of info: these nanobots are still OUTSIDE the body at this
>  And there are a whole lot of them ready to be deployed.  To a whole lot
of people.

Oh, that's easy.  Artificial nanorobots are only slightly different from
"natural" nanorobots, i.e. bacteria.  So.... the classical defenses -- heat,
pressure & radiation will all work.  Deep UV, X-rays and Gamma ray photons
all have sufficient energy to break atomic bonds.  IR causes the atoms to
vibrate sufficiently that the bonds break.  Light, if tuned to the right
frequencies might force electrons out of the atoms and disrupt the atomic
structure (diamond itself is transparent -- but "diamondoid" isn't just pure
cubic diamond structures -- you have other atoms present to vary the
structure -- those atoms may not be transparent to various frequencies -- I
don't think this area has been studied to any great degree).

Similarly, if you have nanorobots within the body they have to be running
off of some power source, commonly glucose if you are using nano-fuel cells
(unless they are consuming (oxdizing) body tissue.  So if you cut off either
the glucose supply or the oxygen supply they will grind to a halt fairly
quickly.  If they are running on an internal Gd-148 (or similar radioactive)
power source things are a little trickier.  Then you probably have to block
them with physical barriers.  I've never seen calculations regarding the
limits to nanorobots using steel, titanium, hafnium carbide, uranium plate,
etc. but I suspect they exist.  Nanorobots aren't like electrons -- they
can't just tunnel from one side of the plate to the other (at least not in
our lifetime) -- they would have to drill holes and that is going to require
energy and time.  I'm not sure how drill bits wear (I suspect it is local
force breaking the bonds on the atoms at the intersecting surfaces) which
would imply that even a diamondoid drill tipped nanorobot is going to have a
tough time going through hafnium carbide (or diamond) plate.  As it destroys
the drill surfaces it is going to have to slow down and replace them or
resynthesize them.  That means that the nanorobots have to be bulkier, carry
more spares, use more energy, etc. i.e. are "slower" than most "worst case"
scenarios would tend to suggest.  By and large its a mass-mass and
energy-energy problem -- which ever group has the greatest mass or energy at
its disposal is likely to take the field.

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