Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A Nano-Factory In Every Home

Sioux Lady, who knows my affection for all things nano, left a comment sending me to this fun and fascinating animation, about future advances in nanotechnology, in which a household appliance builds products, molecule by molecule. The animation showed the general workings of how your own personal "nano-factory" could build you a laptop, or other desirable worldly goods, right there in the comfort of your own home. Need a new dress for this evening's outing? How about a skillet to replace the one that keeps burning dinner? Heck, how about dinner itself? (The video didn't mention these items; I just like to take an idea and run with it.) It did mention the laptop, however, so we're talking here about pretty sophisticated product manufacture, and I assume one would have to plug in some sort of design schematic from which the mini nano-factory would work. It would start at the molecular level, and using a nano-conveyor belt system, would assembly-line the structures up to larger and larger combinations, until finally assembling the whole, with (I'm quoting the video, here) no waste products other than warm air, and water.

Now, I am an optimist, and can see potential for global transformation in something as mundane as a slipper, if you give me a good reason, but I have to admit, this goes into my "highly probably too good to be true" file. Something for practically nothing, with no bad side effects? Dream, dream, dream. On the other hand, there are so many impossible things in the world: space shuttles, television, the human body, heck, carrots, that I can't categorically dismiss this as impossible, and boy, wouldn't it be a world changer if it ever came to be? Can you imagine shipping a few thousand--or a few hundred thousand, since ultimately they could manufacture themselves-- of these babies to poverty-stricken locations around the globe? Once we got past the inevitable confiscation by corrupt and tyrannical regimes, overcome entirely by the machines' self-manufactured ubiquity, there would be no going back. Governments would no longer be able to imprison their people in poverty and ignorance. World transformation would ensue. Okay, I let the optimist out of the box, and now there's no holding her back. Anyway, despite her over-abundant enthusiasm, it is still fun to speculate. Check out the video; let it manufacture a few speculations of your own.