The Microbots Are on Their Way

Tiny sensors with tinier legs, stamped out of silicon wafers, could one day soon help fix your cellphone battery or study your brain.

Comments: 12

  1. Also, they'll be great for spying on people -- and they will be used for that.

  2. @Owen The next thing we'll need is a microbot detection device to scan for them and eliminate them when we don't want them.

  3. A million and one uses. I'm sure the various armed forces and non-state malefactors are looking into other uses, for example, sending a cloud of them into someone's blood stream to form a clot, or delivering poisons a few molecules at a time.

  4. They will not be putting any of these into my blood stream. I don't care what they promise.... it's not going to happen. This by the way may become the latest frontier for foreign powers to mess with other nations.... because let's face it... it's a field ripe for abuse and can indeed be weaponized in so many ways. And it won't be out of reach for terrorists either who prefer to buy their weapons from bad actor nations rather then try to produce them on their own.. so the technology scale and complexity will not be a barrier to terrorist acts.

  5. @Chuck Never say never. I'll bet if there were medical bot that could kill cancerous cells and you had pancreatic cancer you might adjust your policy.

  6. There is already a lack of laws for regulating the acquisition of our data from cell phones, etc and using it for marketing purposes. There probably will be some good uses for microbots but these tiny devices should be used for our benefit, not simply the benefit of corporations such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc. Federal and state governments need to pass laws to regulate data acquisition and its use or we will wind up in a nightmarish Orwellian world that science fiction writers warned about decades ago and now seem to be coming true with many people accepting it without protest and even embracing it.

  7. All the negative comments! Yes, this is a field with more than its fair share of risks, but it also offers a glimpse of future manufacturing, and, much more excitingly, of medicine. Bots which can repair injuries (perhaps on a continuing basis), kill harmful microbes or cancer cells seem like they will be the biggest innovation in medicine... ever. Disease and injury aside, these may hold the eventual key to vastly longer lifespans. I believe future doctors, with access to a panoply of nanobots, will look at the tools available to doctors from our era as little better than beads and rattles. We can try to take the lead, or we can cede it to countries like China and rely on their communist party to be our moral compass.

  8. Taking existing parts, putting them together to do something novel or useful, IS innovation. Can we deploy a few billion nanobots to scrub this word of the ridiculous conflation with "monetizing technology".

  9. Wasn't there an anime where the nanites became weapons?

  10. I know the wonderful possible applications are endless. I also know governments. If it can be weaponized, or used to spy on us, it absolutely, positively will be.

  11. They will get even smaller and be made our of many different types of materials for many different purposes and they will be connected to the new A.I. that with quantum computers will have self awareness sometime around 2028/ and it will be good ....for mankind needs a New super intelligence to guide us further into the infinite.

  12. Scary to imagine just a few of the many ways people will think of to weaponize this.