A world where things can be assembled molecule-by-molecule and things can also disassembled and turned into a totally different thing. Where people can be operated on and healed by cell-sized robots. Imagine that, yes I know it might total sound like science fiction in a movie, well, guess what, it is not, science is going ahead of itself. Tremendous developments are being made now. With nano-robots having the ability of manipulating matter, we should go through the exercise of formulating solutions to potential ethical issues before the technology is irreversibly adopted by society.
We must examine the ethics of developing nanotechnology and create policies that will aid in its development so as to eliminate or at least minimize its damaging effects on society. INTRODUCTION Nanotechnology can best be defined as a description of activities at the level of atoms and molecules that have applications in the real world. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter, that is, about 1/80,000 of the diameter of a human hair, or 10 times the diameter of a hydrogen atom.
The size-related challenge is the ability to measure, manipulate, and assemble matter with features on the scale of 1-100nm. In order to achieve cost-effectiveness in nanotechnology it will be necessary to automate molecular manufacturing. The engineering of molecular products needs to be carried out by robotic devices, which have been termed nanorobots. A nanorobot is essentially a controllable machine at the nano meter or molecular scale that is composed of nano-scale components.
The field of nanorobotics studies the design, manufacturing, programming and control of the nano-scale robots Nanorobotics is the emerging technology field creating machines or robots whose components are at or close to the scale of a nanometer (10-9 meters), More specifically, nanorobotics refers to the nanotechnology engineering discipline of designing and building nanorobots, with devices ranging in size from 0. 1–10 micrometers and constructed of nanoscale or molecular components.
The names nanobots, nanoids, nanites, nanomachines or nanomites have also been used to describe these devices currently under research and development. Nanomachines are largely in the research-and-development phase but some primitive molecular machines have been tested. An example is a sensor having a switch approximately 1. 5 nanometers across, capable of counting specific molecules in a chemical sample.
The first useful applications of nanomachines might be in medical technology which could be used to identify and destroy cancer cells. 10] Another potential application is the detection of toxic chemicals, and the measurement of their concentrations, in the environment. Rice University has demonstrated a single-molecule car developed by a chemical process and including buckyballs for wheels. It is actuated by controlling the environmental temperature and by positioning a scanning tunneling microscope tip. Another definition is a robot that allows precision interactions with nanoscale objects, or can manipulate with nanoscale resolution.
Such devices are more related to microscopy or scanning probe microscopy, instead of the description of nanorobots as molecular machine. Following the microscopy definition even a large apparatus such as an atomic force microscope can be considered a nanorobotic instrument when configured to perform nanomanipulation. For this perspective, macroscale robots or microrobots that can move with nanoscale precision can also be considered nanorobots. WHAT IS NANOTECHNOLOGY?
Nanotechnology, also called molecular manufacturing, is branch engineering that deals with the design and manufacture of extremely small electronic circuits and mechanical devices built at the molecular level of matter. The goal of nanotechnology is to be able to manipulate materials at the atomic level to build the smallest possible electromechanical devices called nano-robots, given the physical limitations of matter. Much of the mechanical systems we know how to build will be transferred to the molecular level as some atomic analogy.
In essence, the purpose of developing nanotechnology is to have tools to work on the molecular level analogous to the tools we have at the macroworld level. Like the robots we use to build cars and the construction equipment we use to build skyscrapers, nano-robots will enable us to create a plethora of goods as well as to increase our engineering abilities to the limits of the physical world. Nanotechnology can best be considered as a ‘catch-all’ description of activities at the level of atoms and molecules that have applications in the real world.
A nanometer is a billionth of a meter, that is, about 1/80,000 of the diameter of a human hair, or 10 times the diameter of a hydrogen at An early promoter of the industrial applications of Nanotechnology, Albert Franks, defined it as ‘that area of science and technology where dimensions and tolerances in the range of 0. 1nm to 100 nm play a critical role’ . It encompasses precision engineering as well as electronics; electromechanical systems (e. g. ‘lab-on-a-chip’ devices) as well as mainstream biomedical applications in areas as diverse as gene therapy, drug delivery and novel drug discovery techniques.
The prefix nano is used to denote one billionth (1nm=10^-9) m). In present context, it has come to mean anything much smaller than our current standard capability. At the simplest level, Nanotechnology is the manipulation of single atoms and molecules to create objects that can be smaller than 100 nanometers. Important changes in behavior are caused not by the order of magnitude size reduction, but also by new phenomena, quantum mechanics and Coulomb blockade.
It is notable that all relevant phenomena at nano-scale are caused by the tiny size of the organized structure as compared to molecular scale, and by the interactions at their predominant and complex interfaces. NANOROBOTICS * Nanorobotics is the technology of creating machines or robots at or close to the scale of a nanometre (10-9 metres). Nano-robots Inside Our Bodies: Among biomedical problems, monitoring nutrient concentrations into the human body is a possible application of nanorobots in medicine. Nanorobots might be used as well to seek and break kidney stones.
One interesting nanorobot utilization is also to assist inflammatory cells (or white cells) in leaving blood vessels to repair injured tissues. Red blood cells and nanorobots inside a blood vessel View of simulator workspace showing the vessel wall with a grid texture, cells and nanorobots. They are medical surgeons that find damaged cells and repair them. Using nanorobotics, doctors could create robots called nanites that travel through the human bloodstream, firing ‘ medicinetorpedoes ‘ at diseased cells, while leaving healthy cells intact.
These smaller robots are able to repair and monitor intracellular structures like DNA. Nanorobots can alter DNA to reduce the number of hereditary diseases and defects in a person . NANOROBOTICS DESIGN Designing nanorobotic systems deal with vast variety of sciences, from quantum molecular dynamics, to kinematic analysis. The rules applicable to nanorobotics depend upon the nano material we intend to use. Nanomechanical robotic systems deal with science significantly different from the biological or inorganic nanorobotic systems.
Eric Drexler, author of the famous book, Nanosystems: Molecular machinery, manufacturing and Computation, detailed on many areas of science which influences design of nanomechanical systems. In this review chapter on various laws which govern the designing of nanorobotics, we will concentrate on biological systems. We will consider that the components that details a nanorobot is made of biological components, such as, proteins and DNAs. There doesn’t exist any particular guideline or a prescribed manner which details the methodology of designing a bio-nanorobot (bio-nanorobot implies nanorobots made up of bio components) up to the date.
There are many complexities which are associated with using bio components (such as protein folding, presence of aqueous medium), but the advantages of using these are also quite considerable. These bio components offer immense variety and functionality at a scale where creating a man made material with such capabilities would be extremely difficult. These bio components have been perfected by nature through millions of years of evolution and hence these are very accurate and efficient. As noted in the review section on Molecular Machines, F1-ATPase is known to work at efficiencies which are close to 100%.
Such efficiencies, variety and form are not existent in any other form of material found today. Also, the other significant advantages in using protein-based bio nano components is the development and refinement over the last 30 years of tools and techniques that enable researchers to mutate proteins in almost any way imaginable. These mutations can consist of anything from simple amino acid side-chain swapping, to amino acid insertions or deletions, incorporation of non-natural amino acids, and even the combination of unrelated peptide domains into whole new structures.
An excellent example of this approach is the engineering of the F1-ATPase, which is able rotate a nanopropeller in the presence of ATP. A computational algorithm  was used to determine the allosteric zinc-binding site into the F1-ATPase using site-directed mutagenesis. The mutant F1-ATPase was then shown to rotate an actin filament in the presence of ATP with average torque of 34 pN nm. This rotation could be stopped with the addition of zinc, and restored with the addition of a chelator to remove the zinc from the allosteric binding site .
This type of approach can be used for the improvement of other protein-based nanocomponents. Hence, these bio components seem to be a very logical choice for designing nanorobots. Some of the core applications of nanorobots are in the medical field and using bio-components for these applications seems to be a good choice as they both offer efficiency and variety of functionality. This idea is clearly inspired by nature’s construction of nanorobots, bacteria and viruses which could be termed as intelligent organisms capable of movement, sensing and organized control.
Hence our scope would be limited to the usage of these bio components in the construction of bio-nanorobotics. A roadmap is proposed which details the main steps towards the design and development of bio-nanorobots. ADVANTAGES OF NANO-ROBOTICS To imagine disassemblers dismantling garbage to be recycled at the molecular level, and then given to assemblers for them to build atomically perfect engines, don’t sound like a bad idea in this world of ours. Stretching this vision a bit, you can imagine a nano-robot which could reassemble matter in the form of a juicy steak, given the correct blueprints and organization of these nano-robots.
With nano-robots, we could better design and synthesize pharmaceuticals; we could directly treat diseased cells like cancer; we could better monitor the life signs of a patient; or we could use nano-robots to make microscopic repairs in hard-to-operate-on areas of the body. With regard to the environment, we could use nano-robots to clean up toxins or oil spills, recycle all garbage, and eliminate landfills, thus reducing our natural resource cons DISADVANTAGES OF NANO-ROBOTICS
The flip side to these benefits is the possibility of assemblers and disassemblers being used to create weapons or being used as weapons themselves, or for them to run wild and wreak havoc. Weapons are an obvious negative use of nanotechnology. Simply extending today’s weapon capabilities by miniaturizing guns, explosives, and electronic components of missiles would be deadly enough. However, with nanotechnology, armies could also develop disassemblers to attack physical structures or even biological organisms at the molecular level.
A similar hazard would be if general purpose disassemblers got loose in the environment and started disassembling every molecule they encountered. This is known as “The Gray Goo Scenario. ” Furthermore, if nanorobots were created to be self replicating and there was a problem with their limiting mechanism, they would multiply endlessly like viruses. Even without considering the extreme disaster scenarios of nanotechnology, we can find plenty of potentially harmful uses for it. It could be used to erode our freedom and privacy; people could use molecular sized microphones, cameras, and homing beacons to monitor and track others.
APPLICATION OF NANOROBOTICS Surprisingly, we’re not that far off from seeing devices like this actually used in medical procedures. They’re called nanorobots and engineering teams around the world are working to design robots that will eventually be used to treat everything from hemophilia to cancer. There are three main considerations scientists need to focus on when looking at nanorobots moving through the body — navigation, power and how the nanorobot will move through blood vessels.
Nanotechnologists are looking at different options for each of these considerations, each of which has positive and negative aspects. Most options can be divided into one of two categories: external systems and onboard systems. External navigation systems might use a variety of different methods to pilot the nanorobot to the right location. One of these methods is to use ultrasonic signals to detect the nanorobot’s location and direct it to the right destination. Doctors would beam ultrasonic signals into the patient’s body.
The signals would either pass through the body, reflect back to the source of the signals, or both. The nanorobot could emit pulses of ultrasonic signals, which doctors could detect using special equipment with ultrasonic sensors. Doctors could keep track of the nanorobot’s location and maneuver it to the right part of the patient’s body. ETHICAL ISSUES Society feels that Nanotechnology will give us more “god-like” powers which might lead to disaster. And might also, lead to an undetectable surveillance, Right to privacy could be jeopardized. CONCLUSION
It would be difficult to deny the potential benefits of nanotechnology and stop development of research related to it since it has already begun to penetrate many different fields of research. However, nanotechnology can be developed using guidelines to insure that the technology does not become too potentially harmful. As with any new technology, it is impossible to stop every well funded organization who may seek to develop the technology for harmful purposes. However, if the researchers in this field put together an ethical set of guidelines (e. g. Molecular Nanotechnology Guidelines6) and follow them, then we should be able to develop nanotechnology safely while still reaping its promised benefits | Nanorobots: Today and Tomorrow 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. In the future, nanorobots could revolutionize medicine. Doctors could treat everything from heart disease to cancer using tiny robots the size of bacteria, a scale much smaller than today’s robots. Robots might work alone or in teams to eradicate disease and treat other conditions. Some believe that semiautonomous nanorobots are right around the corner — doctors would implant robots able to patrol a human’s body, reacting to any problems that pop up. Unlike acute treatment, these robots would stay in the patient’s body forever.