A Nano-machine is a small, simple, autonomous machine. They are made on an individual scale for situations when a more complex or integrated machine would require too much time and money.
Essentially these mini-machines could be anything from microscopic bugs that scuttle around your food to tiny cars that can navigate through your house. Nanomachines have been designed with the intention of performing tasks in locations where traditional machines couldn’t fit: space, ocean floor, sewage systems, etc.
Nanomachines bring potential advances in science and technology-related fields such as robotics and quantum technologies. They are a versatile technology that could benefit industry, medicine, and the military..
(Image Source: Azonano)
Nanomachines are single-domain machines that conduct a set function and have no compartments for extra elements. Their ability to be produced on an individual scale allows more complex machines to be broken down into simpler components. These parts can then be transported through devices such as pipes one by one or sent through bodily fluids of living organisms. The use of nanomachines in the human body could mean that we no longer need to take pills for everyday illnesses because the nanomachines will directly attack viruses and bacteria within our system.
Its function and its composition dictate the shape of a Nano-machine. They could be simple machines with a single component or complex machines with many added parts, such as a robotic arm. Nanomachines are usually guided by either a single integrated molecule or an array of tiny molecules that work together.
They do not have electronics or visible components for people to visualize; the components are able to communicate with each other through their programming to navigate and accomplish tasks. Another advantage of having Nano-machines is the transparency of their design process and manufacturing. A company could quickly produce copies of themselves to send out to specific customer sites without having people involved in the process.
Nanomachines are usually used in situations that require a lot of precision and accuracy, for example, when using explosives. The accuracy of Nano-machines is only limited by the accuracy of the programming, much like smartphone programming as well as the nano-particles they’re programmed with. Nanomachines have been able to perform tasks such as launching and landing spacecraft faster than traditional control systems.
Nanomachines are proving themselves beneficial in manufacturing applications. The processing time in a computer chip can be cut down by up to 65% by using counter electrodes that have different electrical characteristics from the rest of the material; this allows for faster processing times, whereas traditional fabrication techniques have only allowed for about 30%. Also, molecular assembly line technology ensures that the process is done accurately, while conventional fabrication techniques are not as precise.
Nanomachines have been able to perform more complex tasks in environments where other machines would not be able to function. Recently it was reported that a nano-of the size of a grain of rice was used to navigate through tiny holes (1/4th the diameter of a human hair) in a polymer matrix. Nanomachines are also able to move through living tissue and liquids such as blood and mucus when programmed by engineers and scientists.
Exoskeletons are robotic tools developed with the intention of replacing human muscles. They are designed to replace their human counterpart with a much lighter, more precise and powerful machine. The military can use exoskeletons for space exploration, mining, or to improve the mobility of soldiers. Due to the increased power and precision it brings to an individual, exoskeletons have started being used by athletes for weight lifting and running.
(Image Source: Popular Mechanics)
One of the main features that make these robotic systems so useful is their portability. Without a need for wires or cables, most exoskeletons can be operated via wireless communication allowing them greater mobility than their human counterparts. The miniature structure of these robotic systems also allows for them to be used in areas where the human body would be too large. Miniature robots that have a diameter of less than 1 mm can manoeuvre through tiny cracks and holes.
The use of nanotechnology in robotics has a lot of potential in the field of medicine, specifically when dealing with surgeries. It allows for robots to be precise and microscopic, which is essential because when trying to operate on a body, you need to make sure that every movement is accurate so as not to harm any healthy parts.
These robots can go inside the human body and destroy harmful objects such as dead cells or cancer tumours. Also, they can monitor a person’s physical status during an operation by checking their heart rate, oxygen level and temperature. A big concern that robot designers have is making sure people will trust them. Because of this, there are multiple designs for different types of parts (arms, legs, hands), and they all look different, so it makes it easier to distinguish which part is genuine and which part is artificial.
In future years, nanorobots are predicted to hold conversations with people through keywords or phrases and ask questions using machine language instead of English. This would provide more excellent safety and security because of the better understanding of the person’s state of mind. It could also act as a personal assistant that could help with tasks such as cooking, laundry, driving, or even homework. Nanorobots will also be able to identify other nanorobots if found in someone’s system, bringing more awareness to the issue and help track down malicious parties.
Nanorobots can be designed by mimicking nature’s own nanomachines. They can be programmed to carry out specific tasks by guiding them along different chemical reaction pathways. Applying the principles of biomimetics with advanced nano-engineering techniques is expected to lead to a new generation of materials that defy the limitations of classical engineering approaches.
With the rapid advancement of technology in nanotechnology and with an ever-increasing environmental crisis, it may be possible for nanotechnology to solve this problem by capturing carbon emissions directly from the air. This would allow for a much cleaner environment due to a decrease in carbon monoxide concentration as well as a decrease in global warming effects such as sea level rises due to melting ice caps.