Nanobots – The Future Of Nanotechnology In Medical Science

Nanobots, as the name suggests is a type of robot whose components are at the scale of nanometer which is -9 meters. Nanobots might also be referred to as nanorobots or nanoids. Macroscale or microscale robots that can move with nanoscale precision can also be considered as nanobots. The first person to talk about the use of nanotechnology was physicist Richard Feynman in 1959. In 1986, in the book “Engines of Creation” introduced the concept of nanotechnology to the general public. Nanobots are seen widely in fiction. It has several references in sci-fi movies, computer games and TV shows. Some of them can be seen in Star Trek franchise, Cowboy bebop: The Movie, etc.

Nanobots, which is of the size of blood cells, might change our future and may be able to communicate with the neurons of the brain. They might be able to perform self-replication and can be used to perform a specific function. However, this is still a hypothetical concept. As for the power, the person’s body heat or the blood could be used as it’s fuel where there would be several complexities to control such factors. Currently, Nanomaterials have been used to study the DNA. One of the most actively researched areas of nanotechnology includes DNA assembly, particularly a technique known as DNA origami. DNA origami is simply a design technique which is similar to the Japanese art ‘origami’. It is related to the folding of DNA strands which makes it possible to attach nanocomponents to it.

Possible Obstructions:

Simple Nanoscale motors have been made over the past few years. However, they aren’t capable of doing anything more than generating physical motion by the help of their components at a nanoscale level. At the nanoscale level, quantum effects will have a large effect on the functions of such robots.

Cold welding is a process in which joining takes place without actual fusion or heat which is seen excessively in Vacuum. In the nanoscale level, we have observed that cold welding can happen within a short amount of time. Even just by mechanical or physical contact, even within a low pressure, such cold welding can happen.

Nanobots are mostly researched to be used inside human bodies. There are several chemicals in the human bodies which might not affect much on a macro level. However, they can damage the chips of such small scale.

Current Progress:

The smallest engine ever is a single calcium ion, which is 10 billion times smaller than a car engine. It was created by a group of scientists from the University of Mainz in Germany. They don’t have a particular use in mind for this engine but it might open several possibilities in the advancement of nanorobots. A team of scientists from Bar-llan University in Israel have shown an ability to create a nanobot computer inside of a living creature by the use of DNA strands. However, they are different from what we imagine of being used in humans. A team headed by Professor Marc Miskin in Department of  Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania has used silicon-based IC processor to create nanorobots. They are powered by a few hundred millivolts which are wireless and controlled to a very limited extent.

Nanorobots having silicon based IC processor
Source : https://www.electronicdesign.com/

Medical Uses:

Organ Targetting

The main use that the researches are seeking while developing nanobots are for medical purpose. It will be able to cure most of the diseases that are said to be incurable at present context. They can be used effectively and efficiently for drug delivery. Normally, when the patient consumes or is injected with the drug, it would be expected to work through the entire body also reaching the disease-affected area, eventually curing it. When the perfectly fine organ is exposed to medicines several side effects are seen in a patient. Thus it limits the use of such drugs.

Through the use of Nanobots, the drug could be targeted to a fixed location. Then, it would be much more effective and reduce the cases of side effects.

Vaccines

Researchers are also trying to use nanobots in the advancement of vaccine technology which would improve the performance of the vaccine.

Repairing Cell Tissues

Another useful application of nanobots can be seen as the repairing of tissue cells while assisting white blood cells. Such nanobots could attach themselves to the white blood cells. Then, they would help it arrive at the injury site and could assist in the repairing process. Soutik Betal, at the University of Texas, San Antonio developed nanocomposite particles. They can be controlled remotely by an electromagnetic field. Scientists have predicted that such technology can be used for the treatment of Cancer. The medical application of nanotechnology can be referred to as ‘Nanomedicine’.

Other Uses:

Besides , the possibility in medicine nanobots can also be used to study and improve the extraction process of fossil fuels. From a study conducted at Stanford University, Researchers have seen that solar cells made of silicon nanowires are twice as effective than the old commonly used options. Nanobots can be used in construction and manufacturing if they are made in a way they can gather and work together as a single unit.

Nanotechnology is a revolutionary idea in itself. In the future , nanobots might become a part of our everyday life greatly affecting the products and services we use. They might be flowing within our bodies in the near future. One can also ponder on the topic “Will the use of nanobots make us all cyborg?”

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