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Nano bots


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#1 OpenMind5

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 02:06 PM

Does anyone think that Nano bots could someday replace our immune system?

Imagine billions of nanobots flowing through your blood stream killing all the bad stuff in your body...would be pretty cool. And maybe even one day replace blood! Its could carry Oxygen for us! AND THEN WE WOULDN"T EVEN NEED A HEART TO PUMP! The nano-bots would do the rest! HOLY #@!*!

:)

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#2 Dark Mind

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 02:46 PM

Does anyone think that Nano bots could someday replace our immune system?

Imagine billions of nanobots flowing through your blood stream killing all the bad stuff in your body...would be pretty cool. And maybe even one day replace blood! Its could carry Oxygen for us! AND THEN WE WOULDN"T EVEN NEED A HEART TO PUMP! The nano-bots would do the rest! HOLY #@!*!

:eek_big:

Op5

What would be the point :eek:. It sounds cool, but in all practicality... our blood does a fine job. Nano bots built to destroy foreign diseases and viruses may some day become practical though :eek:.

#3 OpenMind5

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 06:11 PM

If you think about it...the self defense ones could seek and destroy...and if we can replace out blood with O2 carrying bots and have no need for hearts and maybe not even lungs...thats less organs we have to worry about becoming sick and diseased.

Matter of fact I wasn't the first to think of this. There is an author who is publishing a book on the matter. I ordered the book from Barns & Nobles. It talks about Humans Transending Biology. Turning mostly machine...wow...Can't wait to get it in september...LOL

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#4 C1ay

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 06:36 PM

Does anyone think that Nano bots could someday replace our immune system?

Ray Kurzweil does. He's probably the author of that bookj you ordered. From an interview he gave LiveScience:

The famed inventor and computer scientist is serious about his health because if it fails him he might not live long enough to see humanity achieve immortality, a seismic development he predicts in his new book is no more than 20 years away.

It's a blink of an eye in history, but long enough for the 56-year-old Kurzweil to pay close heed to his fitness. He urges others to do the same in "Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever.''

The book is partly a health guide so people can live to benefit from a coming explosion in technology he predicts will make infinite life spans possible.

Kurzweil writes of millions of blood cell-sized robots, which he calls "nanobots,'' that will keep us forever young by swarming through the body, repairing bones, muscles, arteries and brain cells. Improvements to our genetic coding will be downloaded via the Internet. We won't even need a heart....



#5 OpenMind5

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 08:07 PM

YES THATS HIM! I had a heck of a time trying to spell his name with the lady at the desk...LOL!
Its titled somthing somthing: when humans transend biology...LOL

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#6 CraigD

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 08:56 PM

(Title should be sung as a running cadence)

Does anyone think that Nano bots could someday replace our immune system?

I think that, by most current definitions, immune cells are considered wet nanobots.

I suspect that, someday, medicine will engineer direct improvement to many types of cells. I expect these engineered cells will more closely resemble our natural cells than anything we usually think of a “robot”.

In the immediate future, I’d rather have a practical replacement for my centimeter-scale heart than for anything smaller. Immune system senility isn’t so bad – it’s heart failure that’ll get you!

#7 alxian

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 09:47 PM

life just isn't worth living if one can't look forward to having billions of tiny robots invade my circulatory system and perhaps every cell to replace such systems as white blood cells platelettes and even intra cellular mechniasms like atp generating mitochondria..

it would be a good test of distributed networking since each little bugger couldn't have too much processing power on its own, even several million may not have enough mental juice to control your entire immune system and sensory augmentation duties... central processing unit like a lymph node and the base of the skull, interfacing with the spinal cord..?

What would be the point . It sounds cool, but in all practicality... our blood does a fine job


and this is why its still scifi

the body is incredibly inefficient as it has to feed several systems that have no function, some systems that are near useless and the digesstive system itself is ridiculously bad.

i'd much prefer what the original poster suggested having flowmetal blood that i can replenish rather than eating, and discharge for recycliing rather than, well you know the alternative.

people just don't understand how much simpler life would be if you didn't have to eat sleep get sick by drugs to cure really stupid diseases or wake up in a cold sweat fearing that you'll die someday maybe tomorrow from some obscure disease you can do nothing about. or even natural causes such as your cells having divided so much they run out of new material.

people shouldn't die, yet longevity and rejuvenation tech isn't a priorty for any of todays societies, people continue to die.

also if you had flowmetal blood you'd be able to fuel internal structures like wifi transceivers, instead of like opening a skin flap and popping in a AA. eek.

that no heart thing is also very appealing. maybe getting rid of it will make the shame of rejection easier to deal with.

#8 CraigD

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 09:56 PM

..it would be a good test of distributed networking since eahc little bugger couldn't have too much processing power on its own, even several million may not have enough mental juice to control your entire immune system and sensory augmentation duties...

You haven’t by any chance been reading Neil Stephenson’s “The Diamond Age : Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer” http://www.amazon.co...il/-/0553380966, have you?

That novel includes a human-hosted, nanorobotic distributed processing network that is transmitted sexually. It’s apparent purpose is not to enhance health, though, but something to do with factoring large integers.

#9 alxian

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Posted 19 August 2005 - 10:15 PM

if i had the skill i'd change my name and release a nano virus something like the one in cowbow bebop (sp?)


it would be mostly beneficial, riding man of most of the flesh that plagues our lives while making everyone immortal save for corporial disintegration, as well as fix everyones dna and then rebuild their bodies to perfectly express their new code.


where most readers of spinstate may see the syndicates as the "bad guys" i see them as a natural progression of mankind. execpt where they destroy imperfect people. imperfect people can be fixed. a socitey of perfect people living in perfect systems will have enough excess in resources to make everyone perfect. the problem is you have to limit procreation and certain personal freedoms. essentially everyone would be sterile, like the giver, i don't see a huge problem with that but most people want to fornicate for fun and have as many children as they can support. we thrive on conflict and one of the first is realizing you have to provide for yourself, somehow handing that power over to the state dehumanizes everyone. like most people have litte interest at all in furthering the betterment of society, that is what they leave in the hands of government they only focus on number one. removing distractions and forcing them to be a perfectly equal element in a perfect system where they will have no more and no less than anyone else is utterly repugnant.

this perhaps is that little rotteness at the core of every man in a free society. yet free societies works, go figure.

#10 Biochemist

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Posted 20 August 2005 - 10:26 AM

Does anyone think that Nano bots could someday replace our immune system?

Imagine billions of nanobots flowing through your blood stream killing all the bad stuff in your body...would be pretty cool. And maybe even one day replace blood! Its could carry Oxygen for us! AND THEN WE WOULDN"T EVEN NEED A HEART TO PUMP!

Sorry guys, but this seems a little naive. We have this tendency to massively underestimate biochemical complexity.

I have little doubt that we will be able to use nanobot technology to treat a specific pathogen. That objective is 5 or 10 orders of magnitude simpler than the notion of replacing your immune system with nanobots. The biochemical service that recognizes foreign substances, rapidly multiplies antobodies (for example), and then returns the antibodies to dormancy after pathogen eradication is very complex. The controls over the ramp-up, ramp-down and memory for future assaults is complex to the point of mysticism.

Further, providing an O2-carrying nanobot would do nothing to obviate our need for a heart or lungs. We run on O2 nanobots now (we call it hemoglobin) and we still need the heart and lungs to oxygenate the nanobots and push them around. Further, our existing nanobots (hemoglobin) are self-regulating in terms of oxygen capacity based on numerous environmental factors.

Kurzweil is indeed smart guy, but he sound like one of the many smart folks that believes biological systems are no more complicated than computers. Sorry, all. 'Taint so. The very smallest biological system has far more effective code (by many orders of magnitude) than the very largest computer applications, and the code is far tighter (in terms of delivered functionality per "line" of code).

Kurzweil will be long dead before we replace an immune systems, if we ever do.

#11 CraigD

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Posted 20 August 2005 - 12:54 PM

Sorry guys, but this seems a little naive. We have this tendency to massively underestimate biochemical complexity.

I agree.

…like one of the many smart folks that believes biological systems are no more complicated than computers …

Unexpectedly, my experience (based mostly on getting roaringly dunk with them) has been that the worst underestimaters of biological complexity are not computer programmers or hardware designers (OK, truth, I’ve never gotten drunk with an actual hardware designer), but molecular biochemists. I’ve practically come to blows with some respected researchers over my trotting out phrases gleaned from the pages of Scientific American like “epigenetics”, gluco and lipo-naics, or otherwise suggesting that a complete understanding of protein expression is not equivalent to a complete understanding of biology.

Programmers (I’m one, by profession and inclination), on the other hand, seem more at ease with and in touch with the depth of their ignorance. Biological systems many orders more complex than our techniques allow us to understand? Not a problem – ordinary computer runtime states are more complex than our techniques allow us to understand! (but we still routinely make them perform all sorts of amusing and useful tricks)

… The very smallest biological system has far more effective code (by many orders of magnitude) than the very largest computer applications, and the code is far tighter (in terms of delivered functionality per "line" of code). …

An explanation for this (other than evolution being better at code review and QA than anybody in the IT profession) could be that the code for a biological organism – the genome – can be considered “imbedded” in a “virtual machine” much more complex than the genome and its protein-expression machinery. In software terms, the genome is non-procedural software code, which, in computers, can be amazingly terse. The historic fact that NPLs, after being all the rage in the 1950s, 60s, and early 70s, were not widely developed or appreciated by the larger emerging discipline and industry, and (despite some rhetoric about XML and the like) still are not significantly implemented, does not change this.

Kurzweil will be long dead before we replace an immune systems, if we ever do.

I wouldn’t bet against you on that.

Nonetheless, the point he and others make with their provocative claim that “there are people alive today that will never die” is an interesting one. That the idea has become entangled with “Drexlarian” nanotechnology is in many ways unfortunate, I believe, because despite its youth, nanotech has accumulated a great deal of dogma and excess baggage.

IMO, the most significant prejudice in current nanotech thinking has to do with the attractive yet problematical notion that nanomachines must be autonomous, “free-swimming”, like the biological cells they seek to emulate, only several power of 10 smaller. Most unbiased research suggests that such an approach entails tremendous engineering difficulties. The fact that we don’t find cells much smaller than a couple micrometers (10^-6 m) may be evidence that attempting to engineer autonomous machines much smaller than that is a bad idea.

At the same time, miniaturizing refinements to ordinary endoscopic surgical tech (like those described in the “Wiring the Brain at the Nanoscale” Medical Science news article suggest that these difficulties may be avoided by such obvious means as attaching nano-scale (~10^-7 – 10^-9 m) machinery to room-scale (~1 m) support machines by means of 5*10^7 m –thick wires.

Kurtzweil may be wildly overoptimistic, but I wouldn’t be surprised to live to see surgery performed on a scale finer than that accessible to the immune system.

#12 Biochemist

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Posted 21 August 2005 - 08:25 AM

..Not a problem – ordinary computer runtime states are more complex than our techniques allow us to understand! (but we still routinely make them perform all sorts of amusing and useful tricks)

True, but these are still orders of magnitude less comples than the genome, The genome is a machine that builds machines (itself) that build machines (messenger and transfer RNA) that build machines (proteins) tha build machines (organelles and such). Each machine is not only built, but maintained homeostatically by yet other machines.

...In software terms, the genome is non-procedural software code, which, in computers, can be amazingly terse. The historic fact that NPLs, after being all the rage in the 1950s, 60s, and early 70s, were not widely developed or appreciated by the larger emerging discipline and industry, and (despite some rhetoric about XML and the like) still are not significantly implemented, does not change this.

I think this is because NPLs are so difficult to maintain, particularly by programmers other than the oiriginal author.

...Nonetheless, the point he and others make with their provocative claim that “there are people alive today that will never die” is an interesting one....Kurtzweil may be wildly overoptimistic, but I wouldn’t be surprised to live to see surgery performed on a scale finer than that accessible to the immune system.

I agree nano surgury may well be feasible, although I am not sure if it will be particularly therapeutic. The notion of a surgical device smaller than a micron (a single red cell is 5 to 7 microns) would suggest that most targets are too large for nanosurgery. And cancer cells (for example) are too ubiquitous to find unless the machines are free-flowing.

#13 CraigD

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Posted 21 August 2005 - 02:25 PM

… And cancer cells (for example) are too ubiquitous to find unless the machines are free-flowing.

Statement such as this, with which until recently I agreed, are precisely what I’m now questioning.

An important datum to extract from the “wiring the brain” article is that, while the recent lauded success involves threading individual .5 micron (5e-7 m) wires into blood vessels in a tissue sample, their envisioned goal is more ambitious:

… the researchers envision connecting an entire array of nanowires to a catheter tube that could then be guided through the circulatory system to the brain. Once there, the wires would spread into a "bouquet," branching out into tinier and tinier blood vessels until they reached specific locations.

So what they’re talking about is the ability to deliver a bundle of about the size of a red blood cell (7e-6 m) consisting of about 100 individual fibres to anywhere in the circulatory system.

Now, imagine that rather than being just a featureless fibre mechanically pushed, pulled, and jiggled with the aid of external radiological imaging, each fibre ends in a “nanobot” with 10 nanometer (10-8) features including manipulators, propellers, touch sensors, light emitters and sensors – all the features of a free-swimming machine, but without the ultra-miniature powerplant, brain/memory, communication system, and waste heat radiator/exchanger a free swimming design requires, and, rather that being at the whims of Brownian motion, being anchored to the end of what, at that scale, amounts to a massive, near stationary cylinder. The cylinder provides course, push/pull movement, but the manipulator and propeller features handle fine guidance. In addition to emitting light for its own sensors, this “nano-head” can send minute blips of high-energy (1e15 – 1e18 hz) radiation to provide high-resolution position data to external sensors, include an identifying data tag. The fibre supplies power, removes heat, and streams data both ways. On the end opposite its nano-head sits all the information processing power the macroscopic scale world can provide. In between, movement of the fibre can be facilitated by specialized clusters of features similar to the head.

After years of skepticism about the potential of nano-machinery in medicine, this idea has made me optimistic.

#14 Biochemist

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Posted 22 August 2005 - 08:50 AM

...An important datum to extract from the “wiring the brain” article is that, while the recent lauded success involves threading individual .5 micron (5e-7 m) wires into blood vessels in a tissue sample, their envisioned goal is more ambitious: So what they’re talking about is the ability to deliver a bundle of about the size of a red blood cell (7e-6 m) consisting of about 100 individual fibres to anywhere in the circulatory system....After years of skepticism about the potential of nano-machinery in medicine, this idea has made me optimistic.

This would be a great solution for a clot, but not for a cancerous lesion. Clots (or non-clot emboli) ar far more localized, and amenable to this sort of procedure. This is done currently by vascular surgeons and invasive cardiologists with existing catheter devices. The nanomachine tools would be a nice adjunct to such procedures. It still would not help much where the pathology is more diffuse, or even larger as in most cancers. Imagine trying to remove a 5 centimeter tumor with a device that is a micron across. Or trying to find 30,000 cells that are 10 microns across and in different locations.

#15 CraigD

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Posted 22 August 2005 - 12:06 PM

… Imagine trying to remove a 5 centimeter tumor with a device that is a micron across. Or trying to find 30,000 cells that are 10 microns across and in different locations.

How about with 100,000 individually computer controlled manipulator assemblies?

I’ve failing to convey the potential number of nano-heads that could be deployed to using the scheme I envision.

Since you, the nano-endo surgeon, want to be able to reach any tissue via the circulatory system, 100 fibres, each with an individually positionable and manipulable heads, is the limit – any more, and the resulting bundle is bigger than a RBC, so won’t fit in a capillary. However, this is not the limit on the total number of fibres that can be inserted. At .5 microns, you could pass 1,000 bundles through any vessel that can take a 20 ga needle, giving 100,000 heads deployable to any location in the body.

100,000 is a low limit for number of deployed fibres. I imagine the high limit to be around 10,000,000.

Clearly, with a system like this, surgery takes on a new character, with the surgeon no longer manipulating a single endoscopic appliance, but instructing a computer system to follow a program involving millions of movements, image captures/analysis, and intrusive actions. Such a transformation can’t happen overnight, but could over a decade.

The most important point I’m trying to make is that a nano-machine that is physically connected to a macroscopic machine circumvents the most daunting challenges that have arisen to confront nanotechnology, and that such a machine is in disagreement with the common vision of free-swimming nanomachine.

#16 Biochemist

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Posted 22 August 2005 - 12:21 PM

How about with 100,000 individually computer controlled manipulator assemblies?..Clearly, with a system like this, surgery takes on a new character, with the surgeon no longer manipulating a single endoscopic appliance, but instructing a computer system to follow a program involving millions of movements, image captures/analysis, and intrusive actions. Such a transformation can’t happen overnight, but could over a decade...

I don't want to sound disparaging, because I think this has a lot of potential. But it still seems more fitting for the vascular procedures (like a cardiac cath or an endarterectomy) because the target tissues are identifiable. In the case of a cancer, you still have the difficulty in recognizing the cancerous tissue. Computers can't do it. Drugs can't do it (although they have improved). And you really should not underestimate the difficulty in getting the wires back out. Many patients still have multiple pacemaker leads in their chests becasue they are impossible to extract after they have been in a while. If you have thousands of wires, even if small, a broken wire could easily become an embolus and cause a clot.

I do love this technololgy, but I bet it will take longer than 10 years for applpications other than those that are currently performed by vascular surgeons to be advanced.

#17 CraigD

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Posted 22 August 2005 - 03:08 PM

I don't want to sound disparaging, because I think this has a lot of potential. But it still seems more fitting for the vascular procedures (like a cardiac cath or an endarterectomy) because the target tissues are identifiable….

In the nearer-term, I believe you’re correct: Increased miniaturization will refine and improve, but not radically transform, existing endoscopic equipment and techniques. But a profound transformation due to increased miniaturization is coming, IMHO.

And you really should not underestimate the difficulty in getting the wires back out. Many patients still have multiple pacemaker leads in their chests becasue they are impossible to extract after they have been in a while. If you have thousands of wires, even if small, a broken wire could easily become an embolus and cause a clot.

You are absolutely correct. However, note that, with no need to carry their own energy supplies, these fibres should have a lengthy expected lifetime, and the ability to extract themselves using the same propeller/manipulators they used to insert themselves. The small number of fibres that can be expected to fail can be detected and mechanically extracted by those that don’t.

With every post on this subject, I find myself confronting and overturning a previous assumption – I suppose I’m undergoing a sort of “personal paradigm shift.” My most recent:
I’ve been assuming, because Llinas’s team’s recent article suggested it, that nano-fibre machines would necessarily access tissues via the circulatory system, as is done with current laparoscopic instruments. However, with a diameter of 1e-6 to 1e-7 m (vs. current instruments’ 1e-2 to 1e-3), there’s no need to do this unless convenient – to a fibre that fine, human tissue is completely permeable. They could be introduces unbundled at any location on the surface of the patient’s body.

I do love this technololgy, but I bet it will take longer than 10 years for applpications other than those that are currently performed by vascular surgeons to be advanced.

I recently read that futurist have about the same reputation as psychics, so I’ll try to restrain my tendency to guess at a timeframe, and, reluctantly, refuse your bet. I certainly look forward to seeming it unfold, if it does.