Nano-Machines up to 5000 times smaller than a human cell!
In the 1966 sci-fi movie “Fantastic Voyage,” a team of scientists is reduced to microscopic size and sent in a microminiature vessel into the body of a diplomat to repair a blood clot in his brain.
Fifty years ago, the premise was pure science fiction. But as Suzanne Somers reports in her new book, teams of medical researchers are now developing real-world “nanobots” that may soon allow doctors to explore, diagnose, and treat disease inside the human body using blood-cell-sized robots.
Ray Kurzweil — the famed futurist Somers calls “the smartest man on the planet” — has identified nearly two dozen scientific projects around the world that are attempting to design and produce tiny machines that can travel inside the body to combat disease. In an interview with Somers in her book — “Bombshell: Explosive Medical Secrets That Will Redefine Aging” (Crown Archetype, $26) — he predicts the use of nanobots in clinical medicine is “only about 15 years away.”
Powering nano-vehicles is a complex issue yet to be solved. Researchers know that external electric or magnetic fields could create small forces that cause the tiny machines to rotate or undergo intricate motions. But, they say, that approach would cause every nano-machine in the field to move in lock-step. Autonomous movement is preferred for uses such as microsurgery when machines need to move independently. Researchers look to biology for clues that could lead to an effective, self-directed nano-motor. Here, the tail-like structure of a Salmonella bacterium turning in a corkscrew motion and powered by stored chemical energy provides an example of how nano-machines could be autonomously powered.