A Brief History of the Future suggests that by 2114 most humans in the developed world had nanoscale machine parts inside their bodies to keep them healthy. They were injected when disease was detected and removed when the job was done by collecting them with magnets and sucking them out with syringes.
The idea of robots so tiny they can be put inside the human body and repair it from within has long been the stuff of science fiction. In fact Wikipedia has an article on it. But how close are we to making it a reality?
An article on the Microscope Master website outlines the current position and explains what they are:
An emerging branch of technological research, designing and constructing nanobots will have incalculable implications in science and industry. Also known as nanorobots, nanites, or nanomachines, these devices are in the development phase and only primitive nanomachines have been tested.
The term nano describes a length of measurement equal to one-billionth of one meter which is approximately the width of 10 atoms. The resulting miniature robotic machines may be as small as a few molecules in length or width.
|Nanorobot inside a cell|
Wikipedia also has a large article on Nanorobotics which was a bit beyond my comprehension, but maybe the scientists among you would enjoy it. The possible applications are numerous, and include bacteria-based and virus-based nanobots, but there is still a way to go.
Ann Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, and book two Alien Secrets, are out now. Follow her at http://eepurl.com/bbOsyz