Nanofabrication: Technology to manufacture almost anything

| | January 4, 2018

James Burke has a vision for the future. He believes that by the middle of this century, perhaps as early as 2042, our world will be defined by a new device: the nanofabricator.

You’ll pour in some raw materials—perhaps water, air, dirt, and a few powders of rare elements if required—and the nanofabricator will go to work. Powered by flexible photovoltaic panels that coat your house, it will tear apart the molecules of the raw materials, manipulating them on the atomic level to create…anything you like.

[There are] potential consequences it could have for society. Suddenly, all you need is light and raw materials. Starvation ceases to be a problem. After all, what is food? Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorous, sulphur. Nothing that you won’t find with some dirt, some air, and maybe a little biomass thrown in for efficiency’s sake.

Equally, there’s no need to worry about not having medicine as long as you have the recipe and a nanofabricator. After all, the same elements I listed above could just as easily make insulin, paracetamol, and presumably the superior drugs of the future, too.

[I]f nanofabricators are ever built, the systems and structure of the world as we know them were built to solve a problem that will no longer exist.

Read full, original post: How a Machine That Can Make Anything Would Change Everything

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