Imagine a world where disease is just an option to us, we can have access to any information without even opening Google, where we can send our thoughts or informations to anyone without using e-mail, whatsapp or phone call.
Sounds like a great Science-fiction movie right. But these all becoming reality today and may be within 15-20 years from now you can can experience all these. But how on earth we are gonna do these?
The answer lies in the word ‘Nano’. Famous Physicist Richard Feynman probably is the first person to conceptualize nanotechnology to the world in his 1959 speech where he said “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.” What’s the first word come to our mind after hearing the word ‘Nano’? Small may be very small. But how small is very small in Nano world. Nano objects are in the scale of 1-100 nanometer. Just to give you an idea- a nanometer is million times smaller than the size of an ant. Now you can imagine!
Being immortal has always been a dream to mankind. It’s not that no one can be immortal in this earth. There are creatures who are said to be immortal for example a jellyfish, known as Turritopsis doohmii, or more commonly, the immortal jellyfish. It has found a way to cheat death by actually reversing its aging process, whenever it is injured or sick it returns to it’s polyp stage over three days, means it revere it’s cells to it’s younger stage then again grows to a adult cell. There are even some bacterias, lobsters, turtles whose organs doesn’t seem to become weaker with time. Is it possible for humans?
If you look deeper into the human body, what are we made of ? If we try to answer scientifically, we are multi-cellular organism. Each cell is like our currency, each of them are alive by their own but depends on each other for ultimate survival of the whole. A single cell is born with combination of sperm and egg cell. Then this single cell divides further into daughter cells, which further devides to give a complex human being.
At molecular level if we consider, a cell is a complex, self-replicating, carbon based machine. If somehow we can mimic the nature, the way it creates micro machine like cell. We will have access to a unknown world. We can manipulate our body the way we want. That’s the whole idea about creating ‘Nanobots’, which is considered to be one of the most important inventions for humankind future. What is a ‘Nanobot‘ then? A ‘Nanobot‘ is a micro robot in nanoscale which is programmable just like softwares in our computers. It is so small that it can easily float in our blood stream and track the toxins and damaged cells to repair them. They will be our own army to fight with the pathogens (bad virus or bacteria) in our body. Not only that even terrifying diseses like Cancer can treated with the help of this micro robots. These minute molecules have components that enable them to identify and attach themselves to a cancer cell. When activated by light, the nanobots’ rota-like chain of atoms begin to spin at an incredible rate – around two to three million times per second. This causes the nanobot to drill into the cancer cell, blasting it open.
In a recent experiment nanobots are being tested in the blood stream of animals and we are very optimistic that soon we are going to have a cancer free even disease free world.
This is just one of the major applications of ‘Nanotechnology’, there are plethora of other uses which are going to change our future world, like in harvesting more solar power, in storage devices (entire information of wikipedia can be stored in a single gram of DNA), in building smart materials but another area where ‘Nanotechnology’ said to have drastic influence is in improving our brain.
Wow! sounds cool right. According to ‘Ray Kurzweil’ (a pioneer engineer at Google, an author, futurist)-
“In the 2030s, said Ray, “we are going to send nano-robots into the brain (via capillaries) that will provide full immersion virtual reality from within the nervous system and will connect our neocortex to the cloud. Just like how we can wirelessly expand the power of our smartphones 10,000-fold in the cloud today, we’ll be able to expand our neocortex in the cloud.”
At this moment it seems unfathomable but you never know what is waiting for us in the future. Just for a moment imagine how the world would be if nanorobots will be able to connect our brains with internet. This simply means Google will be in your neurons. You will have access to almost all the knowledge and informations of humankind. You don’t need to Google map to navigate, it’s in your brain, you can go anywhere (without any device) without the fear of getting lost. Forget about e-mail, whats app, phone calls, brain to brain communication will be reality (just like computer to computer transfer of data).
You want to learn a new language, just download it or even better just stream it as neurons will be connected to cloud web. Your childhood memories or any thing ever happened to you will be stored in the cloud. So that whenever you require to remember anything just searc it. We will have searchable memory.
OK enough science fiction. Possibilities are limitless. Probably humans will have higher order existence then. But hey, don’t think these all are just mere fiction and has nothing to do with reality. Let us remember that great science requires great science fiction also. Scientists around the world are working on molecular machine, CRISPR/Cas9 which allows to edit our genomes, brain-computer interface to make all these a reality. In future I will discuss about each of these topics.
Like everything else ‘World of Nano’ is also a double edged sword. If we are not careful enough these micro robots can bring the world to an end. If ‘Nanobots’ start replicating themelves uncontrollably in our body, they will take everything to replicate, buildings, people, cars anything and only boundary of space can stop the replication, this phenomena is known as ‘Gray goo’. The term ‘Gray goo’ was coined by nanotechnology pioneer Eric Drexler in his 1986 book ‘Engines of Creation’. If internet are connected with brain, then imagine the scenario if someone by chance hack the system, your body will be hacked by someone. Of-course everything has good and bad sides but we need to ensure that the benifits will outweigh the risks involved.
After all everyone wants a better world, a safer world.
Have a remarkable week. Until next week. -Joy