From reminders to notes to assignments and grades, you’ll be on keep it simple essays of your studies! Stay Up to Date Assignments and Exams keep you focuses on important tasks, while the calendar keeps it all in perspective.
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They are gathered in these archives for your review. In last month’s essay, I explained why even the earliest meter-scale nanofactories will necessarily have a high throughput, manufacturing their own mass in just a few hours. The next question is what range of products an early nanofactory would be able to build. For several reasons, it is important to know the range and functionality of the products that the nanofactory will produce, and how quickly new products can be developed. Knowing these factors will help to estimate the economic value of the nanofactory, as well as its impacts and implications.
Because a large nanofactory can be built only by another nanofactory, even the earliest nanofactories will be able to build other nanofactories. This means that the working parts of the nanofactory will be available as components for other product designs. From this reasoning, we can begin to map the lower bound of nanofactory product capabilities. This essay is a demonstration of how CRN’s thinking and research continue to evolve.
In 2003, I published a peer-reviewed paper called “Design of a Primitive Nanofactory” in which I described the simplest nanofactory I could think of. The planar assembly approach to building products is more flexible than the convergent assembly approach, and can use a much more compact nanofactory. Instead of having to transport and join blocks of various sizes within the nanofactory, it only needs to transport tiny blocks from their point of fabrication to the area of the product under construction. Drexler nanofactory does somewhat more than this, but their version could be simplified. Large moving parts need to slide and rotate, but small moving parts can be built to flex instead. It is theoretically possible that the simplest nanofactory may not need much in the way of bearings.