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I'd hate to burst your bubble, but those nanobots you've seen on Star Trek or read in the latest sci-fi books are pure junk.  As exciting as the idea may sound (it would be pretty cool!) the feasibility of a robot functioning on the nanometer scale perplexes me.  We've already discussed the fundamental problems with stability, decay, and environmental damage.  We've also discussed the prime difficulties in our ability to manipulate nanostructures. 

Our last discussion topic covered protein engineering.  This was described as the only way to really build a molecular machine.  Of course, if we are ever able to pull that off, then maybe we could use those machines to make smaller machines.  That's what we've been doing throughout the history of technology: using the current generation of devices to design and build even smaller ones.

But really now, a nanobot?  Maybe one day I'll get burned for saying this (I really hope I do) but it's more than a little lofty considering that we can't even fabricate the simplest structures with high precision.

Besides, thinking about a nanobot exposes you to one of the fundamental mistakes in scientific thinking: using old school thought to coral something that is completely new.  Nanotechnology represents our first foray into the world of atom-sized structures.  We have at our disposal a wide range of new quantum mechanical and electrical properties.  Trying to build nanobots with nanotechnology can be likened to building a computer that makes calculation using a series of steam pipes and valves.  It just makes no sense at all from the perspective of what we've already built in nanotechnology. 

Small-scale computing is definitely a possibility.  We've already built logic circuits that are a tenth the size of modern ones.  Right now, we just don't know enough about the physical and mechanical properties of nanostructures, nor do we possess the machinery precise enough to guide their construction.

The reason why people are so enthused about nanobots is probably due largely in part to science fiction and the media.  We like the idea of tiny robots running through our bloodstreams and repairing our bodies so we can live forever. 

It's rather unfortunate that people are so hung up about something that's so ridiculously far off, instead of listening to the latest developments in nanoelectronics and buckyball drug delivery. 

If we ever do build a nanobot, we'll have to establish all of our other nano processes.  So sit tight, catch a nap, and get ready for a long wait if you want to see a nanobot.