Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Personal Nuclear Energy on a Nano Scale

Bringing nuclear energy to the personal level may take a decade or two. Bringing nuclear energy to the nano-scale may take even longer. Brian Wang brings us a discussion on nuclear powered nano-bots to be implanted into your body, to produce the ATP energy molecule -- so you won't have to eat! Or perhaps more realistically, so you can eat anything you want without suffering for it.
Here’s how these would work: the only reason people eat is to replace the energy they expend walking around, breathing, living life, etc. Like all creatures, we take energy stored in plant or animal matter. Freitas points out that the isotope gadolinium-148 could provide much of the fuel the body needs. But a person can’t just eat a radioactive chemical and hope to be healthy, instead he or she would ingest the gadolinium in the form of nanorobots. The gadolinium-powered robots would make sure that the person’s body was absorbing the energy safely and consistently. Freitas says the person might still have to take some vitamin or protein supplements but because gadolinium has a half life of 75 years, the person might be able to go for a century or longer without a square meal.

...“Nutribots” floating through the bloodstream would allow people to eat virtually anything, a big fatty steak for instance, and experience very limited weight or cholesterol gain. The nutribots would take the fat, excess iron, and anything else that the eater in question did not want absorbed into his or her body and hold onto it. The body would pass the nurtibots, and the excess fat, normally out of the body in the restroom. _NextBigFuture

Implantable nanobots could theoretically perform any number of vital functions for humans. To learn more see here (via Brian Wang), or follow other links you can find at the NBF article linked above.

Of course by the time we reach this level of nanotechnology, we will probably not be worrying very much about food scarcity, peak energy, peak resources, overpopulation, carbon catastrophe, or any other "crisis du jour" that occupies popular attention these days.

If we can make our own nanobots at home that can provide us with the goods and services of the most affluent society -- at virtually no cost to ourselves -- it will be safe to say that the age of scarcity is over.



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