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Archive for the 'Feynman Path' Category

Physicists suppress 'stiction' force that bedevils microscale machinery

Posted by Jim Lewis on April 19th, 2014

A possible top-down path to atomically precise manufacturing that passes through microscale machinery might be rendered easier because of recent progress in suppressing the Casimir force, which contributes to the ‘stiction’ problem often encountered with microelectromechanical systems.

Debate: “How do we get there from here?” at SME nano conference

Posted by Christine Peterson on May 4th, 2010

Here we present a special report from Dave Conz of ASU on Josh Hall’s talk and subsequent panel discussion at the SME nanotech conference.  An excerpt: Technoscientific development is difficult to direct and nearly impossible to predict.  Because of this – not in spite of it – panel discussions like “How Do We Get There [...]

Matterhorn sculpture demos 3D patterning at 15 nm level (IBM video)

Posted by Christine Peterson on April 29th, 2010 brings news and a video of a new 3D patterning technique from IBM that reaches down to 15 nm resolution which “could go even smaller”: IBM Research in Zurich has demonstrated a new nanoscale patterning technique that could replace electron beam lithography (EBL). The demonstration carved a 1:5 billion scale three-dimensional model of the [...]

Accelerating Future » RepRap “Mendel” to be Released Soon!

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on October 27th, 2009

Accelerating Future » RepRap “Mendel” to be Released Soon!. Nicw round-up with videos of the latest in the Rep-Rap world.

Nanoscale Wear

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on September 10th, 2009

One of the major problems for micromachines, much less nanomachines, is wear. The phenomenon of stiction combines the two worst aspects of surface-to-surface interaction — a high coefficient of friction and a locally-generated high applied force — to cause enormous problems. At the very smallest scale, once we gain complete control over atomic configuration, superlubricity [...]


Posted by J. Storrs Hall on August 7th, 2009

There’s a nice article over at the Singularity Hub that’s a round-up of currently-available haptics devices.  They seem primarily excited over the prospects of haptics in gaming, but there are two reasons we’re interested in developments. First is simply telerobotics, as in Feynman Path manipulation.  We want the feedback to help develop an intuitive feel [...]

Self-replicating machines and risk

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on August 3rd, 2009

Engineering and analysis in the field of SRMs is unusual in many ways.  Eric Drexler has posted a paper about differences in evolutionary capacity in mechanical and biological systems that’s worth a look. Purely coincidentally, we at Foresight have been discussing self-replication in the context of the Feynman Path and I came up with an [...]

CCC / CRA Robotics Roadmap

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 28th, 2009

The CCC/CRA, a consortium of academic computer science departments (essentially), has a roadmap to future robotics that has some implications for the Feynman Path. Some highlights (from the chapter on manufacturing): Vignette 2: One-of-a-kind, discrete-part manufacture and assembly A small job shop with 5 employees primarily catering to orders from medical devices companies is approached [...]

Feynman’s Path to Nanotech (part 10)

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 17th, 2009

Just Do It It’s the 20th anniversary of the first Foresight Conference this year. Over the intervening two decades, one of the most common questions of Foresight members and supporters has been, “What can I do to help with the development of nanotech?”  Foresight has had many useful programs, and encouraged development in many ways [...]

Feynman’s Path to Nanotech (part 9)

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 16th, 2009

Scaling KSRM Design Considerations There hasn’t been a lot of work on self-replicating workcells. There’s been plenty on robotic workcells that don’t replicate, but almost all of this falls into the “more complex than what it makes” category. The basic idea goes back to Waldo: imitate a machine shop and the person servicing the machines [...]

Feynman’s Path to Nanotech (part 8)

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 15th, 2009

Where to Start? In the last post we suggested that finding the appropriate starting point was one of the critical items to address in forming a Feynman Path roadmap, and that is true. A thorough survey of available techniques should be made, and recent advances in machining, nanomanipulation, and so forth taken advantage of. However, [...]

Feynman’s Path to Nanotech (part 7)

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 14th, 2009

Plan of Attack The difficult we do immediately. The impossible takes a little longer. (Seabees motto) There are at least two major parts to a project to implement the Feynman Path. The first is essentially to work out a roadmap for the second. In particular, Design a scalable, remotely-operated manufacturing and manipulation workstation capable of [...]

Feynman’s Path to Nanotech (part 6)

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 13th, 2009

Open Questions Taking Feynman’s Path to nanotech, or even studying it seriously, would require finding answers to a number of open questions. These questions, however, are quite important and knowing the answers will be invaluable in understanding the envelope of possibilities for future manufacturing technology. Is it in fact possible to build a compact self-replicating [...]

Feynman’s Path to Nanotech (part 5)

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 10th, 2009

Is it Worth Starting Now? Surely, you will say, it would have been wonderful if back in 1959 people had taken Feynman seriously and really tried the Feynman path: we’d have the full-fledged paraphernalia of real, live molecular machinery now, with everything ranging from nanofactories to cell-repair machines. After all, it’s been 50 years. The [...]

Feynman’s Path to Nanotech (part 4)

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 9th, 2009

MEMS Another reason the Feynman Path may not have been tried is the perception that a machine-based approach has been tried in the form of MEMS, and that standard machine designs do not work at this scale and below due to stiction. MEMS are in fact crippled by this phenomenon, which is a essentially an [...]

Feynman’s Path to Nanotech (part 3)

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 8th, 2009

Self-replicating Machines So why hasn’t the Feynman Path been attempted, or at least studied and analyzed? One possible reason is that there still seems to be a “giggle factor” associated with the notion of a compact, macroscale, self-replicating machine using standard fabrication and assembly techniques. Although studied in the abstract since von Neumann, and in [...]

Feynman’s Path to Nanotech (part 2)

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 7th, 2009

Historical Note It’s appropriate on this July 7 to make at least a reference to the history of ideas that lies behind the Feynman Path. That’s because July 7 is the (102nd) birthday of Robert A Heinlein, the famous SF writer, futurist, and inventor. His invention of interest is the “Waldo F. Jones Synchronous Reduplicating [...]

Feynman’s Path to Nanotech (part 1)

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on July 6th, 2009

The Problem In 1997, Philip Collins, then a graduate student at Berkeley, won the Foresight Institute’s Distinguished Student Award for his experimental verification that a defect location in a carbon nanotube could form a near-perfect rectifier, as well as various other heterojunction device behaviors, as had been theoretically predicted just the year before. “Such junctions [...]