Researchers Eye Software for Nanorobots
Researchers from Australia and the U.S. are developing software to be a test bed for powering nano-robots that could locate and take pictures inside the human body. Computing giant Hewlett-Packard Co is also in the mix.
Recent developments on the field of biomolecular computing has demonstrated positively the feasibility of processing logic tasks by bio-computers, which is a promising first step to enable future nanoprocessors with increasingly complexity. CREDIT: Nanoro
The software called NCD (for 'nanorobot control design') is a system implemented to serve as a test bed for nanorobot 3D prototyping. The research team includes Australia’s CAN Center for Automation in Nanobiotech, Monash University, Institute for Molecular Manufacturing (Calif.) and computer giant Hewlett-Packard Co.
While researchers admit actual in-body nanorobots are years away, their work does bring the power of 3D modeling and Virtual Reality to design, simulation and testing of nanorobots. Analysis of integrated system modeling is a key to nanorobot development, researchers said, and their latest work (published in Nanotechnology in January 2008), explores how NCD helps test nanorobots and allow them to participate in real-time simulations.
The nanorobot research team includes Adriano Cavalcanti, Bijan Shirinzadeh, Robert Freitas, Jr., Tad Hogg among others.
The team developed an innovative approach to help in the research and development: virtual reality. In a demonstration of the real-time simulation, the nanorobots had the task of searching for proteins in a dynamic virtual environment, and identifying and bringing those proteins to a specific “organ-inlet” for drug delivery.
How NCD Works
NCD addresses the control and the architecture design for developing practical molecular machines. Advances in nanotechnology are enabling manufacturing nanosensors and actuators through nanobioelectronics and biologically inspired devices. The use of 3D simulation can provide interactive tools for addressing nanorobot choices on sensing, hardware architecture design, manufacturing approaches, and control methodology investigation.
Specifically, NCD lets nanorobots operate in a virtual environment comparing random, thermal and chemical control techniques. In addition, NCD offers a nanorobot architecture model has nano-bioelectronics as the basis for manufacturing integrated system devices with embedded nano-biosensors and actuators, which facilitates its application for medical target identification and drug delivery.
For more information, see Nanorobotdesign and the journal Nanotechnology, January 2008 (Institute of Physics).