Kirk L. Kroeker "Technology, too, obeys the law of responding, of answering a call at whose origin we are encountering so much static." -- Avital Ronell

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Medical Nanobots

By Kirk L. Kroeker

Researchers working in medical nanorobotics are creating technologies that could lead to novel health-care applications, such as new ways of accessing areas of the human body that would otherwise be unreachable without invasive surgery.

Since Karel Capek first used the word “robot” in print in a 1920 play, a vast array of autonomous electromechanical systems have emerged from research labs, making their way onto production lines for industrial tasks, into toy stores for entertainment, and even into homes to perform simple household jobs. While the bulk of robotics research strives to make robots more useful and more capable of even greater levels of autonomy, several labs are attempting to make robotic systems much smaller. One of the most active areas of such research is medical nanorobotics, an emerging field positioned at the intersection of several sciences.

(This article appeared in CACM, vol. 52, no. 9, Sept. 2009, pp. 18-19.)

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