NANOBOTS: THE ARTIFICIAL BLOOD [pic] AUTHOR: S. KALAIYARASAN M. Kumarasamy College of Engineering, Karur A. MATHIYAZHAGAN M. Kumarasamy College of Engineering, Karur Contact: +91-9789543609 Email ID: [email protected] com [pic] INTRODUCTION Robert A. Freitas Jr. visualizes a future “vasculoid” (vascular-like machine) that would replace human blood with some 500 trillion nanorobots distributed throughout the body’s vasculature as a coating.
It could eradicate heart disease, stroke, and other vascular problems; remove parasites, bacteria, viruses, and metastasizing cancer cells to limit the spread of blood borne disease; move lymphocytes faster to improve immune response; reduce susceptibility to chemical, biochemical, and parasitic poisons; improve physical endurance and stamina; and partially protect from various accidents and other physical harm. With the availability of mature molecular nanotechnology we could replace blood with a single complex robot.
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This robot would duplicate all essential thermal and biochemical transport functions of the blood, including circulation of respiratory gases, glucose, hormones, cytokines, waste products, and all necessary cellular components. The device would conform to the shape of existing blood vessels. Ideally, it would replace natural blood so thoroughly that the rest of the body would remain, essentially unaffected. It is, in effect, a mechanically engineered redesign of the human circulatory system that attempts to integrate itself as an intimate personal appliance with minimal adaptation on the part of the host human body.
Molecular nanotechnology has been defined as the three-dimensional positional control of molecular structure to create materials and devices to molecular precision. The human body is comprised of molecules; hence the availability of molecular nanotechnology will permit dramatic progress in human medical services. Nanomedicine will employ molecular machine systems to address medical problems, and will use molecular knowledge to maintain and improve human health at the molecular scale.
Nanobots will have extraordinary and far-reaching implications for the medical profession, for the definition of disease, for the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions including aging, and ultimately for the improvement and extension of natural human biological structure and function. “Nanomedicine is the preservation and improvement of human health using molecular tools and molecular knowledge of the human body. ” RESPIROCYTES The artificial respirocyte is a hollow, spherical Nano medical device 1 micron in diameter.
The respirocyte is built of 18 billion precisely arranged structural atoms, and holds an additional 9 billion molecules when it is fully loaded. Respirocytes are Nano machines, tiny mechanical devices designed to operate on the molecular level. Respirocytes function as artificial red blood cells, carrying oxygen and carbon dioxide molecules through the body. There are three main storage tanks – one for oxygen, another for carbon dioxide and a third for ballast water.
An onboard chemo mechanical turbine or fuel cell generates power by combining glucose drawn from the bloodstream and oxygen drawn from internal storage. This is converted to mechanical power which drives molecular sorting rotors and other subsystems, as demonstrated in principle by a variety of biological motor systems such as bacteria flagella. [pic] Each power plant develops 0. 3 Pico watts of power. That’s enough energy to fill the oxygen tank in 10 seconds from empty; a pumping rate of 100 million molecules/sec .
Power is transmitted mechanically or hydraulically using an appropriate working fluid. Power is distributed with sliding rods and gear trains, or using pipes and mechanically operated valves, and is controlled by the computer. An onboard computer is necessary for precise control of respiratory gas loading and unloading, rotor field and ballast tank management, power plant throttling, power distribution, interpretation of sensor data and commands received from the outside, self-diagnosis and activation of failsafe shutdown protocols, and ongoing revision or correction of protocols in vivo.
A 10,000 bit/sec computer can probably meet all computational requirements. [pic] Tank Chamber Design Each storage tank is constructed of diamondoid honeycomb or a geodesic grid skeletal framework for maximum strength. Thick diamond bulkheads separate internal tankage volumes. Available structural mass is equivalent to a 10-nm thick (~60 carbon atoms) 2. 2 micron x 2. 2 micron diamond sheet, enough material for 1000 compartments ~(40 nm)3 in size for all tanks.
Compartment walls are perforated with sufficient holes of varying sizes to allow gas to flow easily between them, with larger compartments nearest the rotors graduating to smaller compartments more distant from the rotors to encourage isobaric entrainment. The present design includes separate O2 and CO2 chambers. In theory, these gases could be stored mixed in a single chamber. A single chamber design can effectively double the O2-carrying capacity of each respirocyte by allowing the entire gas tank volume to be initially charged with oxygen at 1000 atm.
There are four minor drawbacks to this approach: (1) Respiration is controlled by CO2, not O2, levels, requiring maintenance of sizable CO2 inventories at all times, reducing surplus volume available for O2 storage; (2) respirocytes may be deployed to reverse serious tissue CO2 overloading, requiring significant available storage volume to absorb this gas; (3) the rate of binding for outbound transport by sorting rotors may be lower for mixed gases, reducing maximum outgassing rate; and (4) inability to emergency vent pure gas. HOW DO THEY WORK?
The average male human body has 28. 5 trillion red blood cells, each containing 270 million hemoglobin molecules binding four O2 molecules per hemoglobin. However, since hemoglobin normally operates between 95% saturation (arterial) and 70% saturation (venous), only 25% of stored oxygen is accessible to the tissues. Respirocytes destroying bacteria By contrast, each respirocyte stores up to 1. 51 billion oxygen molecules, 100% of which are accessible to the tissues. To fully duplicate human blood active capacity, we have to deploy 5. 6 trillion devices. One therapeutic dose can duplicate natural red cell function indefinitely if the patient is breathing. It can supply all respiratory gas requirements from onboard storage alone for nearly 2 minutes for patients who are not breathing. But one of the potential benefits of Nano medical devices is their ability to extend natural human capabilities. Suppose you wanted to permanently maximize the oxygen-carrying capacity of your blood by infusing the largest possible number of respirocytes.
The maximum safe augmentation dosage is probably about 1 liter of 50% respirocyte suspension, which puts 954 trillion devices into your bloodstream. You could then hold your breath for 3. 8 hours, at the normal resting metabolic rate. ARE THEY SAFE? Respirocytes are extremely reliable. A simple analysis of likely radiation damage suggests that the average respirocyte should last about 20 years before failing. If a malfunction of power plants occurs while the respirocyte is in your bloodstream, its temperature won’t rise at all. That’s because the 7. Pico watts of continuous thermal energy, the device is generating is easily absorbed by the huge aqueous heat sink, which has a bountiful heat capacity. Each device contains up to 0. 24 micron3 of oxygen and carbon dioxide gas at 1000 atm pressure, representing 24 Pico joules of stored mechanical energy. If the device explodes in air, there is no acoustic shock wave. If the device explodes inside human tissue, then water temperature raises only by 0. 04°C. So single-device explosions are unlikely to cause embolic or other significant damage.
Collisions with respirocytes or their spinning, sorting rotors are not unlikely to cause serious physical damage to other cells in the bloodstream such as platelets, white cells, or natural red cells, nor will collisions injure blood vessel walls. Preliminary tests show that diamondoid surfaces are very biocompatible, unlikely to draw a major response from leukocytes, the immune system, or other natural body defenses. APPLICATIONS Respirocytes can provide a temporary replacement for natural blood cells in the case of an emergency.
If an individual has lost access to a natural oxygen supply due to drowning, choking, or any other form of asphyxia, respirocytes can release oxygen throughout the bloodstream until the danger has been removed. Respirocytes can also be used for other problems with gasses in the bloodstream. If one inhales carbon monoxide or other poisonous gasses, special respirocytes designed to capture those particular molecules can be used to clean the body quickly. Another useful application is in deep sea diving.
If a diver surfaces too quickly, he or she often suffers from the “bends”, a problem caused by dissolved nitrogen bubbles in the bloodstream. Respirocytes could be designed to capture nitrogen molecules during dives. Respirocytes could be employed as a long-duration perfusant to preserve living tissue, especially at low temperature, for grafts (kidney, marrow, liver and skin) and for organ transplantation. Respirocytes could also be used as a complete or partial symptomatic treatment for virtually all forms of anemia.
Respirocytes would help treat a wide variety of lung diseases and conditions ranging in severity from hay fever, asthma and snoring to tetanus, pneumonia and polio. The devices could also contribute to the success of certain extremely aggressive cardiovascular and neurovascular procedures, tumor therapies and diagnostics. Then there is the “Nano lung. ” An interesting design alternative to augmentation infusions is a therapeutic population of respirocytes that loads and unloads at an artificial Nano lung, a diamondoid pressure tank.
The aerobots in this scene are used in the lungs for detection of pathogens, medical treatment, and cell repair. In scene one, the aerobot’s wings are extended. In two, the wings are retracted implanted in the chest, which exchanges gases directly with the natural lungs or with an external gas supply such as an air hoses. A less-conservative Nano lung design could allow you to survive for up to 5 days without drawing a breath. Respirocytes can deliver oxygen to muscle tissue faster than the lungs can provide, for the duration of the sporting event.
Indeed, our baseline respirocyte can deliver 236 times more oxygen to the tissues per unit volume than natural red cells, and enjoys a similar advantage in carbon dioxide transport. Artificial blood substitutes may also have wide use in veterinary medicine, especially in cases of vehicular trauma and kidney failure where transfusions are required, and in battlefield applications demanding blood replacement or personnel performance enhancement. CONCLUSION Within the next twenty years nanotechnology will advance greatly, and may be fully capable of producing tiny complex machines.
The development of Nano devices that assemble other Nano machines will allow for massive cheap production. Thus respirocytes could be manufactured economically and abundantly. The ability to build products by molecular manufacturing would create a radical improvement in the manufacture of technologically advanced products. Everything from computers to weapons to consumer goods, and even desktop factories, would become incredibly cheap and easy to build. If this is possible, the policy implications are enormous. REFERENCES PC quest magazine (September, 2003) ( www. hybridmedicalanimation. com ( www. foresight. com ( www. nanobot. org