Nanorobots in a Utility Fog - dummies

By Earl Boysen, Nancy C. Muir, Desiree Dudley, Christine Peterson

Nanotechnology scientist, J Storrs Hall, designed a nanorobot that could work with other nanorobots to create just about anything. Because they are so useful, many nanotechnologists call them utility nanorobots, but Hall preferred the name foglet.

In Hall’s vision, foglets will join in something called a utility fog that could be programmed to make an object appear however you like.

For example, you might have a utility fog that forms a hardwood floor, but if you have the urge one day to have a tile floor, they’d shift and become ceramic tile. Utility fogs could also form films, allowing the painted surface of your walls to change color at your whim.

Each utility nanorobot has an antenna arm that you can adjust to reflect and absorb different wavelengths of visible light. If you want an object to be a different color, the nanorobots making up an object adjust their antenna arms to change the color and reflectivity of the object.

Although still only a glimmer in scientists’ eyes, the concept of utility nanorobots and utility fog could become a reality someday, allowing you to buy one car and yet have a new model every day, or decorate your house in Craftsman style this week and mid-century modern the next. Now that’s a useful little utility!

A 12-arm nanorobot which, in swarms, could join to build virtually anything. [Credit: Courtesy of J
Credit: Courtesy of J. Storrs Hall
A 12-arm nanorobot which, in swarms, could join to build virtually anything.