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In the movie "Terminator 2", the bad guy was a machine made
many microscopic parts that could individually do things, as
as do things in a group (like flow into different shapes). The
possibility of such a machine actually being built someday is
related to the development of nanotechnology.
of this Idea, let us assume that the tech will indeed eventually
So, now the attach-able tip of your screwdriver is made of that
special nano-material (nano-bots). The handle can contain
batteries, and the shaft can have wires feeding power to the
The software programmed into the nano-bots requires a group
them to permanently hold a shape suited for attaching to the
of the screwdriver shaft. Since nothing lasts forever, we should
expect that on hopefully-rare occasions the tip of the
would be replaced by a new one, that works just like the old
one. Advertisers, of course, would focus on the handle/shaft,
calling it "The last screwdriver you will ever buy", after getting
the rights to use the "Terminator" name, of course.
The nano-bots include sensors such that when the screwdriver
is placed against a screw-head, its type can be recognized.
nanobots now "melt" and reform to perfectly fit the slot or
indentation in the screw-head (even somewhat damaged
indentations). Then they "freeze" into a group physically
strong/tough enough that when the screwdriver handle is
the screw will rotate also. The nanobots basically are tightly
gripping the screw-slot (or other indentation). A button on the
screwdriver handle can send a signal to the tip to "let go" of the
screw when the user is done using this tool.
||Actually, as I recall, the T-1000 was made of liquid metal,
and no explanation was given as to how it works.
||Skynet was not in the habit of revealing it's technological
||hmmm, [marked-for-deletion] magic
||[hippo], nanotechnology is not magic. Remember that
Molecular Biology is, in essence, natural nanotech.
When we start making hardware, in quantity, that
approaches the size of large molecules, lots of new
possibilities will open up.
||The "melting" and "freezing" described in the main text
is actually going to be implemented in terms of tiny
units disconnecting from other units, which gives them
freedom to move, and then reconnecting after reaching
new positions (such as filling in the slot of a screw-head).
|| The strength of the physical connection between those
nanotech units will determine the degree to which such
a screwdriver will be tough enough to be useful. And
THAT is why this Idea is Half-Baked --we don't know yet
what physical-connection-strength we will have
available, when working with nanotech units.
||[Vernon], while the first tentative steps have been made in that direction, I suspect the science is still young enough to qualify for the "magic" tag.
||Also, from the help file:
||" magic - the author is using a technology they know very little about as magic. This imparts superpowers, among them the ability to always know where something is (just add GPS or RFID); the ability to make humans or animals do anything (just use Pavlovian conditioning), to make any organic matter do anything (just add genetics or, once people complain about the use of genetics as magic, "selective breeding"); to make inorganic matter do anything (just add nanobots); to quieten any sound (just add noise-cancelling technology); the ability to read minds (just make your device an implant); to levitate any number of objects from any distance (just attach magnets), and the ability to reliably measure someone's mood (just add a galvanic skin response). "
||[normzone], don't confuse science with engineering.
science is what we have that says nanotechnology is
possible (ABSOLUTELY! --since natural nanotech exists!).
Science will also have a "say" regarding certain
limitations of man-made nanotech.
||For example, a tiny device that is built to be mobile
needs more than just physical flexibility; it also needs a
power source --and the smaller a power source is, the
less time it can power something. While we have lots of
evidence that the smaller something is, the less power
it generally needs, there are STILL limits regarding how
big and long-lasting the power source can be, relative
to the attached mobile device that it empowers.
(DUH...too big, and the "mobile" device *won't* be
||Since I was aware of that, that's why I specified putting
a battery in the handle of the proposed screwdriver;
the mobile units only need enough on-board power,
after disconnecting, to move somewhat, before re-
connecting to neighbors that are getting power from the
main handle-battery. They might even disconnect,
move, reconnect, recharge, disconnect, move,
reconnect, recharge.... until the screw-indentation is
filled in with nanobots, all solidly linked together when
||The engineers will decide how many connection points
one unit can have, for connecting to other units. The
way those connection points are constructed will be as
important as the materials from which they are
constructed (a bad design can be as useless as a weak
material). But one thing we CAN do here at the
HalfBakery is assume that various designs can WORK
(regardless of how Rube-Goldbergian they are).
||In other words, I am not the average ignorant person
with respect to nanotech, and may even validly resent
the notion that an Idea can be called "magic" just
because the caller-person is one of the less-
||<slightly irrelevant> I recently had to change a
wheel, but lacked the fancy key for the locking
wheel-nut (essentially a regular wheel-nut, but with
a circular fancy head with grooves that would only
engage with the right key).
||The nice gentleman from the AA used a "universal
wheelnut key", which is basically a driver socket with
a layer of soft metal in the base. A few good whacks
with a mallet was enough to shape the soft metal to
the grooves in the wheelnut head, and - gadulka! -
||That's interesting - and, assuming these are widely available, make locking wheel-nuts pretty pointless.
I once failed to drill a wide enough pilot hole before screwing a screw into the underside of a solid Maple table-top and so, after managing to screw it in almost all the way, the
screw-head sheared off, leaving about 3-4mm of screw shaft sticking out. I managed to get the screw out by clamping a mole wrench onto the sheared-off screw with just enough pressure to slightly deform the metal (so ensuring I'd got a really good grip) and gently turning it. A mole wrench can replace a screwdriver if any of the screw is accessible to be clamped onto.
||" In other words, I am not the average ignorant person with respect to nanotech, and may even validly resent the notion that an Idea can be called "magic" just because the caller-person is one of the less- knowledgeable. "
||[Vernon], it's widely acknowledged that your ignorance is not average, no contest there.
||As for valid resentment, I'm just quoting chapter and verse at you. If you'd like the rules to change, you may appeal to higher powers.
||[normzone], I'm aware you were quoting chapter-and-
verse. And I didn't accuse you of being the one that called
this Idea "magic", as if what that person knows about
nanotechnology is more than what other people know. My
less-than-average ignorance should have been taken into