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"Terminator 2" Screwdriver

Works with any type of screw-head
  [vote for,

In the movie "Terminator 2", the bad guy was a machine made of many microscopic parts that could individually do things, as well 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. For the purposes of this Idea, let us assume that the tech will indeed eventually exist.

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 tip.

The software programmed into the nano-bots requires a group of them to permanently hold a shape suited for attaching to the end of the screwdriver shaft. Since nothing lasts forever, we should expect that on hopefully-rare occasions the tip of the screwdriver 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 tip is placed against a screw-head, its type can be recognized. Other nanobots now "melt" and reform to perfectly fit the slot or other 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 twisted, 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.

Vernon, Mar 10 2015


       Actually, as I recall, the T-1000 was made of liquid metal, and no explanation was given as to how it works.
21 Quest, Mar 10 2015

       Skynet was not in the habit of revealing it's technological edge.
bs0u0155, Mar 11 2015

       hmmm, [marked-for-deletion] magic
hippo, Mar 11 2015

       [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, Mar 12 2015

       [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, Mar 12 2015

       [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 mobile!)   

       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 done.   

       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- knowledgeable.
Vernon, Mar 13 2015

       <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! - problem solved.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 13 2015

       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.
hippo, Mar 13 2015

       " 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, Mar 13 2015

       [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 account.
Vernon, Mar 13 2015

       Less-than ? ;-p
normzone, Mar 13 2015


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