Nanomedicine, Volume I: Basic Capabilities

© 1999 Robert A. Freitas Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Robert A. Freitas Jr., Nanomedicine, Volume I: Basic Capabilities, Landes Bioscience, Georgetown, TX, 1999


4.1 Nanosensor Technology

Medical nanorobots need to acquire information from their environment to properly execute their assigned tasks. Such acquisition is achieved using onboard nanoscale sensors, or nanosensors, of various types. Nanosensors allow for medical nanodevices to monitor environmental states at three different operational levels:

1. Internal nanorobot states,

2. Local and global somatic states (inside the human body), and

3. Extrasomatic states (sensory data originating outside the human body).

The general physical limits to sensory perception are reviewed by Block810 and Bialek.811

The specific nanosensor technologies required include sensors to detect chemical substances (Section 4.2), displacement and motion (Section 4.3), force and mass (Section 4.4), and acoustic (Section 4.5), thermal (Section 4.6), and electromagnetic (Section 4.7) stimuli. Typical sensor device mass, volume, and sensitivity limits are summarized in each Section. In vivo bioscanning is briefly described in Section 4.8, followed by external macrosensing in Section 4.9. Methods of getting sensors in and out of the body are explained in Chapter 16, and methods of getting sensor information out of the body are described in Chapter 7. A discussion of sensor biocompatibility is deferred to Chapter 15.3234


Last updated on 16 April 2004