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


4.9 Macrosensing

Macrosensing is the detection of global somatic states (inside the human body) and extrasomatic states (sensory data originating outside the human body). While the treatment here is necessarily incomplete, the discussion nevertheless gives a good feel for the kinds of environmental variables that internally-situated nanodevices could sense. Not all capabilities outlined here need be available on every nanorobot, since injection of a cocktail of numerous distinct but mutually cooperative machine species allows designers to take full advantage of the benefits of functional specialization. In many cases, a given environmental variable can be measured by several different classes of sensor device. However, since these devices are microscopic it is in theory possible to operationalize almost all of the macrosensing capabilities described below in one patient using just a billion devices (~10 mm-3 whole-body deployment density), a total volume of ~1 mm3 of nanorobots or ~0.1% of the typical ~1 cm3 therapeutic dose1400 (Chapter 19).

A general discussion of methods for communicating macrosensory information to the human user is in Section 7.4.6, and is mentioned briefly in Section 4.9.5 below.


Last updated on 17 February 2003