What if we took a recursive approach and built a smallest possible first robot (Robot 1) that could transfer information and data about the place it was at and could build itself in a very small size proportional to itself. I understand that it means a higher level of accuracy for this first robot (Robot 1) that its creator i.e. us. And this first robot (Robot 1) again built a robot (Say Robot 2) that was far smaller but an exact copy of the first robot (Robot 1). And then the second robot (Robot 2) built a third Robot (Robot 3) and so on. So each next level robot was tinier and higher precision than its creator.

With the tiniest robot we could make, we sent them to the mission wherein micro-sized intervention was needed. For example studying the atom structure from inside, how similar it was to our big universe etc. Plus many more applications humankind could ever imagine.

I understand though that the material used to construct such a robot and its properties will be limiting and to explore an atom we may not be able to use an atom as the building block.

However, we could possibly build a robot like this which would be small enough to explore the human body from inside.


1 Answer 1


Lost Article and Found Articles

MIT Review had an article on nanotechnology for disease eradication, DNA repair, and microsurgery in the 1990s that's probably somewhere among the thousands of entries resulting from a web search of, "MIT Review nanotechnology cell repair," or the few hundred resulting from an academic article search for the same.1 The article I can't find described a recursive nano-robot scheme like the one described in this question.

What seems plausible given the current state of technology is to find a recursive algorithm that will command a 3D printer to make a smaller 3D printer that can print a still smaller one.

Extending the Normal Meaning of Recursion

The algorithm will have to take a step in capability beyond mere recursion. It doesn't call itself. It must load itself into the machine it printed and then boot the copy of itself there. As it loads itself, at each level in size, it must parametrize its child for that geometrically reduced size for each progressive reduction. It must stop when the desired size is achieved.

Such a paradigm could be called, "Printail Recursion," from the synthesis of, "Printer," and the algorithmic principle of, "tail recursion," from the dawn of LISP.

Applying the Decorator Pattern

Once Printail Recursion works, other robotic or algorithmic features could piggy back on the appropriate components of the progressive micro-children.


[1] The later of those two may even provide some departmental contacts to open options for partnering between academic institutions, something usually compelling for research oriented students and a great catalyst for scientific collaboration among the next generation of researchers.


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