Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"The thing that I'm most interested in at the moment is the so-called Infinite Energy solution - the possibility of finding new ways of tapping into virtually limitless sources of energy."
- Arthur C. Clarke

Nanomachine Swarm (Black Cloud)  
  A cloud of tiny machines, able to work together autonomously.  

A huge black cloud seems to attack an airship. The ship's sensors report that the cloud seems to be made of iron. How could such a thing exist?

"What is the nature of this cloud? What is your opinion?" he asked without any introductory remarks.

"It is made up of tiny metal particles. A remote-controlled emulsion, as it were, with uniform center," answered Jazon.

Further speculation is made upon the gathering of additional evidence.

"Two types of systems were successful in this evolutionary pattern: first, those that made the greatest progress in miniaturization and then those that became settled in a definite place. The first type were the beginning of these 'black clouds.' I believe them to be very tiny pseudo insects that, if necessary, and for their common good, can unite to form a superordinate system. This is the course taken by the evolution of the mobile mechanisms."
From The Invincible, by Stanislaw Lem.
Published by Poland in 1954
Additional resources -

It is difficult to believe that a large mass of machines can operate without a central command mechanism:

"...do you believe, then, that the clouds have some kind of command center at either the surface or the interior of this planet?"

"No, I don't think it's anything like that. It could be that these microorganisms themselves form such a center when they combine in a certain manner - a kind of inanimate brain. They exist in loose swarms, which permits them to be constantly exposed to the sunlight, or even to chase after thunderclouds, for they probably obtain energy from these atmospheric discharges."

The earliest take on this idea that I know about is the living metal cubes from the 1920 story The Metal Monster by Abraham Merritt.

See a more structured version of this idea, the Robot Cells (Crystal-Shaped Modules) from work by Michael P. Kube-McDowell.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Invincible
  More Ideas and Technology by Stanislaw Lem
  Tech news articles related to The Invincible
  Tech news articles related to works by Stanislaw Lem

Nanomachine Swarm (Black Cloud)-related news articles:
  - Swarm-Bots Take Small Children Away
  - Smart Dew Sensor Monitoring
  - Nanowire Transistors For Smallest Computers
  - Directing Microrobot Swarms
  - Robot Swarm Obeys Commands

Articles related to Engineering
3D Printed Spherical Flying Machine
Nanotech Used To Create Custom Water Filters In Tanzania
Google Project Soli - Control Devices With A Gesture
NASA's Subvocal Speech System

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Robots Take Our Jobs By Reading Our Instructions
'The Talk Between Robots radio...'

Surgery In Space
' It was a ... coffin, form-fitted to Nessus himself...'

Flimmer Navy Drone Flies And Swims
Launch the Flying Sub!

Taser Drones Now Legal In North Dakota
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...'

Growing Metal In The Shape You Want
What more do you need, engineers?

Self-Healing Materials For Spacecraft
'It even had an inter-skin layer of gum that sealed the punctures...'

World's First Full-Colour, Flexible Thin-Film Reflective Display
'A wide sheet of clear material suddenly flared with light and swirling colour....'

Jazz AI Compliments Of DARPA
'I request that you feed the correlation between those dots and the levers of the panel into my memory banks.'

Tasty Space Lettuce!
Having tested, we tasted.

See LG OLED Wallpaper - Amazing Video
'... television that unrolled like a poster.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.