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

"Every scientist worth his salt that I know of has read science fiction."
- Greg Bear

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
  - Swarming Intelligent Aquatic Surface Robots Ahoy!
  - Swarm Of Mindless Robots Works Together

Articles related to Engineering
Helios Modular Touch Screen Wall Lights
Harvest Water From Air With Sunlight
Better Than Dune Chromoplastic? This Guy Might Have Done It
Gather, An AI Warehouse Inventory Drone Startup

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

Entire Planet Modeled In New MS Flight Sim
'CIC uses [it] to keep track of every bit of spatial information that it owns...'

FlyZoo Robot Hotel By Alibaba
'... hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Implanted Memories Provide Songs To Birds
Finches can't tell the difference.

Robot Tuna Swims As Fast As Nature's Tuna
'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.'

Shapeshifter Robot Is Comprised Of Cobots
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed. For an interval, the device struggled with itself...'

Google Commits To Fighting Deepfakes
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'

China Accused Of Harvesting Organs From Unwanted Groups
'The death penalty was his immortality, and he would vote the death penalty for any crime at all.'

Osmiridium Sounds Like Science Fiction (But It's Not!)
I can't resist science-fictional elements. Especially when they're real.

When Will We See The First Space Hotel?
'The heart of it was a vast hexagonal structure of welded metal, ten miles across...'

SpaceX Starhopper Has Flash Gordon Style
SpaceX makes retro cool spacecraft.

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.