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

"Looking back through history, I see no evidence for humanity making the best of things, and I think it's a pretty safe bet that's an on-going trend."
- Richard Morgan

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!

Articles related to Engineering
Turing's Nose - Was That Scent Real Or Artificial?
Cost Effective Smart Windows To Replace Curtains?
Autonomous Tractor Harvest-Ready
AgileQuad Object Avoidance Drone

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

SuperMeat - Crowdfunding Pohl/Kornbluth's Chicken Little
'Chicken Little, who would be sliced and packed to feed people from Baffinland to Little America.'

Martian-Grown Food Might Be Fine
'I donít want to come off as arrogant here, but Iím the best botanist on the planet.'

MARLO Robot Attempts Wave Field
'It is apparent that he will walk before his human brother.'

3RDiTEK Lifeblogging Headband Camera
'It's logging anyway - everything you see on duty goes into the black box.'

3D-Printed Biohybrid Is A Tissue-Engineered Robot
'The directing neurological tissue that forms the basis of the swibble is alive...'

Steerable Locusts Detect Explosives
Science fiction writers again provide a blueprint for the future.

No Human Drivers By 2040 - Israel
'It's been a criminal offense,,, to drive manually on a public highway.'

Graphene Ultracapacitor Airships For Heavy Lifting
'The war-balloons were to be kept for purposes of transportation of heavy articles...'

Uber Hires Robot Security Guard
'The robot studied the identification clip.'

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.