Foresight Update 36

page 5

A publication of the Foresight Institute

Foresight Update 36 - Table of Contents | Page1 | Page2 | Page3 | Page4 | Page5


Web Watch.36

by Jim Lewis (mirror site in North America)

The Web site of John Walker, founder of Autodesk, Inc. and co-author of the AutoCAD industrial design software package, offers a large collection of public-domain software and documents. The documents are primarily technology-oriented, and several focus on nanotechnology:

(1) "Nanotechnology in Manufacturing" is an illustrated essay on "The Coming Revolution In Manufacturing." A less completely illustrated version has been reprinted as Foresight Briefing #3.

(2) "Nanomechanical Fusion Machines" is a brief speculative essay on how nanotechnology could enable the construction of devices to induce nuclear fusion.

Forrest Bishop's Institute of Atomic-Scale Engineering Web site is "devoted to the promotion and development of Molecular Nanotechnology." Included are essays and design proposals for shape shifting aggregates of cells ("Active Cell Aggregate" (ACA), or "Shape Shifter") that can be used in various applications, and that could be manufactured on a variety of scales, from macroscopic devices that might be manufactured with extensions of current technology, to nanoscale devices that could only be made with mature molecular nanotechnology. The nanoscale devices figure in a proposal for an assembler ("the Overtool") described in another paper on the site. Other articles describe a "proposed method of launching and communicating with microgram-class interstellar probes" and novel methods of space propulsion.

Thomas Schneider's Web site on "Molecular information theory and the theory of molecular machines" presents research papers that examine engineering limitations on molecular machines from the standpoint of Shannon's information theory. For practical examples of such molecular machines, Schneider focuses on the linear sequences of nucleotides in DNA, and on the protein molecules that bind to these sequences. A major value of this work is that it draws together important ideas from fields that usually do not interact, thus providing a "meeting ground for biologists, physicists, computer scientists and electrical engineers." Software for information analysis of protein and nucleic-acid sequences is also available on Schneider's Web site at

Offering MEMS as an intermediate technology and as a potential enabling technology for molecular nanotechnology, the "Intelligent Motion Surfaces" Web site of Peter Will and Murilo Coutinho presents work on artificial cilia. These arrays of MEMS-based, micron-scale robots can be coordinated to form a programmable surface for assembling other MEMS objects into more complex devices. The site offers illustrations and animations of the MEMS hardware, postscript files of research papers, and software that can be downloaded to simulate intelligent motion surfaces.

A couple of Web sites that are well-known to regular readers of Foresight Update and that have added pages to announce recent research breakthroughs:

The Web page "Discovery of Molecular Wheel Offers Promise for Design of Nanoscale Devices" announces the discovery by James K. Gimzewski and his co-workers that was published in Science, July 24, 1998.

As described in the cover article in this issue, Ned Seeman's lab at NYU recently announced their work on a DNA-based device. Their Web page "A DNA Nanomechanical Device Predicated on the B-Z Transition of DNA" announces the discovery by Nadrian C. Seeman and his co-workers that was published in Nature, January 14, 1999.

Brad Hein's was one of the first compilations of nanotechnology resources on the Web. It has recently been reorganized and moved from to the above URL.

The Nanotechnologies Industries site is a recent compilation of nanotechnology-related links prepared by Gina "Nanogirl" Miller. This eclectic list ranges from major research organizations to individuals who have written essays about nanotechnology.

Foresight Update 36 - Table of Contents


Upcoming Events

The Second International Conference on Integrated Micro/Nanotechnology for Space Applications: "Enabling Technologies for New Space Systems" April 11-15, 1999. The DoubleTree Hotel, Pasadena, California. Sponsored by The Aerospace Corporation, The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and the USAF Research Laboratory. Papers will be presented that highlight the development of micro/nano technologies for space systems, and the novel mission architectures enabled by the application of these new capabilities. Space systems based on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), nanoscale design and materials, low power quantum electronics, and high bandwidth photonics are of special interest, as are the demonstrations of space subsystems based on these technologies. Contacts: Dr. Timothy Krabach, phone 818.354.9654; Dr. Seymour Feuerstein, phone: 310.336.6000; Dr. Christine Anderson, phone 505.846.6243.Web:

First ELBA-Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology, April 14-16, 1999, Rome, Italy. Conference registration will take place in the evening of 14 April. It is a multidisciplinary meeting on nanotechnology and nanoscale science, with particular interest on the new experimental results, theoretical and modeling. Contact EL.B.A. Foundation, tel +39-6-35420728, fax +39-6-35451637, email Web:

Commercialization Advances in Large-Scale Production of Carbon Nanotubes, April 22-23, 1999. The Loews l'Enfant Plaza, Washington, D.C. A Forum Designed to Examine Cost-Effective Approaches to Large-Scale Manufacturing of Carbon Nanotubes. The Knowledge Foundation, Inc., 101 Merrimac, Boston, MA 02114, USA Phone: (617) 367-7979, Fax: (617) 367-7912, E-mail:; Web:

euspen: 1st Conference and General Meeting of the European Society for Precision Engineering and Nanotechnology, May 31-4 June 4, 1999, Congress Centre, Bremen, Germany. Topics include: mechanical and chemo-mechanical processes, nano fabrication processes and assembly, modelling and simulation in micro- and nanotechnology. Deadline for abstracts: October 16, 1998. euspen Conference Headquarters, Universität Bremen FB04/FB06, Badgasteiner Strasse 1, 28359 Bremen, Germany. tel ++49 (0) 421 218 74 81, fax ++49 (0) 421 218 44 55, email:

Universal Applications of Molecular Modelling, June 7-10, 1999, Marseilles, France. The aim of this meeting is to gather scientists from various domains, such as polymer science, reactivity, catalysis, biology and many more in order to demonstrate that applications of molecular modelling are universal, from chemistry to biology. Contact: Dr. Véronique Lazzeri, Faculté des Sciences de Saint-Jerôme Université d'Aix-Marseille, Av. Escadrille Normandie-Niemen - case 532, 13013 Marseille, France. Phone: 33(0) 491 288 005, Fax : 33(0) 491 581 977. Email: Web:

Surface Analysis '99, June 14-17, 1999, Country Inn Hotel & Conference Center, Waukesha, Wisconsin. 21st Annual Symposium on Applied Surface Science Analysis, sponsored by the American Vacuum Society. "Surface science, state-of-the art methods of characterization and the science and technology of metals and alloys, silicates, semiconductors, oxides, minerals, ceramics, composites, thin films, polymers and biomaterials will be presented."Conference Coordinator: Sharon Plunkett; E-mail:; Phone: 414/650-1196; Web:

Peptides for the New Millennium, June 26-July 1, 1999, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Topics include: solid-phase organic synthesis and combinatorial methods, design and folding. The 16th American Peptide Symposium, c/o University of Minnesota, P.O. Box 64780, St. Paul, MN 55164-0780. Symposium hotline: (612) 624-7505, fax: (612) 625-2207, e-mail:, Web:

13th Symposium of the Protein Society, July 24-28, 1999, Boston, MA. The deadline for abstracts (which can be submitted electronically) is March 24, 1999. To receive the Call for Abstracts or additional information, contact the Protein Symposium Office (tel 301-530-7010; fax 301-530-7014; email Web:

Seventh Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology, October 15-17, 1999 at the Westin Hotel in Santa Clara, CA. An intensive Tutorial on Foundations of Nanotechnology for Nanotechnology will be held on October 14. Enabling science and technology, computational models. Abstracts due June 4, 1999. Contact Foresight, tel 650-917-1122, fax 650-917-1123, email,

American Vacuum Society 46th International Symposium, October 25-29, 1999 at Washington State Convention Center, Seattle, Washington. Includes Nanometer-scale Science and Technology, Emerging Opportunities and Issues in Nanotubes and Nanoelectronics, The Science of Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems, and Organic Electronic Materials. Additional information:

Foresight Update 36 - Table of Contents | Page1 | Page2 | Page3 | Page4 | Page5

From Foresight Update 36, originally published 30 March 1999.