Nanobots Will Be Flowing Through Your Body by 2030

In 10 years, nanobots in your blood might keep you from getting sick, transmit your thoughts to a wireless cloud, and give you eternal life.
Trevor English

Futurists often claim that nanobots hold the key to eternal life. Inventor, author, and Google futurist Ray Kurzweil, in an interview with Neil deGrasse, claimed that tiny nanobots in our bloodstreams will prevent us from dying in 2030. According to Kurzweil, the nanobots will travel inside you on a molecular level, protecting your biological system and ensuring you'll have a good and long life. The future is closer than you may think!

Nanobots injected into your bloodstream

IFL Science claims that DNA robots are already being tested in animals to seek out and destroy cancer cells. These programmed strands of DNA can move through the bloodstream and inject blood-clotting drugs into blood vessels around tumors, cutting off their blood supply.

If human trials go forward, these tiny robots could be revolutionary in treating cancer and other cell research. There are still many hurdles to overcome; however, nanorobots would be able to surpass current forms of treatment before being injected.

Cancer detection and treatment is one thing, but tiny nanobots could be big players in the future of medicine for other reasons. Researchers believe that nanobots could soon deliver drugs to humans with high accuracy. This would allow for the delivery of micro dosages right where the patient needs them and could help prevent harmful side effects.

University scientists also believe that nanobots could one day be used to reduce plaque in veins and solve dietary issues, along with a slew of other medical uses. Beyond simple medicine, nanobots could allow humans to reach more excellent connectivity.

In research published in ScienceMag, scientists with the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School stated:

"As a proof of principle, nanorobots loaded with combinations of antibody fragments were used in two different types of cell-signaling stimulation in tissue culture. Our prototype could inspire new designs with different selectivities and biologically active payloads for cell-targeting tasks."

Theoretically, a nanobot could one day be used to constantly monitor our body for maladies and other symptoms, transmitting this information to a cloud for close monitoring by medical staff. This could turn the common cold or related conditions into easily stoppable problems.

The idea that nanobots could one day transmit our thoughts to the cloud is probably the most far-fetched of the many proposed uses for nanobots out there. This feat would require great strides in neuroscience and nanorobotics and a population willing to give Google direct access to our brains. While possible, this functionality is probably a long way off in the future.

Taking a step back for a moment, let's discuss what nanotechnology is. 

What is nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology is more than just technology for sci-fi villains. It is a burgeoning field melding engineering and science. 

Nanorobotics refers to the emerging field of designing and building robots whose components are near the scale of a nanometer ((10−9 meters) or ranging in size from 0.1 to 10 micrometers and made of nanoscale or molecular components.

Nanobots Will Be Flowing Through Your Body by 2030
A scale of nanotechnology matched up with other understandable objects. Source: Wikimedia/Sureshbup

For comparison, one nanometer is about 10 times the size of a single atom and 10 times smaller than the width of your DNA.

Where nanotechnology began

Nanotechnology has been around for some time too. Some point to the field beginning with Nobel-laureate Richard Feynman, who gave a talk called "There's Plenty of room at the Bottom" to a group of physicists at the American Physical Society meeting at Caltech in 1959. 

Feynman, who is often referred to as the father of nanotechnology, described a theoretical process in his talk that would allow researchers to be able to manipulate singular atoms or singular molecules. This process, which wasn't invented yet, would eventually become the core application of nanoscience.

It wasn't until 1981 that microscopes were developed that could even see individual atoms. These early scanning tunnelling microscopes achieved precision and magnification that hadn't been seen before. By allowing researchers to image individual atoms, they boosted the idea that nanotechnology was possible. 

Nanotechnology and the future

Based on all of this, a host of very real challenges are still ahead of us, and before we can start using nanorobots, additional development is necessary. 

Some researchers predict that it will take around 10 years to surmount these challenges and to begin using nanobots for some types of surgery. However, others are unsure this is the best use of limited healthcare money. Robot-assisted surgery is already more expensive than traditional methods, and nanorobotics is likely equally expensive - at least in the short to medium term.

As for Kurzweil, he is convinced that nanotechnology holds out the promise of someday merging humans and technology. In 2019, he told Engadget:

"The scenario that I have is that we will send medical nanorobots into our bloodstream. One application of these medical nanorobots will be to extend our immune systems. ... These robots will also go into the brain and provide virtual and augmented reality from within the nervous system rather than from devices attached to the outside of our bodies. The most important application of the medical nanorobots is that we will connect the top layers of our neocortex to synthetic neocortex in the cloud."