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Home > Introduction > Possible Futures > Utility Fog

Utility Fog

Last Updated: Saturday, 27-Jun-2009 22:35:48 PDT

Utility Fog: (AKA: Polymorphic Smart Materials) Objects formed of "intelligent" polymorphic (able to change shape) substances, typically having an octet truss structure. Concept concieved and Graphics Copyright Dr. J. Storrs Hall. Click images for larger version.

Single Foglet
utility foglet
Foglets Holding Hands
utility foglets holding hands

Nanotechnology is based on the concept of tiny, self-replicating robots. The Utility Fog is a very simple extension of the idea: Suppose, instead of building the object you want atom by atom , the tiny robots linked their arms together to form a solid mass in the shape of the object you wanted? Then, when you got tired of that avant-garde coffeetable, the robots could simply shift around a little and you'd have an elegant Queen Anne piece instead.

Here's a short list of the powers you'd have or appear to have if embedded in fog:
  • Creation--causing objects to appear and disappear on command.
  • Levitation--causing objects to hover and fly around.
  • Manipulation--causing forces (squeezing, hitting, pulling) on objects (real ones) at a distance.
  • Teleportation--nearly any combination of telepresence and virtual reality between fog-filled locations

Utility Fog: The Stuff that Dreams Are Made Of By J. Storrs Hall. He discusses the technical details and feasibility of how a swarm of nanobots ("Foglets") that can take the shape of virtually anything. Also covered are some of the possibilities.

"Imagine a microscopic robot. It has a body about the size of a human cell and 12 arms sticking out in all directions. A bucketfull of such robots might form a 'robot crystal' by linking their arms up into a lattice structure. Now take a room, with people, furniture, and other objects in it -- it's still mostly empty air. Fill the air completely full of robots. The robots are called Foglets and the substance they form is Utility Fog, which may have many useful medical applications. And when a number of utility foglets hold hands with their neighbors, they form a reconfigurable array of 'smart matter.'" Dr. J. Storrs Hall Research Fellow of the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing.

Other articles referring to Utility Fog:

On Certain Aspects of Utility Fog Dr. J. Storrs Hall

Utility Fog: A Universal Physical Substance Dr. J. Storrs Hall

Utility Fog Valerie Brownrigg

Nanotech Utility Fog Wintermute

Nanotechnology and smart materials By Bill Spence

Future Visions / Nanotech What I want to be when I grow up, is a cloud, by J. Storrs Hall

OK, more fun with UFog Daniel Ichbiah and Pascal Rosier

U Fog John Pierce

Utility Fog The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of

The Heart of the (Programmable) Matter Wil McCarthy, SciFi.com

Shrinking Micromachines A new generation of tools will make molecule-size machines a reality. Jim Wilson, Popular Mechanics.

Smart and Super Materials Bill Spence, NanoTechnology Magazine

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