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March 25th, 2004

Why the feds fear nanobots

Last December, President Bush signed a bill - the 21st-Century Nanotech Research and Development Act - that will provide $3.7 billion to nanotechnology projects over four years. But the legislation seems to be getting more attention for what it does not fund than for what it does. In particular, it fails to fund a study examining the feasibility of "nanobots" - molecule-size robotic devices that would position atoms and molecules to build complex substances and products from the bottom up in a process called molecular manufacturing. (see Omission in the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act for details.)


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