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Discussions on Nanotechnology

Once again, this is a set of letters from Arcana, and from a DeM discussion that took place a few weeks ago. It was sparked by...... well, something obviously game-related...... But Hobbes and Nathan are both majoring in related fields (medical and biology respectively, I think), and as you can see by looking through my page, Arcana knows quite a bit about technical sciences - or so it seems to me. I'm a dunce when it comes to these subjects, personally. ^^ He's going to be an engineer though, so...... here you have it, from people who should know what they're talking about. ^_~

Beware - this is a long page, and it might get longer! But I think you'll all find it interesting...... ^_^

(From Arcana)

I think of Nanomachines being run with.. (grabs Chem textbook) ...adenosine triphosphate. When light energy is trapped, it is converted to chemical energy in the form of ATP... ATP can be further broken into ADP, Phosphorus, and energy... nanomachines would run on this energy.

(Close enough. Through carbon bonding, etc. ADP has a phosphate added to get ATP. Then, when the cell wants to use it, the ATP is reduced to ADP+P+energy. All living cells run off of this, and it is VERY efficient,compared to human-built machines. -- Lord Bob)

Unfortunately, doing this would mean that Nanomachines are biological devices, as this is the reaction that plants undergo when they experience photosynthesis, and nanomachines are MACHINES, not plants....to create glucose (a sugar, also a source of energy), you would require CO2 and H2O. I suppose it could work for SOME nanomachines... they're require sunlight, air, and water to run, though. Another explanation may be that with humans, nanomachines are powered the same way that the human body is.... by taking sugars from the blood.

Elly, in the game, had her arm reconstructed by nanomachines. They can operate similarly to the way a regular animal cell would work... with exchange of materials and energy. This could also be applied to Emeralda. As for gears, I'd personally like to keep gears away from nanomachines as much as possible because it's not physically viable. Basically, ifwe can't bull our way through it, we shouldn't have it done ^_^. Gears have a fuel source, but nanomachines, built to resemble an animal (or plant) cell, wouldn't be able to run on fuel. There is no bloodstream to run on either. (you DO realise that a fusion gear like Seibzehn would require air and water so that the Brain inside would be able to continue functioning). I would say that the last resort would be to say that gear-nanomachines are plant-based. To "charge them", you would require sunlight and water(or direct injection of sugars).

NOTE: this would make most gear Nanomachines appear green. See, Emeralda's hair isn't green for no reason ^_^ Anyway, once the energy runs out, in a biological organism, the organism would start to "eject" useless cells.... i.e., kill them off. In the case of nanomachines, we can say that they will simply shut themselves down. Only the most advanced of nanomachines can replicate on their own....even in the game, nanomachines didn't just "re-create" themselves on the fly... for instance, Taurus Melchoir could only create nanomachines using a huge tube.... and Crescens' nanomachines would only support Emeralda from dying, and they wouldn't keep the gear itself alive. With someone like Irina, the genetic code would allow her nanomachines to maintain her current cell count if some happen to die out, but she wouldnot be able to create any more. It would be safe to say that nanomachines are not JUST machines, but they are combination of biological material and mechanical/electrical parts. Irina has a genetic code... that cannot be replicated by a computer.


1) If nanomachines are on a human being, they are powered by that person's boodstream. That means if you don't eat, your nanomachines are going to stop working.

2) If nanomachines are on a gear, they are powered either by photosynthesis... the nanomachines on a gear act as plant cells that "feed themselves" in sunlight, water, and air. If they cannot feed themselves (i.e., power runs out), then they will shut down.

3) Nanomachine colonys are fed similar to a human being... for therewould be "nanomachine blood", et cetera. The genetic code does not allow the nanomachines to reproduce. In fact, in a nanomachine colony, the machines are a combination of biological and metallic parts: the genetic code, for example, is biological, and not replicated by a computer or electrical pulses.

There's one suggestion.... someone who knows more about biology might want to say something here. I took a low-level biology course, so you shouldn't trust all I say on this topic.

(From Hobbes)

I agree with Arcana's statement about nanomachines being a combination of biological and mechanical materials. I tend to view nanomachines as this "supercell" that is comprised of both biological materials, as well as computer chips or a living computer within a cell. I don't know if anybody watches DragonBall Z, but in the movie where Gokou and everyone fights metallic Kooler, Kooler was made from a chip that would just reproduce using Kooler's leftover biological body parts and metallic substances. That's just how I see it.

In the case of Elly and Fei, they had nanomachines injected into them. However, the nanomachine DNA, its genetic material, has to be different from Elly and Fei's DNA, unless Taurus was able to manipulate and genetically alter the nanomachines so that it would match the receipients.

This idea of the nanomachines was unclear, and I don't think was ever explained in the game. But let's just say that nanomachines can genetically be altered with a specifically sequenced DNA strand that would match the recipients DNA. That way, the normal human cells and the nanomachines can interact without any problems. So it was easy for the injected nanomachines to reproduce themselves and reconstruct a body part because they were human to begin with, and they had their own cells and genetic code, but it could only be controlled through a nanomachine reactor tube. Without the reactor, the reproduction would be uncontrollable, as the human brain would not be be able to direct a nanomachine. That's all good for humans with nanomachines surgically planted in them, but what about complete organisms made out of just nanomachines, like Ariath, or Emeralda/Irina?

Now all biological cells, in order to live, require a fuel source, being glucose. But since nanomachines are also half machines, they need more than just glucose. I would think they need metallic ions, probably an abundant source, to sustain growth and repair. The glucose would only allow the production of ATP so that the biological half of a the nanomachine "cell" can survive. But I think a nanomachine colony would require things rich in iron, calcium, and other metallic ions in order for their metallic halves to live. This being true, nanomachine colonies must be able to reproduce themselves, or the entire organism would die. And being nanomachines, kinda of like controlled cancer cells if you will...they can reproduce themselves abundantly at will, because everything is controlled by a central computer, it being the nanomachine "brain". That would explain Emeralda's ability to morph her body, in a controlled fashion. It would also require instantaneous degradation of the nanomachines, to return the body to normal.

All this, of course, can only be done and controlled in a complete nanomachine organism, for a human would lack the central brain to control it. And the nanomachines would still require the same type of fuel (glucose) as a human would, but their diet would be quite different, as they would eat only half as much as a human, and intake minerals in a different manner. (My idea is, that nanomachines are so advanced, that their cell membranes are selectively permeable at will, that is they can just absorb the materials they need through the skin.)

The biggest problem would be the gears. I don't know, but I thought gears were able to take on the abilities of their pilots. Like Gears would magnify the ether abilities of the pilots, and the gear mobility (well I guess just the techniques) are performed because of the pilot's ability. Not anyone was able to pilot Weltall, but Fei seemed to be the perfect fit. So a gear that was piloted by a nanomachine organism, strange as it would be, would be able to magnify the "morphing" abilities of the pilots. I guess this would require some sort of fusion between pilot and gear. The Gear itself would not be made of nanomachines, but when a pilot like Emeralda or Ariath gets on, their bodies would merge with the Gear, the nanomachines would begin their erratic reproduction and take over the Gear.

(From Nathan)

Well I might as well throw in my two cents here. I have studied biochemistry as a hobby, so I feel I can add some thought here.

First I will have to go on the agreement that nanomachines are both mechanical and biological, in a sense. To tell all of you the truth science to day has the ability to make nanomachines, our only problem is that we can not make them small enough. Nanomachines in real life are just that machines, little robots. They are no more than that, sense they are used only for repair work. Just as we program a robot to act, a nanomachine is programed to function the same way. But for sake of argument we can saw they contain DNA in them, you will see later why just a plain machine is better.

But now we come to the reproduction problem. I see no reason that they could not reproduce, but not as humans or animals. Nanomachines create other nanomachines period. Each nanomachine is given a specific task to perform and for some it would be to make new ones and to copy the DNA/program so that the new one will know its function. They would use materials within the body, so special nano-colony people would have the necessary materials available. Thus making normal people have to find a way of getting the correct materials. I could see some arguments to this but it is much more sound then what I have seen so far and is close to the real way it is done. The nanomachines would have a central area, or brain, that lets the machines know when to do their thing. This would be run by the nervous system or the person. The chemical reactions would trigger certain parts of the "brain" to have the machines perform their function.

Ok, now I come to the part were we have no real life example to work off of, the gears. Hobbes, your idea that the pilot bonds with/is integrated into the gear reminds me of an anime, Neon Genesis Evangelion. The whole idea of sync ratio is what I see here. But that does not allow for the gear to perform the functions of the pilot. Lets say Shinji could use chi, Unit One would not be able to, because even though there is a link with, physical & mental, pilot it is still a separate entity. So how do we solve this? Well if nanomachines are just machines, then they could run through the circuitry of the gear, just like the bloodstream of a human, thus enabling the gear to perform the functions, or close to, the abilities of the pilot. Now you are probably wondering, but you said that nanos were both DNA and machines, so how would that work?

Simple really - the "brain" device would still function as in the human, the only difference is keeping the DNA alive. Well cells have a little organelle called a mitochondria in them that supplies all energy for the cell. The energy comes from food for humans. But gears do not eat. No they don't, but they have a power supply. See what I am saying here? The mitochondria feeds off the power supply of the gear to keep the cell alive. That is that. Now the gears have a somewhat similar abilities to the pilot and the nanos can function and reproduce just like in the human.

Well this was my ramble on the whole subject. I base all my ideas off of current biochem. and biotech. research. I know some is still a little foggy, but maybe we can find a middle ground between reality and fantasy. Lets hope for the best here.

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