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September 17, 2001






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However, achieving this requires very small machines, which implies that the parts produced will also be small. Combining sub-micron parts into kilogram-scale machines will not be trivial. In Engines of Creation (1986), Drexler suggested that large products could be built by self-contained micron-scale "assembler" units that would combine into a scaffold, take raw materials and fuel from a special fluid, build the product around themselves, and then exit the product, presumably filling in the holes as they left...
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This would require a lot of functionality to be designed into each assembler, and a lot of software to be written. In Nanosystems (1992), Drexler developed a simpler idea: convergent assembly. Molecular parts would be fabricated by mechanosynthesis, then placed on assembly lines, where they would be combined into small assemblages...
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