New Nanomedicine Writing from Robert Freitas

Robert Freitas published a major new theory paper on aspects of medical nanorobot control, providing an early glimpse of future discussions of this topic that are planned to appear in Chapter 12 (Nanorobot Control) of Nanomedicine, Vol. IIB: Systems and Operations, the third volume of the Nanomedicine book series (still in preparation).

The paper is part of an edited book collection on bio-inspired nanoscale computing that was published about a week ago by Wiley.

Robert Freitas contributed the 15th chapter:

Robert A. Freitas Jr., “Chapter 15. Computational Tasks in Medical Nanorobotics,” in M.M. Eshaghian-Wilner, ed., Bio-inspired and Nano-scale Integrated Computing, John Wiley & Sons, New York, 2009, pp. 391-428.

The chapter is about 5.2 MB in size and a draft preprint version may be downloaded from the nanomedicine website:

Nanomedicine is the application of nanotechnology to medicine: the preservation
and improvement of human health, using molecular tools and molecular knowledge
of the human body. Medical nanorobotics is the most powerful form of
future nanomedicine technology. Nanorobots may be constructed of diamondoid
nanometer-scale parts and mechanical subsystems including onboard sensors,
motors, manipulators, power plants, and molecular computers. The presence of
onboard nanocomputers would allow in vivo medical nanorobots to perform
numerous complex behaviors which must be conditionally executed on at least a
semiautonomous basis, guided by receipt of local sensor data and constrained by
preprogrammed settings, activity scripts, and event clocking, and further limited
by a variety of simultaneously executing real-time control protocols. Such
nanorobots cannot yet be manufactured in 2007 but preliminary scaling studies
for several classes of medical nanorobots have been published in the literature.
These designs are reviewed with an emphasis on the basic computational tasks
required in each case, and a summation of the various major computational
control functions common to all complex medical nanorobots is extracted from
these design examples. Finally, we introduce the concept of nanorobot control
protocols which are required to ensure that each nanorobot fully completes its
intended mission accurately, safely, and in a timely manner according to plan. Six
major classes of nanorobot control protocols have been identified and include
operational, biocompatibility, theater, safety, security, and group protocols. Six
important subclasses of theater protocols include locational, functional, situational, phenotypic, temporal, and identity control protocols.

Robert Freitas’ nanomedicine books remain freely available online at, with links to MNT-based medical nanorobot designs at