Repairman in a can? - ROM, 15/Jul/04

For a long while after the arrival of nanotech there will be legacy equipment that people will want to use. Yes, there may well be more efficient alternatives, but, these will be familiar.

These will include white goods such as fridges, cookers and washing machines.

Now, we are often told that these days that there is no point in repairing these, just junk them and get a new one; cost of replacement is frequently comparable to cost of repair.

This is a terrible waste of resources, as many parts of these devices are likely to be quite servicable, and the waste involved, including transport costs, even if these parts are all recycled, seems quite horrendous.

Nanotech would seem an ideal way of doing on-the-spot repairs.

If we assume that you buy a "can of nanobots", which includes all the resources needed to power and control them, and materials to do a wide range of common repairs, would this be a good idea?

The nanobots would ideally have a full spec of the item they are to repair, and the standard repair process; if they don't, could they explore the item and determine what it was like originally, and what needs to be done to repair it?

Would the nanobots all return to the can, carrying back any that broke down on the job, as well as any materials that should not be in the repaired item, so as to do a proper clean up?

Could the can consult the Internet, or whatever, to get the manufacturers spec of the item to be repaired?

Might a single can be good for a number of repairs?

The model used here is that until a good understanding is developed of the interaction of nanotech and the environment, a good initial approach is to leave any area in which nanotech is used "nano clean" afterwards.

In particular, any active nanotech doesn't leave any even potentially active nanotech behind.

(c) Rory O. McLean, 1980 - Feb. 2006
    Permission granted to use for non-profit making purposes