Some day I will take my hybrid car on a 20-mile drive, get out and take my hybrid bike, unfold it, put in my hybrid skate board with Segway-like software into the basket along with the back pack.  Each item is made out of carbon nanotube composites, so they are strong and light.  The deluxe model skateboard would be pricey, but the wheels slide inside, so that it becomes a skid board.  I take my hybrid bike down the bike trail on the beach and ride down to a coffee shop.  I slide my super-thin wireless device out of my wide shirt pocket and read for a while.  It is coated with solar paint to absorb and convert light of any sort into electricity.

The bike can fold up and go into the back pack, which is very light due to the ultra strong carbon composit material developed from super strong carbon nanotubes.  Jump on the skate board.  Each push recharges some of the battery which is super dense with electrons, due to the nanotube layers sandwiched into the lithium battery. The nanotubes increase the surface area and permit huge numbers of electrons to packed into fairly small battery pack.

Now there is a robot “dog” being developed that can carry over 350 lbs. There are several women in Boston
with bladders grown from their own stem cells.

Upgrade 01A; Part II, Version 1.7

(grammar, spell check, removed 'extra words' and will continue to modify)

Author: David Saxton Ullery

♣Note: Part I is here♣

Chapter UG.01A.01.00

Imagine relatively high speed boats for travel between SD, New LA, and SF California. They are automated, high speed, low cost, safe.

You get out of the electric jet boat at your destination. The battery packs generating all of the power are of the latest, high density, nanotube variety.

Sensors on the boat tell the processors the current location, other boat locations, temperature, wind, other weather conditions, wave conditions, passenger location, current mass distribution, direction, speed, acceleration rate, ….

Boats tend to line up like birds when they can to optimize on the drafting effect. They skim over the surface with pressurized air squeezed under the center of the bottom of the craft and rushes out the back.  The boats utilize group think strategies whenever they sense one or another. The typical “V” will tend to spread to account for current speed.

Jets of water scream out of the back of the boat in five huge jet thrusts. The top two mix water with the squeezed air. They kick in during the mid-trip cruise period. SF to LA in 53 minutes plus.

Fast enough and considerably cheaper than rail.

No private car parking fees either.

The bulk of the craft, including the passenger compartment, floats over a current of air as the craft’s bottom three engines get the boat up to a minimum speed.

The sleek design is heavily dependent on the newly available, ultra-strong composite materials, with very large, thin and dynamically controlled water wings that constantly adjust to stabilize the craft. They act as shock absorbers and the energy is fed back into the battery packs. The boat flies over foam of water, waves, and air.

The ride is smooth.

The extra surface area that can be created when utilizing nanometer-sized components allows for a fractal-like layering of material with air.  The choppy waves are absorbed by the unique structure, thus the passenger(s) inside do not feel the bumps.

Stand on the moving sidewalk and start walking in the fast lane on your left. Move over to the higher-speed sidewalk. Walk fast to get up to 15 mph in the fast lane of the faster walkway. It’s good to keep legs and heart and lungs active between transports.

The end of the walk approaches and
those not moved into the slow lane will step to the skid transition or simply over to the transition walk.

In the reverse direction, one is free to walk straight to the fast walk in a similar way. Slow walks have multiple exits to the sidewalk as well as multiple entrances and exits to the fast walk. You are very familiar with it and seem to enjoy transitioning effortlessly from one belt to the next, passing the slow and idle passengers on the way.

You exit the walk at the Space Tube station. Space craft are accelerated inside of a 500 mile, near vacuum tube over a magnetic rail system. They reach escape velocity in the most economical manner, with considerations for total mass and cargo. Human cargo is delicate. Water and supply cargo generally is not.

Other people continue on with some getting into high-speed, automated ground vehicles of various kinds. They automatically line up with one behind the other, and travel down a narrow, virtual road; very light weight due to carbon nanotube composites. They utilize group think networking too.

Toward the end of the rail, is another 20 miles of acceleration in a parabolic curve toward the sky. The tube narrows as the track ends. Of course, by this time you are much further south, than when you first started, and headed east, to take advantage of the extra velocity boost gained, by being closer to the equator and heading with the earth’s rotation.

Hydrogen plasma high-speed, strobe pulse engines kick in, from within the launch tube, so that mass need not be added to the ship. It is gently pushed from behind and the passenger seats adjust, to smooth the experience for the passengers. The timing is flawless and very fast, as high-powered lasers burst and instantaneously focus just below the craft, orchestrated by the sophisticated software systems in place. Tiny hydrogen jets are instantly converted to their plasma state by these focused bursts.

Powerful, and very fast bursts of electromagnetic energy is generated to provide power to both the lasers and the rail system. The lasers are switched on and off and so are the magnets lining the rails. Any function that can be provided by the tube system is, in order to lower the cost of extra mass on the craft itself.

Fresh, pure water rushes down the tube as the cooling hydrogen quickly combines with the oxygen in the newly supplied air near the end of the tube.

Massive amounts of pure water is collected at the bottom, just as the solar paint coating the outer surface of the tube assists in power regeneration by partially morphing its shape for optimization within parameters, as the craft exits.

As if all is connected in instantaneous triggers

Too fast for human minds alone to comprehend.

At the tube’s exit, the ship smoothly transitions to it’s ultra-light-weight rocket powered by highly compact nano battery packs capable of generating a modest, but constant acceleration rate for up to 31 minutes.

Passengers cannot help but feel smooth, but considerable acceleration toward the end of the tube, for about seventeen seconds, but it is nothing that a healthy body cannot easily tolerate.

The ship exits the tube where the air is thin. The rocket engine joined and linked with the craft at the last moment, at the end of the tube. There is always one waiting for passenger flights and the few freighters, mostly older (and always smaller) that utilize this tube.

They slide into place at the back of the craft much like a ring slides on a woman’s beautiful finger at a wedding. In either case, There is always much preparation and care in the planning and execution. Neither is taken lightly.

The linking mechanisms are very quick and dynamically adjust, test, and verify all seals before ignition.

Before the link, the bullet-like ship, with a concave curved back, forms a near seal in the tube, but leave a minuscule gap to avoid friction. The effect of the pulses is maximized in this way.

Most of the heavier, bigger freighters (at this facility) launch in a different, nearby, parallel tube, and are accelerated utilizing much larger amounts of a special hydrogen plasma-based fuel compound ignited by powerful, highly-focused lasers.

Your craft drifts directly to it’s destination with plenty of power to spare for any minor corrections that may take place, and for docking to the Station. It is a long flight, but it is comfortable when you can afford the better seats.

The craft is constantly in recharge mode once docked in the direct sunlight. The protective shields are lowered, the treated water shield is drained, and the solar paint is fully exposed on all usable surfaces. No need for this craft to utilize Station power today. Much of the craft had enough exposure during the flight to partially recharge, but only about 3% was recovered.

The public area on the Station is huge. There is a park with a small fresh-water lake. Water also blocks some of the cosmic rays. Filtered sea water is used for this purpose.

Wetware is used to help repair damage from DNA. Passengers casually rub the lotion in their hands before takeoff. You can even get some with aloe. Another lotion deactivates the wetware after returning to earth.

The Station rotates to provide gravitational substitution, so that bones do not deteriorate, but nanobots are available for monitoring and delivering calcium and stimulating bone growth. Better ingest a few to monitor, just in case. No harm done.

A spectrum exists: from human to cyborg to android to machine that stretches out with an array so large that the distinctions blur. Yesterday’s cyborg, with few augmentations, may as well be known as human today. People may sometimes effectively transition from one form to another and back again by transmitting their unique human patterns as digitized data streams.

Artificial ears replaced with new ears booted up from stem cells then augmented with more sensors that may selectively listen to other sounds of bees or whales or bird songs. Eyes with similar cycles are able to see beyond ordinary human spectrum. Progress continues on to provide the engine that feeds these cycles.

Global warming melts the ice. Sea water generates fusion power, supports sealife, generates power from the sun, absorbs carbon, and gives off oxygen.

Water is easily purified by nanotube filtration and is obtained from space tube launching exhaust reactions, glacier melt runoff, and directly from the large water plows that filter, transport, and deliver as needed. Fully automated, powered by solar and high-tech sails, these ships are true wonders. They absorb carbon from the air on their journeys between the Great Plastic Junk Heap and Africa as a kind of parallel “service”..

Valuable, protein rich fish are identified and captured by fish recognition nets. Intelligent algorithms assure ecological balance and seemingly endless supplies. Some fish are cloned and grown on farms for more efficient food resource purposes. Some end up very very far from home on plates and aquariums on outposts in space, but they often arrive as simple, light fish eggs.

Dead plankton, live plankton and other tiny sea life are utilized for their parts. The dead machines are replace for artificial purposes. Stuffed full of tiny processors.

Life is reprogrammed, rebooted, rearranged in countless ways.

Endangered species in the sea are identified by the great nets. Some are automatically tagged, others are captured alive for study and release. The vast majority of the sea creatures pass through the sensors, making up the net, unharmed.

Africa is provided with vast quantities of fresh, clean water and protein in exchange for cooperation for generating solar power and fighting world pirates, criminals, and terrorists. The war paradigm is no longer distinguishable from ordinary violent criminal tracking and capture. Targets are highly specific.

Collateral damage is minimal. There are one or two or maybe 3 victims in any year. Still too high some say.

Open source software, music, art, science, and math dominate the market. People must push buttons or talk to perform their jobs.

Sometimes, a lot of thought is required to know which button to push or command to make to the machines. Research is highly integrated with technology. Pushing a button may produce vast arrays and networks of activities and sub activities.

You arrive at the station and settle into your timeshare living space. Your online intelligent agent checked you in an deposited your last payment.

The view of the new lake made the payments worthwhile. Jacobal should be arriving soon. Chasey’s daughter was understandably anxious about her dad. She unpacked her new aerogel high heal shows to get ready to go out. They reminded her of her mom’s coffee table that her dad, the General (The Libertarian King was his nickname for a time), had accidentally smashed to bits.

Janus was tired after her two trips. She had been traveling now for three days, including the trek more than half way to the moon. The ship mostly drifts. A great deal of power was used just to launch the mid-sized craft.

Lately, water was the bulk of transport mass…

Now, there is clearly a disruption of sorts in the status quo. Everything just did not add up.

The General was clearly attacked. Perhaps Jacobal was too! Or so thought Janus.

Janus was curious about the new UG.01A install in Jacobal. Apparently it was unharmed.

Janus had remembered that one of the rebuilt units her grandfather, Trevor had been counseled by testified: “no two units are alike anymore.” and “the first decade of last century was the last full decade of relative, non-integrated, not fully automated technology – where the foundation was not in the current state -the status quo was very different.” at the disappearance hearings.

Janus never forgot the odd incident her mother had gone through years later. Even the General was involved, had met her mom and that was that. Janus was alive!

Shields of that type were so new then. Nobody could quite believe that such a technology was already available and in use.

Nobody knew back then that a mind could be manipulated by means of a tiny radio drone hidden inside of a cloak. The drone device itself was only seventeen by thirty one nanometers with the cloak only slightly larger.

She was wondering what it was that nobody knows now… today … this second. She wondered if her grandfather would know if he really is still alive. She wondered many things right now.

Chapter UG.01A.01.01

She was wondering what joys Jacobal would bring as their bodies join, more than what information he has to offer right at this moment, in spite of her fears for her father and Jacobal. She enjoyed dancing for him in her shoes. She decided that she must have an aerogel fetish. She was a traveler, a dancer, a pioneer, and a free thinker. No qualms and plenty of grey matter, silicon matter and sex drive to please Jacobal.

Real travel was great. It was such a joy to have that extra kick of knowing for certain that you are actually, absolutely with someone in the most direct, non-virtual mode possible. You just melt together in the most complete of ways. Virtual joining may be combined and was often fun to introduce a nice mix in. Pleasures may reach a certain peak, and soon introducing more does not add much – diminishing returns. We extend and augment and rejoice, but the wall returns, if not just a little bit further down the road. We live to enjoy again another day.

Why is it not boring?

This pleasure thing.

Repeat, Loop, Repeat again. For how much longer? To what extent?

At what point are we slaves and should we care? We have but one life. Do we not? Go with the flow! Come together right now over me!

or something like that, she recalled (some old song her grandpa liked and played for her).

The meeting place was great. Real Chopin played on a real piano with a real pianist.

Great food!

Exotic dancing was fashionable here in this little place.

Bring your own, meet them here, or one will sure to drop by if you are a single male or a single female.

Jacobal walked in, and walked over to Janus. The room was too dark for eyes to adjust – ordinarily, but those days were long gone. No more searching for ones love in a dark room, unless you turn virtually everything you own off. Janus and Jacobal liked to merge initially with augmentation off. It had a more lasting and prolonging affect on their long-term relationship. Start slow, then build up and make meetings have meaning. They both felt that the brain was the ultimate sex organ and size really did mater.

First things first today though. Jacobal transfers the protein coated digital information that details the entire processing of the merged thinking of Jacobal with Upgrade 01A to Janus on their first kiss. Janus must pause to absorb it all in. She is shocked, but still driven by her passion. There is no escape or turning back. It is best to pause before acting on this anyway. Might as well go ’till all has drained for a reasonable delay before the cycle must repeat.

This time, there will be a total of eleven wonderful days together. Or so she thought and wanted and hoped. Jacobal already had plans. She knew that from the invisible protein cap. Her eyes close, and she fell asleep. New information unfolded that neither Jacobal nor Janus could have known about. It was hidden away – a private package within a private package. Janus dreamt of fractals.

Chapter UG.01A.01.02

Jacobal Lectomen dreams of plans. A cloak, a sprayer, lighting adjustments, location, time, the surprise to his opponent, and a station copter – all in sync. As architect team lead and having powerful connections, Jacobal was confident that he held the advantage. The target would not be able to resist showing up.

Janus woke to find Jacobal already up, and was delighted to find a perfect, sphere of pure gold in his place on the bed, that she knew came from the ocean filters. Jacobal appreciated the technology that went behind retrieving and forming that perfect sphere. Now Janus had three of them. It was becoming interesting. Not knowing if or when another might be found there.

Jacobal just cut himself while making breakfast. He enjoyed working with eggs, cheese, green onions, garlic, a tiny amount of milk, chopped mushrooms, and sometimes salsa.

A drop of blood dripped from his finger. He was not being mindful. How could he be sure to be mindful at the critical moments in his plans? He turned the labor over to the kitchen machines, walked away and plopped down on the nearby chair. His head was buzzing with data at so many levels and he felt tired still. He thought of Janus looking at the gold sphere in his mind’s eye. He smiled. He wondered why the image in his head was so clear and real.

His finger immediately began to heal itself. It would be better by the time his breakfast was served. The equipment and furniture was still fairly minimal here, but it was adequate. It was located in the newest, habitable, civilian sector of the Station.

Jacobal would meet the representative later today. A tiny clump of 11 potential cancer cells died in Jacobal’s prostate. Zapped by a suicide nanobot wrapped in a DNA bomb. Jacobal scratched himself. Breakfast was served.

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science fiction


Several Novel Ways of Storing and Manipulating Data
Version: 3.4

Author: David Saxton Ullery


The information in this posting may not be copied or used to create any technology without permission. Not-for-profit uses are permitted. Please comment and include any suggestions and questions that you may have.  Thanks!



This article briefly outlines a few novel approaches that could potentially lead to dramatic increases in the amount of information that may be stored and manipulated at the nanometer scale,  and shift the paradigm in the way information is traditionally manipulated and perceived. Some techniques demonstrate how a large amount of  data could be stored directly as symbols or shapes, others outline possible alternative approaches to storing data by exploiting different properties of atomic elements that may offer insight into radically different approaches to the very problems that nanotechnology companies and researchers are working on today.

New approaches in thinking about exploiting previously unconsidered yet readily differentiating properties, opens the door to the thinking of the technologies that are researched and ultimately employed as a viable commercial product. Thus, the goal is that reading and pondering the concepts presented here will help trigger new ideas that will lead to much more economical approaches, new ways of thinking of computation, and ultimately newer, more powerful computational machines that do not necessarily follow the traditional Von Neumann architecture.

When examining future nanotechnologies for reading and writing information, storing data at a higher symbolic level of information other than only utilizing simple binary format should be examined as an alternative approach to the current standard architecture in today’s storage technologies. The approaches given here deal with the storing  of information at the nanometer size, but are not directly exploiting quantum mechanical properties, nor do they depend on DNA or wetware.  Instead, they depend upon both exploiting the unique properties  of the atomic elements, and our increasingly sophisticated ability to move atoms to form any physical shape we desire, including directly storing symbols in their “natural” form. By purposefully positioning groups of atoms into various patterns, they may be interpreted in new and unique ways by the technology that reads, writes and manipulates the data.

Storing information may be enhanced in another way: More economical and useful ways of reading, writing, and manipulating data can be achieved by exploiting the informational differences inherent in different elements, along with the differences in a single element and its various isotopes.  Different elements, isotopes, and molecules each have properties that could be exploited other than their quantum mechanical properties, and other common approaches that nanotechnology researchers are already examining.  For example, every element has its own unique mass, atomic number, number of electrons, electromagnetic properties, chemical properties,  size, shape, and so on. Shapes are especially interesting when configured in simple molecular structures, crystal structures or when atoms are physically moved in a purposeful manner atom-by-atom to form simple text or other symbols that can later be read and interpreted utilizing relatively simple algorithms.

Mixing and combining each of these and other ideas presented here and extrapolated upon by the knowledgeable reader would enhance all of these approaches in a synergistic manner. It opens up possibilities for alternatives to the traditional Von Neumann, binary-based architecture, yet does not force such a change.

Element Detection

Hydrogen (H) and Deuterium (D or ²H)

Alternative approaches for storing binary data using an element and its isotope.

Note: An element other than Hydrogen may be a better choice, but the concept is the same. However, Deuterium is very stable, not radioactive, and relatively plentiful in ocean water.

Since hydrogen and deuterium have their own unique atomic weight and emission spectrum, it should be eventually possible to detect tiny amounts of either, and use them to represent binary information.  Another element/isotope pair should be considered, if there are known techniques for detection (reading) differences, and more efficient ways of switching states between the element and its related isotope. Other elements and their isotopes may have other properties, such as differing diameters that may be exploited more economically than hydrogen.

Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Use hydrogen, with mass number 1 to represent the zero (“0” or “off” or “no”) state.
  • Use deuterium with mass number 2 to represent the one (“1” or “on” or “yes”) state.
  • Read the values using mass spectrometry , infrared spectrometry, other non-destructuctive  spectrometry methods utilizing much shorter wavelengths such as UV, or perhaps bounce a single photon off of each.  A photon bounced off of a single hydrogen atom would behave differently than one bounced off of a single deuterium atom.  Another approach may be to utilize a modified version of the technology of the scanning tunneling microscope STM, if it can be refined to the point where it could read the difference between an element and its isotope. Utilizing new forms of spectrometry (or other electromagnetic techniques), which use  much higher frequencies than ultraviolet may  someday utilized to detect size, position, mass, electromagnetic properties.
  • To write data: Store the gases of each type and inject the atoms one by one into the bit containers. Another approach may be to find a way to push atoms into place, perhaps utilizing a modified, greatly shrunk down version of STM (see sections that follow for a bit more on this).  Perhaps a neutron beam could be used in a novel way to convert H to D, thus “burning” ones into memory in a manner analogous to PROMs and EPROMs.
  • Each tiny collection of atoms can be stored inside a single carbon buckyball, with each “bit” separated by an empty buckyball or by some other means, such as a tiny number of silicon atoms to separate each bit, such that the state of each atom or tiny cluster of atoms are not easily disturbed. Another approach may be to load up a nanotube or a column-like structure created using a few nanotubes.  Each atom, or atom cluster would be fed into one end of the column,  possibly followed by a separator element (consisting of a either a string or clump of one or more atoms such as silicon, or a buckyball), followed by another atom or atom cluster.  Each atom or cluster would represent a zero or a one and could be read from one end of the column one at a time until the last atom is read… More on this in sections below.

Multiple Element

This idea may be practical for memory storage of the more permanent kind, because writing may prove to be exceedingly slow for rapid computation.  The ability to distinguish between different elements may be more practical for reading, but writing with multiple elements may prove to be difficult.  A technique inspired by an ink jet printer could work – the valves would need to be extremely tiny – perhaps made from carbon nanotubes.

  • Use any two elements that are easy to distinguish when only one or two or three atoms of each type is present.  Binary numbers would be represented using one element as the zero, and the second element as the one value. Using a large atom such as lead to represent the “1″ value, and a much smaller atom, such as hydrogen to represent to the “0″ may prove beneficial.
  • Use multiple element types, with each element representing a different value. The radix of the system would depend on the number of easily readable elements that can be stored into a tiny space using one, two, three or any tiny number of atoms each.

Using this scheme,  hydrogen could represent a “zero”, helium a “one”, …, oxygen a “seven”, and so on (Atomic Number minus 1) for each element.  The radix may be octal, decimal, base 36, or any base up to the number of elements used. Carbon, silicon  and  perhaps gold may need to be skipped since they are needed to construct the memory containers and may interfere with the readings.  Rare elements may be avoided due to their cost or radioactive effects.

Similar to the two-element technique, it may be of benefit to select elements that vary in their atomic number (and mass) by large amounts rather than selecting closely related.  Selecting elements from different groups within the periodic table may prove to be exploitable and therefore useful.

  • Another binary alternative would be to stick to a single element.  Use one atom, perhaps xenon to represent a “0″, and use two side-by-side atoms of the same element to represent a “1″.  A variation on this theme could be to use zero atoms to represent “0″, and a cluster of one or more atoms to represent a “1″.
  • Another approach is to use atoms of dramatically different size to represent differing values. The heavier elements are much larger than the lighter elements.  Technologies may exploit these differences.  Combining a few larger atoms together would increase these differences.  Atoms may either be placed side-by-side or stacked one upon the other to produce a taller, nanometer-scale mountain. Using this approach, the data may be interpreted either digitally or analogically.  Analogically if the mountains, or side-by-side, or some combination are made of varying elements with different sized atoms. One can imagine a nanometer sized head, not unlike a tiny record needle reading analog data, with an interface taking in the data; then, depending on the architecture of the future computing device, the context of the data, manipulating the data directly as analog data or digitizing the data.  Multiple versions of digitized data are envisioned here; depending on the context once again:  (a) interpret atomic-sized mountains over a certain threshold as a “one”, or (b) interpreting varying heights, or other features (total mass, …) as an analog value to be converted to a digitized value; (c) interpret the atomic stack of various element types as a stack of bits, (d) interpret data in any manner where it is economic to read, write and manipulate

For any approach selected, it may turn out that only elements that are solid at or near room temperature are practical, thus ruling out all of the gases and liquids.  Alternatively, simple molecules, such as NaCl, or other salts could be used, if there are better techniques for reading and/or writing molecules. Even H2O – water molecules could be employed if the data is kept cool enough – erasing this data would obviously be very simple.

Reading and Writing the Atoms for Each Alternative Technique

In either the element/isotope or the multi-element concept, one could “write” the atoms (or molecules) into a nanometer sized tube that is transparent enough for electrons or photons to bounce off of each atom, one at a time. It may be necessary to use one element (may need to be several atoms long to insulate the properties of each “bit”) as a type of tag or marker to separate the information atoms, especially if more than one of each element is needed.

As an alternative to bouncing electrons or photons off of each atom, a reading head and writing head could be created using a technology based on already existing scanning tunneling microscopes (STM). This approach may be particularly useful in the single-element approach where a pattern (0 or 1; 1 or 2 groups) are used.

Exploiting the unique particle velocities or resonance frequencies generated of elements or molecules of different mass may be combined with other technologies to measure differences between atoms or molecules to read the atoms from different elements.  Acoustic and electromagnetic waves may be utilized to generate frequencies to induce large amplitude vibrations within a system of atoms lined up in patterns.

The nanotube structure could be used to keep the atoms or atom clusters (molecules) in place, like so many beads on a string, or more like a line of different color peas inside a transparent straw.  The design close up may resemble chicken wire. It may not be a completed tube, but merely a trough or rain drain-like structure that is “U” shaped from the end instead of “O” shaped.

Rows of these tube or trough-like nanotube structures could be connected together to create a two dimensional matrix, or a single, very long structure could be wound up into a disc, like a CD or DVD disc and read from the inside out.

It is interesting to note here, regardless of the selected alternative, that an STM reader could conceivably read large chunks of atoms at a time, projecting different shapes that could then be decompressed by  shape-recognition software into standard bits, bytes, or any other form, including the original form.  A string of ones and zeros physically represented by atoms or small clusters of atoms would form unique shapes due to the distribution of mass, electromagnetic, and other properties.  To read these shapes as chunks may require the trough to have a certain amount of “wiggle room” so that the atoms may not form a completely straight line. Different elements or molecules may be readily coaxed into specific shapes by subjecting them to different electric charges, magnetic fields, chemicals, or simply by squeezing them into or through other nano-sized machines or templates (like a tiny cookie cutter).

Nanometer Scaled Symbolic Writing

The following outlines the concept of storing data more directly as high-level text or other types of high-level symbols, thus effectively compressing much more information into bit-sized areas for simple text messages. In some cases, depending on current state-of-the-art, an “atom” may be replaced with “a cluster of atoms”, or “a molecule” or “a cluster of molecules”, but the concept is such that in any alternative, the real estate used must be substantially smaller than the current space required for a single bit on today’s storage systems.  Given that a nanometer is 10 to the -9th meters, a typical atom’s ranges from about 0.1 to 0.5 nanometer, and today’s memory chips are storing bits at the 45-nanometer level, it seems we have some room to work with.

Let us examine some potential ways we might represent information at the atomic level.

  1. Store text, including entire computer programs using ordinary text, but write the text at the tiniest possible size. Remember the I.B.M. Logo?  All three letters contain a total of 35 xenon atoms (atomic number 54). Each atom is spaced at what looks like one or two atom widths apart on average.  According to the article from the link above: “In 1989, IBM scientist Don Eigler was surprised to learn that in addition to using an STM to look at tiny things he could also use it like a pair of tweezers, to move things as small as a single atom.”  Suppose that the text could be crushed down to use no more than 8 atoms per character –  the same number of bits used in today’s binary ASCII code, yet still be kept in the same general shape as the actual letters, or perhaps some new, more compressed, yet easily recognizable set of shapes. It may be easier for a technology to read the entire glob as a shape than it would be to read each atom as a single bit.
  2. Use lines of atoms of different lengths to represent different values. Example: “.”=0, “-”=1, “–”=2, “—”=3; where each “-” is one, two or three atoms in length…perhaps larger clumps would be needed or more economical.  Molecules could replace atoms, if kept very tiny (whatever is the least number of atoms or smallest size molecule that can be detected at high speed).  This is simply a variation of “1″ above, but keeping each shape more or less as a line, however the length of each symbol would grow with the number of characters represented.  If we kept the number of symbols small, say to 10 or less, then the longest line would be only  10 atoms wide. One could imagine building a code based on combining various symbols without necessarily resorting to a number system.  It would be constructed  like a kind of short hand.
  3. Use different shapes to increase the symbol set, without increasing the number of atoms.  Example:  “+”, “^” could be represented using four and three atoms respectively.  This is really no different than option “1″, but could be interpreted as a variation on option two or a hybrid between 1 and two where the atoms are allowed to occupy more than a single row.
  4. Use marker symbols to distinguish the representation of any of the above representations to create a hybrid.  Marker symbols may be actual text-like or at least shapes or combination of shapes not unlike XML tags, or they may be atoms of a different elements or molecules as discussed in previous sections. A processor configured to read multiple symbolic representations may have the ability to reconfigure its actual hardware, or load different algorithms into its memory.  It may be that the actual processor is of a traditional silicon/binary type with a suitable interface that acts like a connector/adapter/translator/mapper between the computer and the storage.  Alternatively, it may be that the entire computer is constructed to directly manipulate these symbols or to at least readily convert them in a  much more tightly coupled manner than a traditional computer would be able to do.
  5. The symbols used may not resemble any of the symbols familiar to us like those on our keyboard.  It may be more convenient to exploit the shapes that clusters of atoms tend to form when combined together.  Crystals are one example, but they tend to have several variations.  The point is that the shapes need to be as easy as possible to construct, be stable, yet be consistent and deterministic. If a given element, with a limited number of atoms forms the same set of shapes, it may be possible to filter them so that they can be used to represent a set of symbols.
  6. Utilize binary or some other radix where needed, or where more generalize information is needed.  Binary data may still be stored as a shape rather than utilizing the atoms or clusters of atoms as simple zero-one bits.  More is discussed about this below.
  7. A two-dimensional photograph could be compressed down as a simple black and white photo (atom/no atom),  or a color photograph (1,2, or 3 atoms; where one=”red”, two=”blue” and three=”yellow”).  Simple markers could be used to (A) tag that it is photo information, and (B) tag the next row of an array, or simply tag the actual “bit” length of each “row” of pixels – in other words to mark out how many patterns or “1″ “2″ and “3″ would be needed.  Note however, that three or even four characters can be represented in binary, using just two bits (atoms): “00″,”01″, “10″, “11″.

Once again, a modified scanning tunneling microscope (STM) technology can be used to write and read the data using either technique or any hybrid combination.

Rather than storing information as bits, the information is stored and read directly at a  symbolic  level.  Simple software algorithms would be used to translate the characters and shapes to be used  and interpreted as needed.

For example: a Java program may be stored as source code using a tiny number of atoms to represent each character.  The java program would be read using the STM-based reader, then translated (decompressed) into byte code  and run on a conventional computer, if desired.  Alternatively, an entire CPU architecture could be build around the new storage technique that directly manipulates the stored symbols.  Literal XML tags could be used, if desired to mark code and data sections.

The multiple  techniques presented in this section and the previous section could be combined.  Use the one/two atom pair technique (to store binary code.  Separate the code with special tags (atom-by-atom XML or otherwise).

Perhaps the text could eventually be shoved into super long, nanotube-based structures and wound up into a disk storing up trillions of times the data currently stored on today’s high definition DVDs.  This would be similar to the device describe in the previous sections.

In scenarios where memory reads could be relatively slow, then it would make sense to pack more data, using less atoms to represent the data.  The link above shows that using current technology, at least 3 letters can be written and read using an STM.

Once the concept of reading symbols sinks in, it becomes apparent that the most general form of information can be represented in binary, and it may seem that information could be compressed better if data is always represented this way, but the concept of utilizing symbol recognition could enhance this most general case.  Using just two atoms (or groups or molecules), we can arrange them in the following ways:

( 1 ) “- “      [just one atom followed by no atom, or “10”] ,

( 2 ) “–”     [two atoms next to each other, or “11”],

( 3 ) ” -”      [no atom, followed by one atom, or “01”]

( 4 ) “=  “    [two atoms, one above the other, with no atom next to it, or “1010”],

( 5 ) “\ “      [two atoms at an angle, down and to the left, or “1001”]

( 6 ) ” /”      [two atoms at an angle, down and to the right, or “0110”]

( 7 ) “_ “      [no atoms on top an one atom below, or “0010”]

( 8 ) ” _”      [no atom on top, and one atom below and to the right, or “0001″

Of course, in theory, there could be up to four atoms within the given space, thus allowing for 15 values, but the reader and writer must both be able to distinguish all of those patterns in the same tiny space.  It may be the case where multiple atoms packed closely together will not retain a stable pattern.

Once the technology reaches the level where a single atom could be read, then pure binary representation may be the best technique in 100% of the cases, but using shape recognition may still be the best way to interpret the information. It may be more practical to limit the number of atoms within a given space and interpret the limited number of shapes within that space as a particular value.  It would work in a manner not unlike using braille for the blind. If all of the available space can be filled in with every combination, that is great, but we can still exploit the concept without completely utilizing every conceivable combination and permutation.

Unusual Processing NanoMachines That Eat Data

Another variation on reading of data could be a of the destructive kind.  Read the atoms by grabbing them off of their storage surface and literally pass the data into the processor.  A machine that directly works with shapes instead of bits could process different symbols by filtering them into different locations.  Using lined up symbols like those described in “2” above could direct the data based on each symbol’s length.  Longer symbols could not enter shorter slots.  Data  contextualized as numeric or alphabetical could quickly be sorted by length (spaghetti sort), addition would be fairly straight forward (add the lengths).

In another context, the data could be interpreted as an algorithm for constructing multiple copies of another nano-mechanical machine.  The symbols may consist of various length rods, gears, levers and pulleys as the “data” section; intermingled with short instruction sets. The processor may be cleverly enough designed to be capable of understanding how to manufacture thousands or millions of tiny machines.  The symbol “6” followed by the symbol for a gear could indicate that the machine is to grab the next six gears out of the gear repository or instruct another part of the machined to build six gears built to the size of the “data” gear, and perhaps to use the same element in doing so (the data gear may be made out of carbon or gold, for example).

Utilizing the direct literal “grabbing” of data, the mass of the “bits” could be exploited by a machine designed to take advantage of data in this context.  For example, data could be directly sorted  or added together by mass; larger atoms or more massive molecules could be filtered so that the computing machine would be reconfigured to perform different operations.  Suppose nano-sized gears could only be turned by an atomic mass of greater than or equal to 18 = 2 oxygen or 18 hydrogen atoms.

Grabbing data may be as straight forward as pushing “end of file” atoms into one end of a nanotube, thus allowing the program to push out the other end in a FIFO manner, down into a slot where the calculating machine sits.


We can utilize shape recognition at the atomic or molecular level to store binary information. If a single element is utilized, then the shape alone could represent an arbitrary value.

We can utilize shape recognition at the atomic or molecular level to store information directly as symbols, potentially packing more information into the same tiny space where a single bit may ordinarily be stored.  This same technology could then be utilized to ultimately reduce the information back down to the binary level, but using the same techniques and technology that we use to detect shapes.  It may turn out that multiple shapes are more readily recognized than directly using the atom (or smallest practical “unit”) in the more straight forward way of simply looking at “atom = 1″, “no atom = 0″, or “two atoms = 1 and one atom = 0″ in a linear manner.

We could potentially use different elements or their isotopes to store more information into a single bit without resorting to quantum computer effects, but by exploiting the different spectrum and/or mass, and possibly other differences among the elements. If combinations of elements are used, then atomic number or electromagnetic properties could be utilized to give a single physical shape more than one value.  Two star shapes with different mass could represent two distinct values, for example.  Two squares, made with the same element but with differing numbers of atoms or with differing spaces between the atoms potentially could be exploited.

We could potentially use different elements as markers or tags, not unlike tags utilized in XML.  We could literally create XML tags just like the famous IBM logo was created. Alternatively, we could employ the idea of packing different elements or molecules between sections of data to be interpreted as a change in context.

We could use nanotube to stuff atoms into  – to be read one at a time, or potentially read as chunks with the unique shapes later to be decompressed.  It is even conceivable that a highly sophisticated machine could interpret and manipulate the chunks and shapes directly. The shapes of each chunk may be exploited in the design of the processor itself.  Taken further, the tags or markers could be utilized to directly modify the processor.

We could use a plane surface to read shapes or combine this concept with the nanotube or buckyball concept mentioned earlier.

Processing data at the symbolic level may open up new and unique approaches to computing.  The processing techniques could be simulated using ordinary, binary computers by building a virtual machine designed to manipulate symbols. The simulations would be used as a discovery process so that alternative architectures may be explored.

Finally, we may discover these ideas to not be good ideas at all, yet it may toggle the mind of someone else in science, art or music in some yet unknown way.  Perhaps it is on the right track, but requires another approach that some else may come up with. Perhaps someone in a completely different field may look at this posting, sleep on it, and come up with another novel idea that is directly useful or creates yet another tangent.  A fractal-like graph may result, pointing toward some great idea to solve some totally unrelated problem.  The final result may be four or five or six or one hundred people down the chain – it may loop back around to me…

In the futuristic, on line, open source, science fiction novel “Upgrade 01A“, computers that utilize nanotechnology (some perhaps similar to what is briefly outlined here), some based on DNA, some based on quantum computers, others based on yet unheard of technologies, and some hybrids, are common place.  Many tiny, microscopic computers and robots are integrated inside the bodies, brains, and clothing of the main characters.  Thus,  the characters’ physical abilities, intelligence, and life expectancy are greatly enhanced or upgraded. New devices implanted in a person’s brain are often referred to as “upgrades” and may include a model number that is traditionally denoted as a hexadecimal number. Computers are integrated into virtually every device and object of value.  Please read part one and enjoy…

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