June 10, 2011
DARPA Wants Living Foundries Biological Factories

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA_ is looking to fund the development of scalable bio-factories where cells or materials normally found in cells will make assorted products.

A recent call for research by the Pentagon’s mad science agency proposes a new program called “Living Foundries.” The idea is to use biology as a manufacturing platform to “enable on-demand production of new and high-value materials, devices and capabilities.”

Click thru and read the details.

Looks like we will get biological factories long before Eric Drexler's nanoassemblers. What I wonder: Do we need specialized lab artificial intelligences to do sufficiently rapid scientific experiments on nanoassemblers to search the potential solution space to find ways to make nanoassemblers workable? Read the Controversy section of that Wikipedia page for a sense of the debate about the practicality of nanoassemblers.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2011 June 10 03:09 PM  Biotech Automation

Hartree said at June 11, 2011 11:20 AM:

It's not surprising we'd be getting to biologically based systems more quickly. That's using existing nanotechnology (like our bodies) that already exists. It just isn't under our direct control save for some rather clumsy methods. We're learning how to control it better more quickly than we're coming up with new systems on that scale.

Drexler said in Engines of Creation that the assemblers were probably not the way to do molecular scale manufacturing. It was a system that he could model more easily than others, so it would be good for paper studies and simulations of feasibility. Ditto for his rod logic ideas.

PacRim Jim said at June 11, 2011 11:08 PM:

Suggestion: Disperse these factories, to avoid presenting a fat target for terrorists or others who would attack America.

Randall Parker said at June 16, 2011 6:44 PM:

PacRim Jim,

Factories aren't really tempting targets for terrorists. They want to kill people. Cities are the most tempting targets for Jihadists.

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