Small Talk

Robots just got even more cool

I am as excited as a kid with a new super spaceman ray gun. Actually, more excited, because the ray gun was only pretend and never really scattered the molecules of my big brother when he wouldn’t let me watch TV.
A young friend just told me about nanobots. I was dazzled by the moon landing, a first fan of the transistor radio and, right from R2D2 on, I am such a robot fan. This stuff just knocks me out. Now, we have nanobots, these really teeny, tiny robots, that are so absolutely 22nd century, they could be part of McCoy’s Star Fleet infirmary. These miniscule creations can now slip into our ever-vulnerable bodies and do marvelous, marvelous things, like kill a cancer cell.
Researchers from CalTech (go, SoCal) were able, for the first time, to successfully kill cancer cells in human patients via a special nanobot. Sure, our antibodies and white blood cells do their very best for us, but really, it is past time for the human body to get an upgrade in that department.
This newest nanobot targets the messenger RNA to stop the production of protein in the cancer cell, thus starving the cancer from its source of survival. Tell me this isn’t cool. Not only is the nanobot doing a fabulous thing for humanity, but it just disintegrates after it does its job. Übercool.
Then, from Israel, we have the Technion, a new nanobot that will be able to cruise inside the human body. If you are my age, you sat in the front row for the original “Fantastic Voyage” in 1966. While this nanobot doesn’t require shrunk-down people (probably a good thing, since someone on the crew always needs rescuing), it is just a millimeter in size. Now the really good part — it is equipped with small appendices allowing it to hold position so it can wander upstream through our veins and arteries in order to reach the right spot and perform certain procedures. This is all so glorious, I am just running out of adjectives.
I still adore my robot vacuum, but it has taken something of a second place with this news. Today’s kids may find all this ho-hum, but I will go to my grave slack-jawed in awe over the things the human mind and medical science is capable of creating. And remember, friends, the nerd you might not have been so nice to in high school or college is the person at CalTech making this stuff happen.
I have kissed many a nerd in my day because I have always found brains to be very sexy, but I’m thinking now, I should have kissed a few more.  I hope they know how, well, cool they are.