I've been seeing this a few times on Facebook, a machine developed by Martin Burke et al at UIUC which is supposed to greatly simplify synthesis of a wide variety of small molecules (hype, not so hype, also not so hype). It appears to be based on something called Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling, which if I understand it, uses palladium as a catalyst for joining almost anything to almost anything else. More pretty chemistry stick figures here and here. I'm not a chemist by any means but would appreciate any further elucidation anybody cares to supply.
The last nanotech conference I went to was almost a decade ago so I feel a bit out of touch with developments, but the two really promising fronts at that time seemed to be Chris Schafmeister's "molecular Lego" building blocks, which were small rigid molecules with (iirc) a pretty standardized set of bonding interfaces with one another, and Paul Rothemund's work on DNA origami, which has been recently used in cancer treatment. DNA origami has led to some interesting developments, but after ten years I'm a little surprised that neither of these fronts has yielded more dramatic advances than we see around us today.
Back in the old days we used to hear complaints that software wasn't advancing quickly enough. These days there seems to be plenty of progress in software, although most of it seems narrowly focused on either web applications or the internet of things.
So just being curious, was I over-optimistic in my assessment of the work of Schafmeister and Rothemund, or are we lagging in design software? And is Burke's work as revolutionary as some of the hype is making it out to be? When am I finally going to get my respirocytes and utility fog?
== Resistance is futile. Capacitance is efficacious. ==