Posts by lsuess

    One more worry:

    I've recently checked for web activity of Josh Hall
    (googles recent time filter) and only found total silence.
    And lots of dead links on his homepage:

    He doesn't look too healthy in this video:

    and mentions health problems here:
    Sounds like circulatory problems and stroke.

    I hope he's all right.

    I've looked a bit further into microfluidics
    and I now think that this technology will pretty much for certain play a major role in the development towards HT-APM.

    3D printed microfluidics - in contrast to those very expensive and pretty big pipetting systems found at biomedical labs -
    allows at least one order of magnitude cheaper and thus much more accessible
    tinkering with natural self assembly (and of course "unnatural self assembly" too - the desired engineering type that's targeting towards APM)

    Maybe a cost level can be reached that is affordable even for hacker-spaces.
    The main remaining cost point are the "vitamins" around the passive channel structures (like among many others pumps).
    Beside reducing the costs significantly microfluidics also increase operation speed by several orders of magnitude.
    This makes unguided bottom up construction of larger nanosystems much more realistic.

    By now there are lost of videos demonstrating microfluidic principles (bubble handling) on youtube. Very interesting!
    E.g. check out:…view=0&shelf_id=0&sort=dd

    Specifically I am thinking about a matrix like system for programmable high speed automated manufacturing of 3D-DNA-voxel-bricks (there are several papers about those):

    Step 1a) Start with N streams of DNA oglionucleotides (= short DNA snippets) and mix them into the accumulating droplets of M droplet streams. (The droplets grow very pretty big and essentially become stream-segments). For each steam M_i some N_j are retained (How?) the rest passes and mixes.
    Step 1b) The M resulting streams (that deliver consecutive long stream-segments) then are routed through long individual circuits for first internal mixing and then following annealing.
    Step 2) For second order self assembly (this has been experimentally demonstrated - there's a paper on this) repeat the process with the M long stream-segment-bubbles that now contain the desired fully assembled DNA structures (and salt solution streams). Those are now replacing the N DNA oglionucleotide streams that where present in the first processing round. (Obviously if the same channel-circuitry is used for step 2 it needs to be flushed out first.)
    Step 3) Extract the product assemblies and analyze the results.
    Maybe assemble some early productive nanosystem (featuring some hinges and nano-robotics)
    (though with - for the time being - still stealthy and publicly unperceived small scale products)

    Motivated by that exciting prospect I recently began to port the
    discrete element microfluidic designs that where presented in the papers [1] and [2] (linked below) to OpenSCAD.
    This will make it possible to:
    1) quickly adjust the systems components geometries to the specific need at hand
    (I'm not referring to the systems inherent quick adjustability here. Which is a strong point on it's own.)
    2) print the systems components even on cheap FDM printers (which can be tuned to be sufficient for the job as shown in paper [0]).

    0) Title: "Simple and Versatile 3D Printed Microfluidics Using Fused Filament Fabrication" (Cardiff University)
    1) Title: "Discrete Elements for 3D Microfluidics" (2014)
    2) Title: "Predicting the behavior of microfluidic circuits made from discrete elements" (2015)

    When doing DNA origami to form lots of atomically precise nanoscale parts with different shapes/topologies there's the need to mix a lot of different combinations of a lot of different DNA oligomeres.
    AFAIK currently for such large scale mixing projects robotic pipetting systems are used that are not easily accessible.
    Microfluidic systems may have the potential to replace such huge and expensive robotic pipetting systems.

    Here's some new work investigating in how far cheap FDM printing can be used for microfluidics.…1371/journal.pone.0152023

    I just realized that since the last time I've checked there was a lot of movement in the DIY SPM space.
    Specifically beside DIY STMs there's also stuff about DIY AFMs online now.

    The first two nearest things (near in therms of google search metric) that sprang into my face where:
    2) (~$3000 closed source)
    There's an image of DNA origami made with this microscope: (JUMP TO 0:28)

    At least for DIY AFMs the imaging of DNA structures seems to be on the very limit.
    Maybe this would work a lot better with DIY STMs.
    I think so because AFAIK it is way harder to get down to atomic resolution with AFMs than with STMs due to:
    * the lack of the exponential current decay benefit
    * the tips being fabricated from some material like silicon nitride with more rounded tips then the metallic etched wire tips (true?/false?)

    So contrary to what I thought there's no electrical pre-amplication on the icspicorp chip yet.
    Doing the ultra low noise amplification is a critical more expensive part of the system that I thought could be mostly avoided now.
    So on the current chips there is only stuff for excitation of vibrations for AFM tapping mode ??
    Does that mean for usage in STM mode the current chips are no better than a cut piece of wire?

    "Please feel free to tell us about the application you have in mind ..."
    Hmmmm .... A cheap stage targeting the DIY-geek-tinkerer / hobby-science / citizen-science market?

    Given the not exorbitant or at least not plainly obvious amount of application cases: Would there be sufficient demand?
    Selling it just as "toy" where the usefulness factor is not as important would not require a 10x price drop but rather a 100x price drop - so that's not viable. ...
    Personally I'd like to know about the feasibility of imaging (and manipulation) of DNA structures (no full atomic resolution needed) with cheap solutions.

    * AFAIK a lot of the the (professional) really cool atomic resolution and manipulation stuff was done with high stiffness tuning forks -- non contact tapping-STM I think.
    * "scanning microwave microscopy" -- first time I hear about that -- I guess I need to extend my knowledge in that direction.

    PS: If you really wanna try something and need something 3D modeled for 3D printing I can help there.
    I did quite a lot of fully parametric 3D modelling in OpenSCAD in the past as you can see here:

    Yes is what I was referring to.
    Sorry, I forgot to add that link.

    So the price for the frame-component really is oriented on demand and likely far above potential (minimal) production cost.
    They probably reason that dropping the price (too sudden) won't raise the selling numbers enough to compensate.
    Just as it was with home 3D-printers a few years ago but this time their judgement might be more accurate.

    Even though the integrated SPM chip may have been more expensive in development than the frame-component it seems they want to amortize their development costs mostly with the frame-component. (except the chips - contrary to advertised - break regularly - which I don't really believe)

    I see kind of a dilemma here though:
    Assuming our reasoning that a much cheaper frame-component is possible is correct and someone pretty soon actually makes a ten times cheaper replacement
    with minimal development costs (even in small batches! e.g. kickstarter - legality questions ... ) then icspicorp's small volume frame sells might drop to a point where might not amortize their development costs anymore. And without demand climbing proportional to the dropped price a price battle won't be an option.
    If this goes so far that icspicorp stops selling their cheap integrated SPM chips then the price under-cutter has basically killed its own nourishing ground.

    Is a little less exaggerated scenario (just drops in business not full failure) too far fetched?
    Do they have thought about such a scenario?
    Is there some defense in place (being it intentional or unintentional) ? Proprietary software?
    Or - as I realize while writing all this:
    Is it possible they assume and want early price undercutters to take the risk of testing the market readiness from them?

    The outcome will most likely end up somewhere between the pessimistic and optimistic extreme.
    But I guess I'm just over-analyzing this.

    1) Stiffness is a key for advanced positional nano-fabrication.
    2) For some fixed material stiffness falls with shrinking size.
    So this Foam might prove quite useful for structural components in future nanofactories (and other advanced nanosystems).

    The found foam is basically a superimposed union of
    1) trivial cubic foam and
    2) trivial octet foam (out of octahedrons and tetrahedrons)
    nothing fancy - easy to model

    Paper: "Mechanical metamaterials at the theoretical limit of isotropic elastic stiffness"…ent/full/nature21075.html
    UCSB shortnews:…s-first-perform-predicted
    UCSB news full article (linked):

    UCSB news article with video (not linked):
    Author: "... This material is found to archive theoretical bounds for isotropic stiffness. ..."
    He's referring to something called the "Hashin-Shtrikman Bounds" of which probably few people know about.

    At the 2014 forsight institute conference Neil Sarkar held a talk called "microscopic microscopes for the masses"…croscopes-for-the-masses/
    (There was a video online but I can't find it anymore. Was it removed?)
    Today I got an e-mail notifying me that they finally sell their microscopes.

    With a price point near $10k I doubt this will make it to the masses anytime soon though.
    I think that's about one order of magnitude to high.
    As I understand the point of the project was/is to pack/cram most of the functionality into/onto chip.
    With $250 I think the tips are bearable priced.
    I'm wondering though why the frame and rough positioning turned out to be so darn expensive.
    Maybe this cries for a DIY 3D-printable replication.
    AFAIK there are some people (on thngiverse) successfully doing high accuracy optical system mirror adjustments with just crude 3D printed parts.
    For drift reduction maybe adding temperature control (via a Peltier element) is needed but I don't see that pushing the price to near $10k
    So what makes the price?
    Software ?! Machining ?! The linear bearings ??
    Long range rough positioning vibration Piezo drives ?
    Maybe secondary amplifier electronics ?

    INCA is based on the tensegrity geodesic structures of Buckminster Fuller, and the fullerene molecule.

    Geodesic domes without internal structure fall (to my understanding) not under the category of tensegrity.
    It just so happened that Buckminster Fuller who is known for geodesic domes also invented the term tensegrity.

    I suspect heavy usage of pure breed tensegrity in advances APM products such as lighter than air structures.
    Aerial Meshes
    I don't think tensegrity will be all that important in the early bootstrapping phase.
    With semi stiff foldamers and bulky nodes (bulky => non mathematically ideal) it's hard to draw a line what is tensegrity and what not.

    There are two things to discern here:
    A. Space Trusses (nodes take neither tourques nor bending moments only tension and compression)
    B. Space Frames (nodes take torques and bending moments too)

    Tensegrity is a subset of A with pure tension elements (ropes chains) allowed.
    The main advantage of tensegrity is that it auto-equilibrates internal and external loads
    thus you get maximal stability for minimal design complexity and maximum part reusability
    (for the cost of lower reliability - single point failure => full collapse).

    For nanofactory bootstrapping first and foremost stiffness needs to be maximized.
    By adding more and more redundant structures you move more and more to B (space frames) which is as far away from tensegrity as it gets.

    Just recently a record was set on the biggest stiff empty de-novo protein cage constructed by bottom up self assembly:
    This is a dodecahedron.
    A dodecahedarl protein frame wouldn't be stiff if it would fall into the class A of space trusses.
    (Deltoids like the octahedron have that interesting property)
    It's stiffness depends on the fact that the bulkiness of the nodes can take torsion and bending moments.
    So this de-novo protein dodecahedron is a spaceframe and most certainly not a tensegrity structure.

    One of the big plusses with the INCA system as the bootstrap for MNT is this: It is based on the curvature we see in the biological and natural world. Look at the spirals and curved structures in nature, such as in DNA helixes and protein chains and more.

    I think this is just about aesthetics.
    Smart design usually leads to aesthetic products.
    But the other way around finding smart products starting from aesthetics can be much more difficult.
    It helps when your design space is small.
    This is not the case when you start from a point as general as spirals and curves - too vague.
    An (only periphereal APM related) example I know of is Conal Elliotts research about automatic differentiation (with heavy usage of statically typed programming as unconditionally required basis) where he ends up with infinite multidimensionall derivation towers (taylor series) basically for free just by pursuing aesthetics in code.

    This is relevant for APM since it is immensely useful for 3D modelling (surfaces normals curvatures).

    Lastly about that "invention":

    I'm surprised that his invention passed the threshold of originality.
    As I see it it' this is just a ball with three springs on it.

    I do not have the time to read through the details of that patent.
    Patents aren't necessarily made for quick comprehensibility.

    Sadly consulting the the referred to website for more information
    ( is no longer possible since it's gone - victim of internet amnesy.
    It seems that domain name got annected by some japanese wordpress blogger.

    Beside the patent I found no openly accessible information other than that facebook page behind the usual sign in wall:

    Steve Bridgers presentation does not come over very convincing - at least for me.
    He doesn't show a closeup of his invention.
    Ok a bit better:

    Also he conveys the feeling of "I am so cool and so much better than you".
    Then the other videos of the same YT channel are a little ... obscure.
    I liked this entertaining excerpt:
    "... Because it moves mechanically and dynamically we can MOVE IT ..."

    Aside from that this "challenge" is likely long gone (if it ever happened).
    The video was published five years ago in Sept 2011.

    You can see some of the basic designs and diamondoid-inspired structures made with this.

    Self similar stuff is interesting.
    My avatar image is a tripod made of sp3-carbon atoms (which themselves have tripod-symmetry) - pretty fundamental. I'm not yet sure where this specific design could be of use.

    What do you all think? Protein folding? DNA nanomachines? SPMs with molecular grippers like Drexler and Merkle and others mentioned years ago? Engineered bacteria and viruses? Laser, Electron Beam and other energetic beam systems?

    I guess a bit of all of them - viruses and bacteria only as means for producing artificially designed de-novo proteins.

    We had some related discussion about possible approaches here:
    What are the remaining lurkers up to?

    The next major milestones I'm looking for are:
    #) Putting
    hierarchically self assembled (already experimentally demonstrated in isolation)
    hinged and rigid (already experimentally demonstrated in isolation)
    DNA/Protein/Peptoid/Foldamer structures onto photographically etched chips (already experimentally demonstrated in isolation)
    such that they get aligned to the etched structures.
    #) Introducing high rate bistable electrostatic actuation via this chips surface.

    Then It gets more murky:
    #) Introducing mechanical demultiplexing in the self assembled sufficiently stiff foldamer structures.
    #) Making kind of like a protein block based 3D printer (on chip surface) and thereby get rid of unreliable high error rate self assembly.
    #) Switching to bio-minearlisation materials (I perceive a big knowledge gap here) - As elaborated in "Radical Abundance" Appendix
    #) Building micro vacuum chambers and finally switching to advanced materials like diamond and silicon. - Also as elaborated in "Radical Abundance" Appendix

    In one of his more recent presentation Eric Drexler presented an approach for in liquid free floating foldamer activation mechanosynthesis devices.
    He proposed to design
    #) a three axis site activator via hierarchical self assembly and
    #) use trichromatic light for directed motion actuation (already experimentally demonstrated in isolation).

    I guess you assume a level of molecular nanotechnology, and mechanosynthesis where you can place every element of the periodic table in any practical way physical law permits and pick atoms from any local molecular environment.

    Long before that level of capability will be reached earlier forms of high throughput advanced molecular nanotechnology, and mechanosynthesis
    (e.g. synthesis of diamond and graphene) will be available. Those forms of mechanosynthesis are likely to be rather limited in the way they can place/handle atoms. (Side-note: That limitedness does not transfer to the earlier products - completely different behaving mechanical metamaterials can all use the same base material.)

    Of course on the nanoscale atom and molecule bonding topology is always fundamentally reversible. But that does not mean that implementing the backward process technically is as easy as implementing the forward process. Actually there a number of reasons why implementing the backward process (disassembly) is much harder than the forward process (assembly).

    Since mechanosynthesis is basically a blind open loop control assembly process (heavily relying on extremely low error rates) once some in the past mechanosynthesized crystal-molecule assemblies have incurred radiation or thermal damage, mechanosynthetic disassembly can't be performed by simply running a nanofactory in reverse - this would just end in a mess. Even if the product crystal-molecules are damage free it's still difficult. Some assembly steps may have way higher error rates in reverse (that's where energetic reversibility comes into play).

    So I'm concerned about giant mountains of diamondoid waste piling up not because recycling is fundamentally impossible (which is certainly wrong)
    but because I see a timespan coming in which it is technically WAY easier (and economically cheaper) to just create systems for making diamondoid crystal-molecules by mechanosynthesis instead of creating mechanosynthesis systems that are also capable of taking diamondoid crystal-molecules apart.

    (Re-usage of microcomponents may mend that problem but only to a degree since they may become obsolete - analog to software.)

    One issue I have with predictions about AI is one that Eric mentions too briefly in his talk: goals and motivations of AI. All living things have a goal built into them due to the way life evolved: perpetuate oneself and one's offspring. Eric states we wont know or will be unsure of the goals AI will have. I don't see why we wouldn't, since unless we explicitly program goals in, the AI will have intelligence but it wont have any motivation to do anything with it. Without goals it wont have motivation to act for or against anything. Probably a good reason not to program in any goals.

    <sarkasm> All living things except humans in wealthy countries too smart for their own good. They die out. </sarkasm>

    Reinforcement learning means rewards must be defined. Thus neuronal AI without goals doesn't exist.
    We make AI to serve a purpose (even if its just nonsense "art") thus we train it with the data-sets we have readily available and tell it how good it does at reaching its goals. This already is leading to unpleasant discriminatory occurrences due to politically or racially or gender or ... biased training data.

    A major problem is that if an AI finds a way to cheat for getting its reward and its unsupervised it will start and continue to do so perpetually - potentially causing serious trouble. With multiple agents supervising themselves mutually there can be a self regulating system but by our limited intelligence we will barely have the means to know whether and where potential system instabilities lie and how severe they might be.

    Most scary I find the kind of personal assistant AGI's that google is currently very actively building. This is basically becoming a virtual version of yourself knowing yourself inside out. It - for the better or the worse - could live on after your death. If the user is/was an a*****e spammer you might get a very nasty AGI. BTW rouge AGI's are certain to collaborate if beneficial for them. A cyberspace inter AGI war may become a possibility.

    With advanced AGI sooner here than advanced nanotechnology humanity may come into the inconvenient "being a pet" situation without the option for anyone to upgrade the brains to keep up. This is all SciFi right now but if I happen to see this day I hope most of the serious flaws that current day software carries with it will become resolved before any mental upgrades begin - I don't want google/facebook/... in my head nor do I want dependency hell nor uncontrollably piling up entropy invariably leading to a system crash and necessary reinstall - which people still think its normal - IMO it isn't. <joke> Person A (panicking): "My new video driver isn't working properly I just see blue what should I do? ..." Person B (indifferent): "Just delete and reinstall the brain-ware you're running." Person A: "WHAT?!" </joke>

    What mystifies me about AI/AGI is the fundamental differences to the human brain:
    * just a few basic instincts flooding the whole brain as feelings - vs - very topically fine-grained reward structures
    * the fundamental single-threadedness of the human brain - ever tried to listen to two persons at the same time? - can this be learned?

    Someone is likely to prove me wrong, but I'm not sure that that foldamer engineering will bootstrap advanced APM. At best I suspect it may be a dispensable tool, much like one can use a screwdriver to pound a nail - though a hammer would be the better tool. On the other hand, there is no easy way to use a hammer as a screwdriver.

    The most recent developments in structural DNA nanotechnology (DNA oligomers I believe fall under the class of foldamers) made me much more optimistic about a bootstrapping pathway that relies on foldamers indispensably. Like roughly described in the appendix of Radical Abundance. (Note that with indispensable I don't mean indisposable. That is I do think that they can should and must be stripped away once bootstrapping was successful.)

    The main papers that made me more optimistic where these five:

    1) Demonstration of localized hinges and sliding rails:
    (Absoluterĺy essential for any robotics like action.)
    Papers name: "Programmable motion of DNA origami mechanisms"
    Found here:
    Full open content:

    2) Hierarchical self assembly of structural DNA nanotechnology:
    (Essential for more complex systems)
    In the first step the normal method floppy DNA oligomers find and link. In the second step the finished assembled stiff cubic/hexagonal voxel grid building blocks self assemble by shape complementary (reversibly driven by varying salt concentration)
    Papers name: 'Dynamic DNA devices and assemblies formed by shape-complementary, non-basepairing 3D components'
    Found here:
    Full open content:…EI&keytype=ref&siteid=sci

    3) Bohr radius resolution manipulation with DNA nano-structures:
    (Essential for early forms of mechanosynthesis)
    Papers name: "Placing molecules with Bohr radius resolution using DNA origami"
    Found here:
    Somewhat hidden paper: http://bionano.physik.tu-muenc…/funke_NatureNano2015.pdf
    Supplementary info paper (BIG): http://bionano.physik.tu-muenc…ke_NatureNano_2015_SI.pdf

    4) Assembly of multi micron scale AP pegboards:
    (Probably useful for organizing bigger systems via AP self centering pick and place that lacks atomic resolution.)
    Papers name: "DNA brick crystals with prescribed depths"
    Found here:
    Full open content:
    Supplementary info paper (BIG):…ns/2014.crystals.sup1.pdf

    5) Templated gold grwoth in AP DNA nanostructures:
    (Maybe useful to include stiffer parts for tooltips though this does not look too controllable - bulging)
    Found here:
    Papers name: "Casting inorganic structures with DNA molds"
    Full paper:…60265/pdf/nihms641769.pdf

    What I'm still eagerly waiting to see is:

    A) Fast bi-stable electrostatic actuation of DNA hinge nano-structures via electric fields emanating from very small contacts on a chip surface.

    B) Demonstration of AP single moiety mechanosynthesis with water synthesizable diamondoid minerals (quartz/pyrite/apatite/calcite). This hasn't been demonstrated in with macro-scale AFMs either.

    I recently had some discussion defending the idea of advanced APM where I wrote a bit about my own interpretation of that pathway beyond of what is written in the appendix of Radical Abundance.
    You can find this all the way at the bottom down here:…omic-scale-manufacturing/

    Sorry about the amount of links here, but I think they're relevant.

    I think of SPMs as one tool of many that will be needed to bootstrap nanotechnology. That an STM has limitations is no different than other tools. Based on my reading of history, I think progress in nanotechnology will only take off once more "amateurs" can begin work on it.

    I believe one issue that got in the way was lack of money or capital - and uncertain demand. While a determined amateur can build a marginally working inexpensive hobby STM, buyers of commercial systems have higher expectations and getting a refined product to market is not cheap. Of course, back then we didn't have Kickstarter, GoFundMe, IndieGoGo, or RocketHub as options to raise capital and establish a seed of potential customers.

    I do too think of SPM as one tool of many that will play an important role.
    I think parallel AFM in the form of mechanosynthesis and pick and place action at the micro and nanoscale will do a big part of the work. Single tip synthesis might be useful for figuring out reactions or putting bigger blocks together but building up a diamondoid assembler with a single macro-scale AFM (the early idea now dismissed by Eric Drexler) by now seems to me like jumping to the moon with just your legs - metaphorical speaking.

    The problem I feel is that with what is archivable by DIY means and a little more professional kickstarter funded means (provided it gets funded) is not sufficient for making meaningful bootstrapping progress.

    I feel that some very essential tools will not make it to a widely available DIY state (e.g. cryo TEM tomography, UHV Systems - except something like my crazy micro UHV system idea miraculously works out, automatic pipetting systems ... to a lesser degree as I'll mention further below)

    For the reasons I elaborated above I think that systems of hierarchically self assembled foldamers will play a major role too beside SPM. Thus I'm thinking of using an top down AFM to picture and interact with bottom up foldamer structures. And those need some of these additional capabilities.

    About kickstarter funding:
    Who is really interested in playing around with an relatively cheap but not extremely toy-like cheap ~999$ SPM device beside a handful of geeks? I mean right now and not when it becomes really interesting due to APM bootstrapping beginning to succeed. (Kind of a "who would need a computer in his home" situation.)

    I doubt that major parts of bootstrapping will be done by a large DIY community. (I'm not happy about that)
    I think it's not unlikely that much of the bootstrapping will happen in service provider labs for early nanotech medical companies.
    Sadly this could quite likely result in that the products will be accompanied with a lot of closed source problems restrictions and regulations.

    I'm not saying that I'm certain that a cheap SPM kickstarter project won't work out funding wise.
    I just doubt that DIY to semi professional SPM living-room devices will play a major role in bootstrapping.

    In the macrocosm with repraps there's a lot less that can't be done DIY or is hard to do DIY.
    Also the products have immediate usability value.
    Even with these things in its favours evolution of repraps isn't crazy fast.

    To drift a bit off-topic:
    We still don't have a self replicating 3D printer that not only prints but also assembles itself.
    I think this should be possible (not a small machine) and could drive the cost fo 3D printers down further ~50% and give additional
    6DOF robotic pick and place capability (remember DIY massive automatic robotic pipetting system for DNA nanotech I mentioned before?)
    Also such a self replicating pick and place robot would demonstrate principles for self replication that uses standard prefabricated parts as building blocks. These principles then could at least in part be applied to nanosytems out of AP self assembled foldamer parts. And much later the principles could be used in the second assembly layer of advanced nanofactories - albeit with a wider less compact cycle meaning even more less generic parts.
    A self assembling macro robot is what I'm attempting with my reprec project Idea:
    This will soon grow, I had some major Ideas today.

    An other pathway for cost reduction beside reprap style cost reduction is miniaturization like in the computer industry.
    This pathway is big-company centric since obviously MEMS production isn't DIY doable.
    Miniaturisation of SPMs seems not to progress fast. There are some MEMS AFM approaches that still need humongous UHV systems.
    I'm not aware of any attempts of parallelizing SPMs that wield atomic resolution yet (millipede e.g. was never meant to have atomic resolution).

    Sooner or later there might come up the possibility of more or less self assembled nano AFMs ... ok I'm drifting off ...

    It would certainly be cool to make atoms visible in the livingroom but I gave up on this endeavour because:
    # I worked on a professional one (Omicron) and realized how hard it is to scan z steps greater than one or two atomic layers.
    # Playing around with structural DNA nanotechnology (and even more so for other stuff) requires a full-blown lab (automatic pipetting system ...)
    # I'm not sure whether larger DNA meshes can be scanned electrically with STM. If AFM is necessary it gets harder. DNA is strongly negatively charged due to its phosphate groups. If DNA structures sits dry on a surface I guess some alkali metal atoms (Na) remain on there cancelling the charge but I'm pretty sure they will be immobile.

    # Also there are very few surfaces suitable for in air imaging (HOPG, gold, maybe indium ...)
    I thought about the possibility of miniaturizing and demonitizing UHV systems and came up with the concept of this crazy contraption. (probably pure fantasy and a waste of time)…y-miniaturised-uhv-system
    It still looks very dire when one is looking for commercially available miniaturized turbopumps.
    I'm not including designs like the one on built into the mars MSL rover which was made small by raising the price - conventional ultra-pecision machining.
    The non AP MEMS friction problem is probably the reason why there are no MEMS turbopumps yet.

    I'm wondering whether atomically precise de novo protein design could be used to create atomically tight positive dispacement UHV pumps for micron to mm scale chambers? There's probably too much low atomic weight dirt from the production process remaining and heating to>200°C would hurt most proteins. Maybe with intermediate steps - gold coating a template chamber ... drifting off again ...

    In one of the foresight conference videos there was one person presenting his companies goals to produce ultra cheap STM microscopes in masses to accelerate nanotechnology research by making the tools more widely and easily accessible - sadly I can't find that video anymore. I've also forgotten the name of the presenter. It might be "Saed"?? I'm not sure.

    Only insight I can note at this point is that false theories held up progress for decades due to the human failing of judging the merit of ideas by who espoused them rather than objective analysis of the ideas. Well, some ideas sounded quite reasonable too and evidence to the contrary was considered due to experimental error, not due to an error in the theory. It seemed to take more evidence than necessary to get a theory in trouble.

    Lipid Rafts come to mind. I heard that they may not really exist but they are everywhere in the literature.
    I don't really see how that applies to advanced APM. There I more see that correct and useful old ideas have been and are still tragically misused to judge possibilities/impossibilities in a very different context where they are not applicable anymore.

    I'm thinking of a novel design for a scanning probe microscope that I can 3D print. At least the mechanical part. STMs have already been 3D printed and the common plastics like PLA and ABS have decent properties for the purpose (such as low thermal expansion coefficient.) There is at least one piezoelectric plastic that is available (Polyvinylidene fluoride) available from at least one source ( but expensive. Though my idea doesn't employ piezoelectrics, though more traditional approaches do.

    I thought of that too.
    Back then there was only one project around.
    It seems by now it is only accessible through internet backup services anymore :S
    Just for fum I made a 3D-model out of the plans they supplied.
    I wouldn't recommend to print this since it is absolutely not optimized for 3D printing - waste of plastic - ugly blocks.

    One design that I especially liked is this one:…%A1%AF%E5%BE%AE%E9%8F%A1/

    This is the one of the designs that currently rank top in the google search results:…pe-sees-individual-atoms/
    Its so minimal that there isn't much remaining to print at all

    Here's a link to a link-list to several DIY STM projects that I found in my bookmarks:

    It would certainly be cool to make atoms visible in the livingroom but I gave up on this endeavour because:
    # I worked on a professional one (Omicron) and realized how hard it is to scan z steps greater than one or two atomic layers.
    # Playing around with structural DNA nanotechnology (and even more so for other stuff) requires a full-blown lab (automatic pipetting system ...)
    # I'm not sure whether larger DNA meshes can be scanned electrically with STM. If AFM is necessary it gets harder. DNA is strongly negatively charged due to its phosphate groups. If DNA structures sits dry on a surface I guess some alkali metal atoms (Na) remain on there cancelling the charge but I'm pretty sure they will be immobile.

    Its scary how many of the links I dug through here right now are already dead.
    Luckily google image search and backup services give some chance to still find that old stuff.