World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Utility fog

Article Id: WHEBN0000518104
Reproduction Date:

Title: Utility fog  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Predictions made by Ray Kurzweil, Future of robotics, Molecular nanotechnology, Nanotechnology, Exploratory engineering
Collection: Emerging Technologies, Nanotechnology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Utility fog

Visualization of foglet with arms retracted and extended
Diagram of a 100-micrometer foglet

Utility fog (coined by Dr. John Storrs Hall in 1993[1]) is a hypothetical collection of tiny robots that can replicate a physical structure.[2][3][4][5] As such, it is a form of self-reconfiguring modular robotics.


  • Conception 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Hall thought of it as a nanotechnological replacement for car seatbelts. The robots would be microscopic, with extending arms reaching in several different directions, and could perform three-dimensional lattice reconfiguration. Grabbers at the ends of the arms would allow the robots (or foglets) to mechanically link to one another and share both information and energy, enabling them to act as a continuous substance with mechanical and optical properties that could be varied over a wide range. Each foglet would have substantial computing power, and would be able to communicate with its neighbors.

In the original application as a replacement for seatbelts, the swarm of robots would be widely spread-out, and the arms loose, allowing air flow between them. In the event of a collision the arms would lock into their current position, as if the air around the passengers had abruptly frozen solid. The result would be to spread any impact over the entire surface of the passenger's body.

While the foglets would be micro-scale, construction of the foglets would require full molecular nanotechnology. Hall suggests that each bot may be in the shape of a dodecahedron with 12 arms extending outwards. Each arm would have four degrees of freedom. The foglets' bodies would be made of aluminum oxide rather than combustible diamond to avoid creating a fuel air explosive.[5]

Hall and his correspondents soon realised that utility fog could be manufactured en masse to occupy the entire atmosphere of a planet and replace any physical instrumentality necessary to human life. By foglets exerting concerted force an object or human could be carried from location to location. Virtual buildings could be constructed and dismantled within moments, enabling the replacement of existing cities and roads with farms and gardens. While molecular nanotech might also replace the need for biological bodies, utility fog would remain a useful peripheral with which to perform physical engineering and maintenance tasks. Thus, utility fog also came to be known as ″the machine of the future".[6]

See also


  1. ^ John Storrs Hall, "Utility Fog: A Universal Physical Substance," in Vision-21: Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering in the Era of Cyberspace, G. A. Landis, ed., NASA Publication CP-10129, pp. 115-126 (1993)
  2. ^ Utility Fog: The Stuff that Dreams Are Made Of, Dr. J. Storrs Hall, July 5, 2001, KurzweilAI
  3. ^ What I want to be when I grow up, is a cloud, J. Storrs Hall, July 6, 2001, KurzweilAI
  4. ^ On Certain Aspects of Utility Fog by Dr. J. Storrs Hall
  5. ^ a b LEGOs (TM) to the Stars The Assembler, Volume 4, Number 3 Third Quarter, 1996, Tihamer Toth-Fejel
  6. ^

External links

  • Utility Fog at Nanotech Now, many links.

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.