Claytronics: Do I need to say anything else?



In my last entry, I talked about my goal as a blogger. How I would like to take a new technology under development and write a short sci-fi story based on it. Of course, it can be difficult to find new material for this goal everyday, but I found something completely ripe with ideas called Claytronics.

What is Claytronics? Well, the video plays like one of those old 3M promotional videos, complete with cheesy narration, terrible muzak and actors. The video shows a board meeting with a few executives showing a concept car. They aren’t using a powerpoint presentation, but a model that is made out of “billions of microscopic bots”. Like you see in the picture, they are able to manipulate the shape of the car like clay, and the claytronic model seems to do exactly what you want it to. Not only does it change the shape of the headlights with one touch, but it comes apart, and change color on command. This isn’t a hologram, but something that you can touch, or even pick up.

Something like that could easily change reality as we know it. In fact, I see a claytronic age where everything is claytronic. Don’t like your car? Change it. Give yourself some extra trunk space, or trick it out, the easy way. Same thing applies to your house.

So, what direction can I go with the short story. I know, how about an age where claytronics are applied to people, and so we never know what person is real or who is claytronic.

How about this? Maybe the claytronic creations become too intelligent, then start to attack us. After all, claytronics is nothing more than nano-bots, and those stories have been done to death. Maybe claytronics will be the beginning of the “gray-goo” effect where the nanites absorb all matter until life is non-existent.

Or how about an environmental direction? Maybe making Claytronics will cost us all the trees and the seas, like in Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.

Well, to be honest, I can’t think of which way to go. Honestly, I could create a whole new sci-fi genre with this whole claytronic thing. So, I am going to leave it up to you. Ask yourself how we would live in an age of Claytronics. Then ask yourself would we live in an age of Claytronics.

Read more about it at the Carneige Mellon web site (via Gizmodo).

Technology Writer