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Nanosystems (1992) written by Eric K. Drexler - It covers the basics of atomically precise maufacturing and adheres to exploratory engineering to make reliable predictions about future technology

"Nanosystems" [1] is the main technical reference book for the far term target of atomically precise manufacturing which is crystolecule metamaterial technology.

The book is for the most part:

  • an identification of a sensible far term target technology
  • a stringently conducted feasibility study of this target technology

Only the very last chapter touches briefly and incompletely on eventual approaches that could be part of some pathways towards that target technology.

Only resource

Till day of last review of this text (2021) there is still no other book available that:

As the first and last book of its kind it leaves huge amount exploratory engineering of work that needs to be done. And as a book that does not focus on pathways it leaves even more there.

Things to note

In Nanosystems "Universal assemblers" are neither proposed nor even mentioned! In the brief section about pathways at the end the incremental pathway to "nanofactories" is discussed prominently. The only topic that may be related to the direct pathway is a discussion of pressure driven diamondoid actuators.

This wiki is written independently by third parties and does not necessarily accurately describe the ideas of the author of Nanosystems.


External links

The whole book on the internet archive here (restricted access):

Eric Drexlers 1991 MIT dissertation is as he wrote
"a draft of Nanosystems" and was published by him for free to read.
Unfortunately his website is completely gone now (as of 2021-03).

Note that some parts are missing in the dissertation compared to the book including (not an exhaustive list):

  • Nanosystems 11.6 Electromechanical devices (page 333) including 11.7. DC motors and generators (page 336)
  • The final Nanofactory analysis listing an example System Table 14.1 (page 422)
  • ...

On K. Eric Drexlers website (recovered via internet archive):


  1. Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation - by K. Eric Drexler (1992)