Definitions

Universal assembler

Universal assembler

A Universal Assembler is a construction machine that manipulates and builds with individual atoms, molecules, or other units, originally studied by John von Neumann who is also known for his work on universal computers. Assemblers capable of making any object are called universal assemblers. Just like the universal computer, the universal assembler need not have a definite architecture. This device theoretically makes complete copies of itself given raw materials and energy, like an automaton. However, functions would not be limited to self-replication. Possible applications of universal assemblers are only limited by what the universal computer can instruct/generate. One of the goals of long-term nanotech research is the production of programmable self-replicating, universal assemblers. As for self-replication, see the von Neumann probe designs as well as cellular automata.

Fiction

In science fiction, such assemblers have been called matter compilers, and occasionally synthesizers or replicators.

Universal assemblers in Nature

Nature abounds with self-replicating assemblers such as bacteria, which can be reprogrammed to perform some types of tasks by genetic engineering. Some progress has been made in this area, where researchers have inserted genes for a particular protein into a bacterium. One of the first examples of this is the immune-system hormone interferon.

See also

Search another word or see Universal Assembleron Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature