Several countries are developing nanoweapons that could unleash attacks using mini-nuclear bombs and insect-like lethal robots.
While it may be the stuff of science fiction today, the advancement of nanotechnology in the coming years will make it a bigger threat to humanity than conventional nuclear weapons, according to an expert. The U.S., Russia and China are believed to be investing billions on nanoweapons research.
“Nanobots are the real concern about wiping out humanity because they can be weapons of mass destruction,” said Louis Del Monte, a Minnesota-based physicist and futurist. He’s the author of a just released book entitled “Nanoweapons: A Growing Threat To Humanity.”
According to Del Monte, nanoweapons are much smaller than a strand of human hair and the insect-like nanobots could be programmed to perform various tasks, including injecting toxins into people or contaminating the water supply of a major city.
Another scenario he suggested the nanodrone could do in the future is fly into a room and drop a poison onto something, such as food, to presumably target a particular individual.
The federal government defines nanotechnology as the science, technology and engineering of things so small they are measured on a nanoscale, or about 1 to 100 nanometers. A single nanometer is about 10 times smaller than the width of a human’s DNA molecule.
While nanotechnology has produced major benefits for medicine, electronics and industrial applications, federal research is currently underway that could ultimately produce nanobots.
For one, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has a program called the Fast Lightweight Autonomy program for the purpose to allow autonomous drones to enter a building and avoid hitting walls or objects. DARPA announced a breakthrough last year after tests in a hangar in Massachusetts.
Previously, the Army Research Laboratory announced it created an advanced drone the size of a fly complete with a set of “tiny robotic legs” — a major achievement since it presumably might be capable of entering a building undetected to perform surveillance, or used for more nefarious actions.
Frightening details about military nanotechnologies were outlined in a 2010 report from the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency, including how “transgenic insects could be developed to produce and deliver protein-based biological warfare agents, and be used offensively against targets in a foreign country.”
It also forecast “microexplosives” along with “nanobots serving as [bioweapons] delivery systems or as micro-weapons themselves, and inhalable micro-particles to cripple personnel.”