Robert A. Freitas Jr., J.D., FLFRobert A. Freitas Jr., J.D., FLF is winner of the 2009 Feynman Prize for Theory and author of Some Limits to Global Ecophagy by Biovorous Nanoreplicators, with Public Policy Recommendations. He has written about the safety and regulation of nano-replicators in great detail in the book Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines that he coauthored with Ralph C. Merkle.
While others were debating whether self-replicating nanotechnology was possible, Rob took action and described the 137-dimensional map of the replicator design space which suggests a large number of ways that replicators can be preemptively disabled or rendered incrementally safer. This map for defense is the first list of its type that has ever been compiled, and it is very extensive. Recommendations for desired/undesired replicator characteristics (relative to safety) drawn from this list could be used in a very specific regulatory regime for machine replicators. View the multidimensional Freitas-Merkle kinematic replicator design space!
Rob has degrees in physics, psychology, and law, and has written nearly 100 technical papers, book chapters, or popular articles on a diverse set of scientific, engineering, and legal topics. He coedited the 1980 NASA feasibility analysis of self-replicating space factories and in 1996 authored the first detailed technical design study of a medical nanorobot ever published in a peer-reviewed biomedical journal.
He is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing. He is author of the Nanomedicine book series, the first book-length technical treatment of the medical implications of molecular nanotechnology. Volume I: Basic Capabilities, was published by Landes Bioscience in October 1999; Volume IIA: Biocompatibility, was published by Landes Bioscience in October 2003. He has published four theoretical nanorobot scaling studies, including the respirocytes (artificial red cells), microbivores (artificial white cells), clottocytes (artificial platelets), and the vasculoid (an artificial vascular system). In a recent major collaborative effort, artist Gina Miller has finished work on a 3-minute long animation that nicely illustrates the workings of his proposed programmable dermal display (essentially, a video-touchscreen nano-tattoo that reports real-time medical information to the user, as reported back by numerous nanorobots stationed in various locations inside the body).
Rob is continuing work on the Nanomedicine series, plus conducting research in diamond mechanosynthesis (lecture, patent, book), on replicating systems, and molecular assembler research at IMM. He filed the first patent ever submitted on positional mechanosynthesis and positional diamond mechanosynthesis in 2004. In 2006 with Ralph Merkle, he launched the Nanofactory Collaboration to help coordinate ongoing research efforts that may lead to a working diamondoid nanofactory.
He is a Founding Member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of Bionanoscience, Founding Member of the Editorial Board for the journal International Journal of Nanomedicine, and is also a Founding Member of the Editorial Board for the journal Nanomedicine (Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine) which is the official publication of the American Academy of Nanomedicine. He is a Founding Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Nanorex. He is a Founding Member of the Editorial Board for the journal NanoBiotechnology. He is a Founding Member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Computational and Theoretical Nanoscience. He is Honorary Vice-Chairman of the World Transhumanist Association.
Rob is Associate Editor of Journal of Evolution and Technology. He is on the Scientific Advisory Council of TransVio Technology Ventures and Maximum Life Foundation. He is Technical Reviewer of IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology, Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine, PLoS Medicine, Nano Letters, IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part C, Quarterly Review of Biology, and of the Journal of Evolution and Technology.
He is Curator for Nanomedicine Art Gallery (Foresight Institute), and Fellow of the World Technology Network. Rob was Research Scientist at Zyvex Corporation, Earth’s first molecular nanotechnology company, from 2000 to 2004. Read his interview (Part 1 and Part 2) with Sander Olson at Nanotechnology Business!
Read his free online Xenology book which was of the first syntheses of the entire field. Read his free online publications on probe-SETI.
Rob was the peer expert reader in the fields of nanotechnology and cosmology for the 2005 Ray Kurzweil book The Singularity Is Near : When Humans Transcend Biology, he won our 2006 Guardian Award and is a Fellow of the Lifeboat Foundation.