Bionano, Bionanotechnology

organic / biological devices capable of modifying their environment with molecular or atomic scale precision

Image from Bernd Helfert

Bimolecular Nanotechnology (Bionanotech). Use of biomolecules as replicators, assemblers, or components for molecular nanotechnology; any molecular nanotechnology based on such biomolecules or biotech. Biomolecular Nanotechnology tends to be more reliable and also to have a higher adaptive/evolutionary capacity than inorganic nanotechnology (hylonanotech). It may be used as stand-alone nano or interfaced with living systems.

Bionanotech - Data Panel

Definition1/ neogenic micro- and nano-organisms and organelles that function as nanites
2/ organic / biological devices capable of modifying their environment with molecular or atomic scale precision
3/ nanites constructed of organic molecules, using the same chemistry and metabolic pathways as life itself (also Sytech)
A few alternative termsBionano, Wet nano, Soft nano, Soft bots
LevelHi Tech to Ultratech
ScaleMicrotech to Nanotech
SubstrateOrganic - CHON
Applicationalmost any use, allowing for environmental limitations
Distribution and Availabilityfound in all The Sephirotics, almost all Deeper Covenant polities, among most xenosophont empires, as well as in most regions outside the metaempires.
Developed Worlds: universally available, and accessible to all sophonts, apart from proscribed templates. The greatest diversity can be found in the Zoeific Biopolity
Elsewhere: widely available, but depends on polity
Legal Status:Basic templates and genomes public domain; restricted templates and genomes available for wealthy, powerful, or in many Free Zones; proscribed templates and genomes can be had outside angelnetted and supervised polities for those who know where to look. Zoeific Biopolity and NoCoZo have the most liberal laws and freest restrictions. Restricted use in ahuman polities and regions.
Environmental Requirementsmost biotech requires specific environments
Use, Care and MaintenanceMost bionano has specific applications, depending on genome and template. It is not as versatile as some dry nano, and in some cases requires care and feeding, although other forms of bionano can easily function without supervision. Most bionano is self-healing, some is self-replicating
Popular WithMany clades and phyles of sapient grade and above, especially biocentric and biosupremacist groups; not used by prim, and some ludd, vec, and ai clades and phyles
During the 21st century c.e., nanotech proved a lot more elusive than was previously thought. Despite claims of a "three week revolution" in the early decades of the century, progress remained slow, and drexlerian assemblers were not found to be practical. Instead, developments in nanotech during this period more often involved organic components. The resulting "bionanotech" was still sufficient to initiate a real "second industrial revolution" in the middle and second half of the 21st century, providing mass-produced and cheap biochips (information, virtual reality, micro/organic computers), reactive clothing (changes colour with the wearer's mood), artificial life forms, advanced genetic engineering (paving the way for the "tweaks" and "splices", and of course polybuckminsterfullerene and all the other magic components to make space habitats and interplanetary colonisation possible.

Despite later developments in dry nanotech (drexlers and other mechanical assemblers), bionanotech retained tremendous popularity. One reason was the great adaptability of the bioassemblers, which were also cheap and reliable. Mechanical assemblers tended to break down and eventually cease functioning, whilst bionanites had greater redundancy and reliability, even mutational and self-healing properties. While not as environmentally robust as drynano or even synano, in the right environments, bionano can be very effective.

One large-scale application of baionanotech is biocomputing, using bacteria-scale organisms as computational elements. Many worlds have a subterranean layer of artificially introduced biogeocomputers which are an important part of the dataspace of Terragen Civilisation
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    The design and development of medical technology, especially medical nanotechnology. Includes design and development of customized medical nanobots, synthetic biomaterials, large, small, cellular, and subcellular-scale body imaging and sensors, bio- and cybernetic implants and augmentations.
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    Biological mesotech; like bionano but on a meso- rather than a nano- scale.
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    An individual bionano unit - a biological/organic nanobot.
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    Suspension of all biological activity, by infusing the patient with cryoprotective chemicals and freezing or vitrifying (cryonic suspension), or by chemically bonding cellular components in place. See Nanostasis.
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev

Initially published on 10 June 2000.