Quad F-Unit Self-Replicator
Quad F-Unit Self-Replicator
Charles  Michael  Collins
Charles Michael Collins

contact: charles_c_22191@yahoo.com







   Self-replication  via MECHAGENICS has been achieved by man within a complex and systematic method by self-replicators known as F-Units (for "Fabricating Units"). The system must be initialized and set up first as follows. Such is achieved by first using excimer lasers at ultraviolet wavelengths of usually about 193 nanometers that evoke a 1 micron "spot size" cutting path to carve out microscopic tiles that are electrically conductive and nonconductive. Aluminum and polycarbonate are usually used initially. After first providing the tiles to already existing F-Units they will fashion the tiles into vertical layers constructing another identical F-Unit within the "block" of tiles so fabricated. The F-Units independently move about the surface of the structure that they are fabricating much like a trolley car while receiving data and electrical power up through the columns of tiles through the block it fabricates upon from a computer and power source attached to the base of the block. The power and data pass up through the conductive tiles to the F-Units through their feet and is utilized. The F-Unit slides up on skids to each next layer upon completion of the prior once the next layer is well started. Once this initial "scaffolding" is intact about this electrically "charged" block, more advanced self-replicating constructions can thereafter commence beyond as liquids, gasses, energies and more complex materials can further be utilized in high resolution to provide a means to fabricate more tiles and other devices including the computer and power supply closing the loop.


  The "dabbing" of hard drying liquids such as polymers are performed upon each finished tile layer as well to complete the process to evoke needed finer details and further fuse the block. A tile manufacturing process, to attain further tiles then commences within this tile structure, mostly from further dabbing. Thereafter, fabrication of the system's own computing means from the additional tiles can be had along with further locating of resources independently once the system spans out for further fabrication and propagation bringing the system to its full self-replicating real world scope. The computing means that is assembled by the F-Units exists about a central "data track" consisting of a path of intermittent electrically conductive and nonconductive tiles usually twenty or more tiles wide. The data track is read like a commutator by the F-Units through contact with their feet as they walk upon it. The data track makes up the F-Unit's "DNA" so to speak consisting of its primary instruction code. As one foot goes down closing a conductive path on a conductive tile another foot feeds the signals back down into the block which is picked up by other worker F-Units nearby to be utilized to build objects so instructed from the data track's data including other F-Units or other parts of the system, all made of tiles. These off and on signals are utilized by the F-Units to intermittently charge electromagnetic coil actuators upon the F-Units thus animating them. The device's own ecosystem at this point can be firmly established. The initiating computer and power source can, thereafter be disconnected. Each tile location being addressed and tracked or "indexed" with error correction much like a hard drive tracks its clusters effects highly accurate high resolution constructs. Such digitally addressed areas that the F-Units utilize as their ecosystems and fabricate within while maintaining direct control, at direct cause over are called "Digital Referenced Areas" (DRA).


   The F-Unit system has the capacity to exist on a planet far away from any sun or star and fulfill its functions by only chemosynthesis (energy attained by chemical reactions only) if raw resources are present. If renewable resources are available the planet wide system will be sustainable forever. This system, therefore expresses closed independent self-replication in its purest paradigm.


  The F-Unit fabrication process successfully fabricates all of the primary mobile fabricating tool's smallest parts and support system parts and of particular note its simple actuators (motors) which have no bearings and other similar small, delicate parts. Such small parts and the otherwise needed delicate details that would have to make up the alternative actuators that have been attempted in configurations in the past would be impossible to fabricate outside of this method which has been the critical stop point in most past attempts at executing real world independent self-replications. The special technique assembles the primary unit module and all the other support structures in situ (in place) having all been particularly configured for such an assembly. Further, a highly refined and carefully thought out system is used, throughout with different fabrication techniques for different sized parts that evokes successful results in the self-replication. Tiles are placed for the larger areas with the larger tiles for very large areas and smaller ones for medium sized areas and the slower "dabbing" or paint-on techniques are employed with liquid polymers for only the very small parts or fine edges with both processes working freely and simply together interactively which all can be executed solely by the F-Units themselves. These well structured and coordinated functions culminate into a process that greatly increases the efficiency of detail so attained as well as the rate of the fabrication collectively.


   One upcoming goal is to effect evolution processes. To arrive at this the DRA will allow for imposed or random tile placement variations (mutations) and evaluations thereof under constant scrutiny of the controlling computer employing error corrections to a high order, perfect in any practical sense within a "digitally locked" DRA system. This evolution state, the next ladder in the advanced Mechagenics development stage only requiring the simplest, slowest, lowliest DRA immersed self-replicator to start, once achieved and now in the works will target improvements of not only the F-Units but the objects they fabricate and the systems they fabricate to exist within. Once achieved, such will not only ultimately provide all that is necessary in a physical universe oriented DRA but arrive at the shortest paths toward that goal, being all that is necessary. That threshold will no doubt be absolute in terms of resolution, structural efficiency for all known human needed structures and associated fabrication rates. With the speed of present day computers that threshold will be found very quickly once the internal computer evolution experiment commences.


  Other extended projects in the works include a safe, first line consumer product consisting of a fabricating chamber (12" x 12" x 12" cubic shaped "box") with 12,000 or more electrical contact points situated on the floor of the box upon which the tiles are placed by the F-Units. The contact points abut and make electrical contact with the conductive tiles within the "block" of material being built on top of it. The F-Units fill the box with different shaped and sized tiles of varying materials and dab or paint fine details with various hard drying liquids upon each finished tile layer as needed. Such liquids also serve as adhesive to assist in binding the materials so situated together. The F-units lay down the tiles, one layer then another on top of that, layer by layer leaving unattached or partially unattached tiles for support around the object, say a vase being fabricated. Electrically conductive tiles within and throughout the block provide a network of electrical power to mobilize the F-Units as they work upon the surfaces of the tiles and as well activate their tile grabber and placement features. The electrical power can be further used to actuate other various optional devices in addition to the F-Units built within the matrix such as robotic arms and gantries or the like to assist in the tile placements and move liquid reservoirs, tiles, large blocks of tiles and completed objects about as needed to improve efficiency.


  The tiles and liquid reservoirs will be supplied to the matrix affixed upon tightly wound rolls of release paper similar to a paper towel roll though somewhat larger which is mounted to the side of the "box" and rolled off of a motorized spindle. The various tiles are laser cut out of the top layer of sheet material affixed to the rolls upon release paper. The material that the tiles are cut from upon the rolls can, instead also consist of two joined layers as a means of delivering liquids to the fabrication process after being cut similarly with the lasers. The bottom layer is more resistive to the laser light stopping it, the top layer can be cut through. The two layers so joined vertically provides a means of lasering out reservoirs like miniature bath tubs upon the top layer with the bottom stop layer as the bottoms of the tubs and such can be filled with the liquid polymers or other liquids for dabbing and are sealed into the rolls when they are tightly rolled up at the laser plant where they are so fashioned. Compressed gases are delivered within blocks made of substances that dissolve when subjected to electrical power delivering mixed gasses precisely where needed. The tiles and factory completed F-Units and further other finished tools and devices can be delivered and be thereafter "picked" off the surface of the sheet release material on the rolls and then utilized by the existing F-units in the box. The F-Units achieve this with their tweeze means on their forward tips (tweezers). Liquids can also be supplied by a side tank and individual tiles can be fed as well by hand through shoots if preferred. Once the box is full and fabrication complete the vase is simply grabbed by the customer and pulled out of the top of the open box and the supporting tiles fall away like loose sand.


  To accommodate fabricating a large continuous system instead of a single object like the vase, the four walls of the box are hinged on the bottom and can be released from latches at their tops by the F-Units or the customer and fall down like a landing craft's to allow propagation growth of the DRA ecosystem outside the box along DRA charged "roads" and onto floors, walls etc. to bring about a large area DRA or a "mechahouse". Various objects can be ordered over the Internet and the customer thereafter picks up the order at the local hardware store in the form of automatically completed rolls or otherwise packed as needed tiles after his or her order is placed by the computer in the home. If you need a vase, bowl and a plate, silverware, glasses etc. or a computer chip fabricated and updated where it sits in your computer you pick them out on-line, click the execute button in the computer's software and you pick up the roll next time you're out shopping and affix it upon the box when you get home, turn it on before bed at night and get up the next day and pull your dinnerware set out of the box with your name inscribed on each and of the type material, color and shape that you personally wanted. In the case of the computer chip you just start using your computer when the computer tells you the chip (or motherboard update etc.) is finished.


  The software that comes with the computer is configured as a simple CAD/CAM operation with individual tiles in the software depicted as different colors representing various substances used to build with in the software operated like a 3D paint program. When you zoom out they appear as continuous colored areas to designate respective materials used in various areas and can be moved around en masse with your mouse pointer. Stretching and scaling of various starter objects or "primitives" (like a 12" high vase) will be available along with other tools needed. Double-clicking on a tile or area will give instructions in pop-up windows on strengths of various materials and suggest laying patterns of defined and classified "lattice structures" thereof etc.


   Another aspect of the system employs verbal control of the fabrication process. Verbal commands spoken by the system user can automatically evoke various wanted hard objects or actions by the F-Units upon request by verbally asking for the program or nested (linked together) programs by name. This is done after numerous transducers (microphones) made out of the tiles are strategically replicated within the system, positioned to receive the verbal commands with corresponding speakers to communicate back to the user. The language that the F-Unit System uses consists as follows: nouns are spoken to represent the objects to be fabricated (and what they are made of) and verbs and adjectives etc. to indicate the actions done with and to the objects and how etc. (this is simplified here).


  Completely "closed loop", independent self-replicating F-Units, as such have come to be known, though very important as they were developed for pure science research purposes are far less useful in practice than the much faster "limited" proposed replicators or "mixed" or "hybrid" self-replicators and simple fabricator combinations as set forth above as a useful fast self-replicating and fabricating product line. Their capabilities are highly extended by employing, within the mix legacy (older man made) aspects which simply further assist in the rate of self-replications and fabrications of the devices and products. The independence of the F-Units and the DRA fabricating aspects are far more useful and important than the very slow "closed loop" aspects when had considering the far more intricate, fragile and involved steps needed to have an independently operating "closed loop" self-replicator. Closed loop independent self-replicators that self-replicate independently within a very sheltered factory environment for the narrow purpose of fabricating other F-Units to deliver them thereafter upon the rolls to the home to replace those that wear out in the home will be the most optimum way to utilize such independent, closed loop self-replicator capabilities. Such would be best implemented, primarily within a broader domestic and industrial system as it would exist having been well planned and designed on a large scale. Such a system, overall can truly be defined as "self-replicating", "independent" and further expressing "digitally locked" "Digital Referenced Areas" (DRA). Such would be the optimum paradigm of this system. The independent self-replicators can, by this method be, as well guarded against theft, kept subject to countermeasures and kept out of the open population and environment where they could, otherwise possibly multiply out of control and cause trouble.


  The first self-replicating, device, the F-Unit was first made operable in 1998. It did indeed fulfill the requisite requirements to hold it as a genuine "self-replicator" in pure scientific terms for demonstration thereof. However, it was found to be exceedingly slow to self-replicate (over 6 months) due to the time needed for dabbing liquids and actuator speeds and wait times to prevent overheatings. This was due to the necessary tradeoff of efficiency for self-replicating capability built into the actuator design. The same was true with the F-Unit replicator that replicated a copy of itself that, thereafter could lay tiles and dab liquids upon command of the computer or "Data Tracks" it made but with a high error rate. Further, it had no continuous serial capability due to errors that were cumulative in a serial self-replication attempt (serial self-replication means multigenerational self-replications). Such is the same with many life forms as they exist presently. Newer designed F-Units will overcome such drawbacks. In 1997 and 1998 the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued US Patents No. 5,764,518 and 5,659,477 titled "Self Reproducing Fundamental Fabricating Machines (F-Units)" on which Charles M. Collins is the inventor.


  The scientist that designed the system predicts the tiles, liquids and gasses and the F-Units themselves may someday be delivered encapsulated and through plumbing into the home for automatic fabrication of pretty much all household objects of any reasonable resolution and very high resolution (detailed) objects can be had but at considerable slower build rates (four or five months for a computer chip for example). There would be no need to go out shopping and driving and using gasoline as products are evolutionarily perfected to customer's explicit orders on-line. He envisioned a large planet wide, fully autonomous system where huge industrial plants housing hundreds of laser banks and E-Beam (electron beam) cutters and other cutting devices work endlessly and autonomously to cut tiles and deliver them through plumbing networks to each and every home as ordered. Individual "mother" F-Units which are made of diamond and titanium that fabricate the "worker" F-Units when they wear out are actually fabricated at their requisite slow rate at the plants, precision cultivated to replace other "mother" F-units that eventually wear out as well. Such will present complete industrial autonomy at a viable rate of production.


  Such will present the long sought autonomous "closed loop" scenario in a way that is actually useful presenting the true full scope of the replicator's power in a completely autonomous, self perfecting, self-replicating, digitally referenced system. Frozen foods that are sliced into tiles or cubes with cold cutting (ablating) lasers could be delivered through insulated plumbing as well and thereafter reassembled, thawed and eaten. In fact he predicts soon the entire planet's surface including homes, buildings, roads and sidewalks may be made up of mostly "DRA-Stuff". He is certain it is absolutely inevitable because it is too useful and important and most likely the only option for a populated planet whose populations seem to never decrease and whose industrial aspects pose ecological hazards in their present forms. Overall, in situ fabrication is far more petrol efficient than any means existing widespread today. A physical Internet will be effectively had, accessed anywhere by verbal command and the system will provide the most optimum and safe fabrication solution in terms of efficiency and waste emissions and recycling. Future systems may even be able to assist flora and fauna persist in their natural habitats.


   In the past, tissue-engineering had some problems. The main one was placing living cells accurately upon a three dimensional structure where they could fuse and grow. Of late, employing thermo-reversible gels color printers have been used to attain the accuracy but such is limited to only liquid biological depositions in the gel suspension medium and limited, further because no scaffolding exists to support the liquids before they gel, at least automatically and particularly on a microscopic construct. Further, the ability to place individual cells and mix individual cells (or at least close to that) was not extant like is capable with the F-Unit fabricating system. The F-Unit system has the capacity to do the above on any level and further facilitate precision control of placement of such products amongst other hard grown structures, such as bone and interact with the construct during and after initial forming. It as well can effect post fabrication mixing of chemicals both hard and soft and further, hitherto unhad gaseous mixing. Further, the F-Unit system effects a form of precision, near single cell resolution placement process and interaction and transfer of technology between life processes that have been commandeered by the system in the form of individual cells (or larger) and its own or man's synthetic constructs.


  Further, F-units present the capability of doing it "on the fly" or in "real time" while employing evolution processes thus closing the loop on all parameters possible for self-replicating biotics or bionics in any configuration. The F-unit system turns computing power and direct precision tooling power downward and inward focusing it to full resolution on all parameters of biological and non-biological self-replication and fabrication of mass structure. Designs for biotic and bionic F-Units and biotic and bionic materials for use in fabrications or other uses as well are designed and are being prepared for development constituting new life forms and new bionic life forms. Software implementations for evolution development are designed and ready that as well employ all mixes of the above. System, planet, and galactic wide evolution imposed improvement software are an experimental project contemplated in the macro areas. With above provided, the F-Unit system will yield all that is necessary in man's technological advancement.

     Charles Michael Collins





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Charles Michael Collins

October 26, 2009

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