"Transformational advances in CBD [chemical and biological defense] are expected to depend heavily on biologically inspired technology. A leading vision in this direction is a conceptual platform known as the abiotic networked threat system (ANTS). ANTS is based on lessons learned from biology, incorporating abiotic homologues to biological recognition events and metabolic pathways to provide programmable capabilities to sense and respond to environmental threats. Further, it is a complete platform architecture with intelligent preprocessing and network capability and is envisioned to be embedded in all aspects of CBD including detection, communication, activation of response systems, and protection systems. The six major components in ANTS are: (1) Molecular recognition elements for xenobiotic threats; (2) Materials for synthetic matrices; (3) Signal transduction in biotic, hybrid and synthetic systems; (4) Power generation at the nanoscale; (5) Computational tools for design of abiotic units, devices and modules; (6) Combinatorial design and deployment of synthetic systems. On a very simplified level, the objective is a collection of self-sustaining micro- or mesoscale devices that mimic the xenobiotic (i.e., from outside the cell or tissue) threat recognition, response and adaptation of living cells. These units would operate as a decentralized network, communicating with one another, processing information, and triggering responses which may exhibit emergent properties. Recognition elements, power, signal transduction, and networking are generally recognized as essential and challenging areas for research in this concept. Less obvious are the challenges associated with the physical support matrix required to support and shelter the units. This report addresses area 2, materials for synthetic matrices."
National Defense University, Center for Technology and National Security Policy: http://www.ndu.edu/CTNSP/