Several years ago we published an article describing efforts toward creating nano manufacturing machines. The idea was to create mechanical contraptions able to assemble other entities one molecule at a time, if need be. Of course, this was all science fiction at the time. No one wanted to speculate when such assembly machines would appear in real life. The closest guess I saw was that such breakthroughs might be 20 years away.
Judging by the news item in the link below, that guess was only off by about 14 years. Nist researchers say they have put together a proto-prototype of such a machine. You can read about it here:
You can read our original article on nano manufacturing here: