Robert A. Freitas Jr. holds a 1974 Bachelor’s degree majoring in both physics and psychology from Harvey Mudd College, and a 1978 Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Santa Clara University. He has written more than 150 technical papers, book chapters, or popular articles on a diverse set of scientific, engineering, and legal topics. He co-edited the 1980 NASA feasibility analysis of self-replicating space factories and later authored the first detailed technical design study of a hypothetical medical nanorobot, the respirocyte, ever published in a refereed medical journal.
In 1977-78 Robert Freitas created the concept sentience quotient (SQ) as a way to describe the information processing rate in living organisms or computers. Freitas is authoring the multi-volume text Nanomedicine, the first book-length technical discussion of the potential medical applications of hypothetical molecular nanotechnology and medical nanorobotics. Volume I was published in October 1999 by Landes Bioscience while Freitas was a Research Fellow at the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing .
Also in 2004, Robert Freitas and Ralph Merkle coauthored and published Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines, the first complete survey of the field of physical and hypothetical self-replicating machines. In 2006, Freitas and Merkle co-founded the Nanofactory Collaboration, a research program to develop the first working diamondoid nanofactory.