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False Positives Adventures in Technology, SciFi and Culture from Toronto

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Myths and realities of nano futures

Via Howard Lovy's excellent NanoBot comes a link to BBC : Myths and realities of nano futures which set a more measured tone about where the use of these technologies and techniques are today without some of the typical cheerleading of either the magic "fantastic voyage" type or the fear mongering gray (or green or blue ) goo scenarios.

Enough material for a couple of sci fi novels in there or at least some good day dreams! One question is, of course time frames. By Short term is 5 to 10 years, with the list of "Nanotechnology in our lives" as direct examples on applications of the short term uses. The Long Terms list is more 20 to 40 years out. Industries that supply or use products in the short term list should certainly be thinking about how to take advantage of these trends, or risk becoming obsolete and/or out competed.

Short term Nano uses :

  • Medical diagnostic tools and sensors

  • Solar energy collection (photovoltaics)

  • Direct hydrogen production

  • Flexible display technologies and e-paper

  • Composites containing nanotubes

  • Glues, paints and lubricants

  • New forms of computer memory

  • Printable electronic circuits

  • Various optical components


  • Some Longer-Term Nano Uses
  • Miniaturised data storage systems with capacities comparable to whole libraries' stocks

  • PCs with the power of today's computer centres

  • Chips that contain movies with more than 1,000 hours of playing time

  • Replacements for human tissues and organs

  • Cheap hydrogen storage possibilities for a regenerative energy economy

  • Lightweight plastic windows with hard transparent protective layers


  • Nanotechnology in our lives
    1 - Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) for displays
    2 - Photovoltaic film that converts light into electricity
    3 - Scratch-proof coated windows that clean themselves with UV
    4 - Fabrics coated to resist stains and control temperature
    5 - Intelligent clothing measures pulse and respiration
    6 - Bucky-tubeframe is light but very strong
    7 - Hipjoint made from biocompatible materials
    8 - Nano-particle paint to prevent corrosion
    9 - Thermo-chromic glass to regulate light
    10 - Magnetic layers for compact data memory
    11 - Carbon nanotube fuel cells to power electronics and vehicles
    12 - Nano-engineered cochlear implant


    update 1 : from Berkeley Lab Notes :A Catalyst for Nano-Energy Innovation via Boing Boing
    update 2 : Howard went and linked back to me Thanks!


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