Newswise — At
first blush, nanotechnology (defined as working with
things at the scale of a billionth of a meter - a
nanometer) might seem little different from the work
that semiconductor manufacturers routinely do today
to make the chips that put incredible computing power
on our desks and into our pockets. Indeed, today's
semiconductor chips are incredibly complex and their
internal components are already nanotech-tiny; some
structures are just four to six nanometers -- a fewatoms(!)
So, in one vein, we've been living with in-our-pockets
nanotechnology for years.
A major difference between traditional computer
chip manufacturing and the more generalized genre
of "nanotechnology" is that nanotech focuses not
just on elements within a computer chip, but in working
with atoms and molecules in their own right, to create
purpose-built structures and even machines that would
be impossible using traditional manufacturing techniques.
Today, we almost exclusively 'tear things down'
(such as from a tree trunk or a block of metal) rather
than 'building things up' from their nano-sized atomic
and molecular constituent parts. The thing is, our
'tear it down' manufacturing is highly wasteful of
energy and of raw materials, and it dramatically
limits what we can build. As we get better at working
with things at the nano scale, especially considering
that the structures that build "us" also fall in
this size range(!), working in the nanosphere promises
to turn just about everything around us, including "us," on
our (figurative) ears.
That's rather a sweeping statement, so let's get
some concrete ideas (many already being explored
in the labs) of what nanotech may bring:
The above is from an article written by technology
expert Jeff Harrow. The entire article can be found
About Jeffrey Harrow
Jeff, now Principal at The Harrow Group, was the
chief technologist for the Corporate Strategy Groups
of both Compaq and Digital Equipment Corporation.
As the author and editor of the Web-based multimedia
technology journal and Webcast originally known as
the "Rapidly Changing Face of Computing", Jeff has
shared his fascination with the trends of contemporary
computing and the technologies that drive them with
tens of thousands of people globally for nearly twenty
years. His new journal, The Harrow Technology Report,
available on the Web at http://www.TheHarrowGroup.com ,
continues and significantly expands on this tradition.
Jeff is the co-author of a book, "The Disappearance
of Telecommunications," and his commentaries on technology
have been carried in numerous electronic and traditional
media around the globe including Discover Magazine,
United Press International, NanoNews-Now, and many
others. He has also been interviewed on technology
futures for TV programs, such as the History Channel's "Modern
Marvels," and is an ongoing judge for Disney's Discover
Magazine "Innovation Awards."
Jeff has numerous patents issued and on file in
the areas of network management and user interface
technology, and he is a commercial pilot. He brings
these and other technological interests together
to help people "look beyond the comfortable and obvious," so
that they don't become road-kill on the Information
About Future Brief
Quantum physics, terrorism, Moore's Law, global
warming, increasing human migration, incurable deadly
viruses, ever more sophisticated surveillance, the
list goes on and on. We speak of "global community",
but can forget that community-building has always
been a painful experience in human history. The reward
potential is balanced by the risk potential. Neither
should be ignored.
Scientists today speak of the "NBIC convergence" -
the interaction of advances in nanotechnology, biotechnology,
the information sciences, and the cognitive sciences.
Future Brief takes one step back and looks at the
greater convergence of the accelerating changes in
science and technology with the equally rapidly accelerating
changes in society and politics.
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This convergence is of critical importance to all
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