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Archive for the 'Memetics' Category

It had to happen: Nanotechnology for Dummies

Posted by Christine Peterson on July 20th, 2005

You may like the “for Dummies” series, or dislike it, but surely it was inevitable that there would be a Nanotechnology for Dummies book, due out in five days. I can’t tell from the description whether this will be a useful introduction or not, but am always a bit nervous when the first phrase is [...]

Nanotech risks: a challenging topic

Posted by Christine Peterson on April 28th, 2005

Concerned about real or imagined risks in nanotechnology? Check out the report of a European workshop on Risk Perception and Risk Communication in the Field of Nanotechnologies. Excerpt: "There are some peculiarities of Nanotechnology which make the risk assessment challenging. The first aspect is the diversity of Nanotechnology. Because Nanotechnology is mainly defined in terms of size, a huge variety of different techniques, research topics, methods of creating or structuring materials, and manipulating surfaces are summarized under the term of Nanotechnology. Very often, the proponents have quite different things in mind when they are talking about Nanotechnology." Er, indeed so. –CP

“More Than Human” now available

Posted by RobertBradbury on March 14th, 2005

Foresight Senior Associate Ramez Naam informs us that his book More Than Human has been released.

Here's a description of the book:
"More Than Human is about our growing power to alter our minds, bodies, and lifespans through technology. Over the last 5-10 years scientists and doctors have learned an incredible amount about how to enhance memory, improve physical performance, rewrite our genes, alter the rate of aging, and even how to connect our brains directly with computers and robots. This is not science fiction – this is the research happening in labs around the world right now, research that's restored sight to blind men and women, created mice that live to the age of 200 in "human years", and given the paralyzed the ability to control computers just by thinking about it."

More…

Nanosystems animations in Museum of the Future

Posted by Christine Peterson on February 26th, 2005

Two molecular mechanisms from the book Nanosystems have been animated by Gina Miller: a rotary sorter and a molecule binding and orienting mechanism. Such graphics are highly useful for communicating molecular machine concepts to both technical and non-technical audiences. Great job, Gina!

Wikipedia needs help with nanotech

Posted by Christine Peterson on February 21st, 2005

Wikipedia is an free online encyclopedia written cooperatively using WIKI technology. Their nanotechnology entry seems to need tweaking: the illustration appears to be of MEMS, not nanotech. Those of you familiar with this community: please help them out by suggesting a more appropriate graphic. (The molecular nanotechnology entry needs a graphic too.)

Nano-buzzword based marketing

Posted by RobertBradbury on January 28th, 2005

Dr_Barnowl writes "A somewhat dubious product was recently released by BatMax (See here for technical details.) It was apparently convincing enough to be posted by a Slashdot moderator (here).

The company basically claims it can drastically improve the performance of your mobile phone battery with what amounts to a stick-on decal. The spurious and unscientific descriptions of the technology (allegedly) involved are nothing special, apart from the association with nanotechnology.

It would seem that it's not just manufacturers of sunblock, tennis rackets and trousers that have cottoned on to the "magical" properties of putting a *10-9 in your product blurb. If this becomes commonplace, what kind of damage will it do to the funding prospects of projects promising similarly outrageous (but scientifically feasible) benefits as a result of genuine MNT?"

Ed. Note: Hmmm… a "nano-ceramic" — aren't most ceramics "nano-" in nature?

Intel’s ‘Nano Inside’

Posted by Christine Peterson on November 26th, 2003

HLovy writes "Intel says it's now a master of the 65-nanometer domain. But are these nanochips truly "nanotechnology?" I was surprised when "Engines of Creation" and "Nanosystems" author Eric Drexler — whom I had assumed to be a molecular manufacturing purist — told me he thought they qualified.

"People sometimes perceive me as saying, 'Oh, you shouldn't use the term this new way,'" Drexler told me in October. "What I've actually been saying is we need to understand that it's being used in a new way … that has a certain relationship to the field."

The complete commentary can be found on Howard Lovy's NanoBot."

Nanotechnology as “The Heart of Darkness”

Posted by Jim Lewis on November 12th, 2003

HLovy writes with an example of how "misrepresentations, distortions and half-truths" are being used to advocate a moratorium on nanotechnology research: "Apocalypse Nano"

Nanotechnology as Frankenstein of our Era

Posted by Jim Lewis on November 12th, 2003

HLovy asks whether nanotechnology has become one of the "Golems of our Era"

Medical Nanobot Image Wins “Science Concepts” Prize

Posted by Jim Lewis on October 21st, 2002

from the nanomedicine-art-goes-mainstream dept.
Nanotechweb reported on Sept. 24, 2002 that Nanotechnology picture scoops prize "A nanotechnology image has won first prize in the 'Science Concepts' section of the 2002 Visions of Science Awards. The image shows a nanomedicine application, in which a 'nano-louse' device administers treatment to red blood cells." [A larger version of the image.] The image was created by digital illustrator Coneyl Jay and the award was originally reported in the Daily Telegraph (requires free registration).

Will nanobots alter how our brains function?

Posted by Jim Lewis on October 4th, 2002

from the So-what's-really-real dept.
Gina Miller writes "An audience at the Boston Fall Sensors Expo conference and exhibition was exposed in a keynote entitled 'The Rapidly Shrinking Sensor: Merging Bodies and Brain' to the idea that within a few decades nanodevices will fundamentally alter how our brains function. A September 26 EETimes article Inventor foresees implanted sensors aiding brain functions reports 'provocative predictions' by speech-recognition pioneer and Foresight Advisor Ray Kurzweil that 'by 2030 nanosensors could be injected into the human bloodstream, implanted microchips could amplify or supplant some brain functions, and individuals could share memories and inner experiences by 'beaming' them electronically to others'."

A Senator’s views on Nanotech R&D

Posted by Jim Lewis on September 27th, 2002

from the Getting-it-right? dept.
UPI published an interview with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a few days after his 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act passed Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approval and headed for the Senate floor (see Nanodot post Sept. 25, 2002). The interview is noteworthy for the perspective it gives on the major ideas motivating one major sponsor of government funding of nanotechnology development.

Senate Committee passes nanotech bill

Posted by Jim Lewis on September 26th, 2002

from the gathering-influential-supporters dept.
Legislation to advance nanotechnology research and development advanced toward full Senate consideration, unanimously passing the Senate Commerce Committee on Sept. 19: Senate Committee Passes Nanotech Bill. For earlier coverage of the recent Senate scrutiny of nanotechnology, see Nanodot post of Sept. 18, 2002, the written opening statements of hearing witnesses, and Nanotechnology bill introduced in Senate.

Educating future nanotechnologists

Posted by Jim Lewis on August 23rd, 2002

from the exploring-very-small-frontiers dept.
The International Journal of Engineering Education has published a Special issue on Nanotechnologies (Volume 18 number 5, September 2002). The Table of Contents is available on the Web. Michael Wald, Editor, writes that single copies are available at US$35+US$15 postage. Inquire at ijee@eircom.net.

Biomolecular nanotechnology meme spreads

Posted by Jim Lewis on August 18th, 2002

from the very-small-cyborgs dept.
An article in The Arizona Republic of Aug. 06, 2002 Molecule-size machines the wave of the future, ASU scientists say reports that researchers at Arizona State University "think the body's billions of tiny machines are a key to a new field that has excited scientists, government officials and investors around the world."

Report sparks technology utopia dialog

Posted by Jim Lewis on August 15th, 2002

from the staking-out-the-future dept.
What utopia can technology deliver?, a Tech Update article by Dan Farber, August 9, 2002 continues the dialog sparked by the NSF/DOC report Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance. While recommending the report as an important document for considering what future technologies will bring, Farber finds some of the report's suggestions "hard to buy."

Converging Technologies report garners more attention

Posted by Jim Lewis on August 7th, 2002

from the courageously-extended-necks dept.
pedro writes "I caught at /. a reference to a cnet article summarizing the report by the national science foundation and the department of commerce entitled 'Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance: Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology, and Cognitive Science'. It's an interesting read, and I hope it prepares me to the report itself (405 pages)."

Rename Feynman/Drexler Nanotech to Mechutech

Posted by Jim Lewis on August 5th, 2002

from the what's-in-a-name dept.
PatGratton writes with a "fairly radical suggestion" to distinguish molecular manufacturing/molecular nanotechnology, as proposed by Eric Drexler in Engines of Creation and Nanosystems, from other nanoscale science and technologies currently covered by the term nanotechnology. Following is his abstract of his argument. "The full argument is available on my web site: Nanotech vs. Nanotech (Part 1) is intended for a general audience, while Nanotech vs. Nanotech (Part 2) is intended for Feynman/Drexler nanotech advocates. Each document is about two pages."

Government report takes bold look at future

Posted by Jim Lewis on July 25th, 2002

from the give-credit-where-credit-is-due dept.
In his column Unfogging the Future on Tech Central station, Foresight Director Glenn H. Reynolds writes about a new government report entitled Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance (the subject of a Nanodot post July 13, 2002) as a salient example of something the government did right. Reynolds applauds the report's frank assessment that radical technological changes are coming, and its realization that delay in dealing with these changes may mean being overwhelmed by catastrophe.

Nanoscale tech vs. Mechanosynthesis

Posted by Christine Peterson on February 21st, 2002

from the terminology-drift dept.
Cryptologist Hal Finney points out on the Extropy mailing list that Foresight's views of molecular nanotechnology are still not generally accepted, despite all the funding of "nanotechnology". Read More for his post. Yet there are a few brave researchers who take self-replication via nanotechnology seriously in public; see the end of this interview with Harvard's Charles Lieber in The Deal: "There really are some fundamental scientific problems where you can end up creating self-replicating things and invading bodies, but I don't worry about that at this point." He's right not to worry that this might happen soon. However, since it is a possibility, some of us are putting time into thinking about it in advance — it's a tough problem to head off, and figuring it out will take some time.