Mihail Roco, Senior NSF Advisor on nanotech, gave a plenary talk at the Nanoethics conference recently. One of his slides was on synthesis and control of nanomachines, and noted that about 300 projects had been funded in 2004. Later he referred me to two websites: the NSE site where he said were listed 50-60 NNI-funded centers focused on 3rd-4th generation nanomachines/nanosystems, and the NNI site where a search on awards would show 300-400 grants with nanomachine or nanosystem in the title or abstract. Read More for the results and request for help.
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In a talk at the recent Nanoethics conference, NNI's Mihail Roco described plans for third and fourth generation nanotechnology, and very briefly sketched a fifth generation — robotics and guided assembly. This was supplemented by paper copies of an article he wrote for AIChE Journal. Long-time readers of Nanodot will find the terminology new but the concepts familiar. Read More for a summary.
Nanopolis writes "The "Exploring Nano-Biotechnology" multimedia encyclopedia, the 4th tome of the Nanopolis e-collaborative series will be worldwide available in March 2006. Containing extremely intuitive multimedia explanations of the concepts, improved analytic techniques, deeper understanding of diseases, deciphering of cellular mechanisms, novel drug development techniques, summary charts show the major players associated with each concept along with the references necessary for further insight. These topics along with other 4000 computer generated films and e-courses from the previous volumes on Synchrotron, Neutrons and Nanotechnology will be accesible through the Nanopolis e-learning platform giving European, American and Asian academic environments access to the largest multimedia educational source on nanoscale science and engineering. Hundreds of world-wide actors contribute to its finalizing through the e-collaborative Nanopolis platform at http://www.nanopolis.net"
bhelfrich writes "Nano-Hive version 1.1.0 for win32-x86 is now available for download. *nix distros will be made available in the coming weeks.
This release adds support for running multiple, multi-threaded simulations simultaneously, each able to access multiple Physical Interaction plugins.
We've also added new plugins.
- MPQC_SClib – This plugin encapsulates the functionality of the Scientific Computing Toolkit (SC) used by the Massively Parallel Quantum Chemistry Program (MPQC).
- OpenBabelImportExport – This Data Import/Export plugin adds the ability to read and write many new file types by encapsulating the OpenBabel library.
- SocketsControl – Control Nano-Hive via a TCP socket with this Simulation Control plugin.
- BondCalculator – This Physical Interaction plugin discovers molecules in the simulation space and specifies bonds to describe them.
- BasicCellTraverser – This Entity Traversal plugin divides the simulation space up into sub-cells for multi-threaded calculation.
Also included in this release is an alpha version of the HiveKeeper Graphical User Interface for Nano-Hive (http://www.nano-hive.org/hivekeeper/). The capabilities of the alpha version includes visualization of the molecular structures even while the simulation is running.
Editors comment — but when will the software be available for non-windows systems? "*nix" distros in coming weeks sounds rather vague.
UVa MRSEC Center for Nanoscopic Materials Design writes "Press Release from UVa?s Center for Nanoscopic Materials Design; For Immediate Release:
UVa MRSEC & Paladin Pictures Recognized for Nanotechnology Education Video.
Charlottesville, Virginia – March 1, 2005 – The University of Virginia's Center for Nanoscopic Materials Design and Paladin Pictures, Inc. have received The Communicator Awards' Award of Distinction for their creation of a video program entitled The NANO Revolution. UVa's Center for Nanscopic Materials Design is a National Science Foundation (NSF)-sponsored Materials Research Science & Engineering Center (MRSEC). The NANO Revolution is a seven-minute educational video, filmed primarily in the research labs of the UVa MRSEC and designed to introduce the concept of nanotechnology and its applications to a target audience of middle- and high-school students and the general public. The Communicator Awards is an annual, international competition honoring excellence in visual communications. The Award of Distinction formally recognizes the UVa MRSEC/Paladin Pictures production for exceeding industry standards.
Arya writes "Grey Goos' Nanotech Comic Strip Looks at the Light Side of the Human/Technology Relationship
The First Comic for Nanoheads Now on NanoApex
March 10, 2005 – As our story begins, a group of highly advanced nanobots, built for hazardous duty and dubbed "Grey Goos," have escaped from the National Transistor Assembly Labs. These little critters, each with a different technical specialty and a distinct personality, look rather like drops of soft ice cream in hiking boots. They end up in New York City, living in a loft with Dorothea (Dot) Kalm and Globo Bill, a couple of "constructs" who also have escaped from the same lab. Meanwhile, scientists at the lab have created a nanocop they've named Blue Goo, whose job is to round up the wayward Grey Goos and return them to the lab.
Ed. note in extended copy.
Very quick summary from the first full day of the University of South Carolina nanoethics conference: many calls for greater and earlier ("upstream") participation by social scientists and ethicists in nanotechnology R&D decisions, repeated evidence of continued confusion between molecular manufacturing and gray goo, much concern about the possibility of human enhancement, a few admissions that ethicists may have a conflict of interest in taking funds from agencies tasked with developing the technology they are questioning. Repeated assertions that the public does not trust scientists — in Europe. Audience mostly academic/gov't social scientists/ethicists with very strong European presence, almost no Asian presence, very few nanoscientists/nanotechnologists. Fun discussions in the hallways; as is so often the case (including at meetings I put together), many of the best parts of the conference take place informally. Some of the most interesting talks will be on Days 2 and 3.–CP
Judy Conner at Foresight brings to our attention: "A new European Commissioned-funded project, Nanologue www.nanologue.net, is launched this week, bringing together leading researchers from across Europe to facilitate an international dialogue on the social, ethical and legal benefits and potential impacts of nanoscience and nanotechnologies…Nanotechnology could have a radical impact across many fields, from drug delivery to textile manufacture, environmental monitoring to microprocessing. With potential social and economic benefits will come responsibilities for ensuring social, ethical and legal concerns are met while enabling competitive advantage for European business."
Rick writes "The European Commission has recognised the European Nanoscience & Nanotechnology Master of Science course as an Erasmus Mundus Master. Participating in this course are Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands), Leiden University (The Netherlands), Leuven University (Belgium), Dresden University of Technology (Germany) and Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden). In the near future, France will also join the consortium. Background information follows…
Janet Rae-Dupree of the San Jose Business Journal reports that Microsoft is an investor in Nanochip, which uses AFM arrays to read and write chips with up to a terabit per square inch. They're not at the atomic level yet, but wait: "While the term 'atomic force' may make it sound like the data is being stored by manipulating individual atoms, the truth is that each individual bit is made up of hundreds of molecules, [CEO Gordon Knight] says. 'That's the beauty of this technology,' he says. 'It does have legs. We can see it getting finer and finer in the future with better tips and better media.' " Credit KurzweilAI.net
Elaine Tschorn and Judy Conner at Foresight bring to our attention this report from Campus Germany: "Currently, more than half of Europeís nanotechnology companies are from Germany and of all the patent applications from across the world, German researchers are only beaten by the Americans in terms of quantity…In total, the Government spends around 300 million euros a year on nanotechnology, a figure which, relatively, is higher than that in the USA."
From politics.co.uk: "UK Science Minister Lord Sainsbury was responding to a year-long nanotech study conducted by the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering, which recommended precaution and regulation of the controversial industry…Lord Sainsbury pledged a review of current safety regulations to ensure the safeguarding of people's health and the environment, and announced a new cross-government group to co-ordinate all aspects of research into nanoscience to underpin safety assessments." This does not sound much like what one activist group had hoped for (see Read More below). UPDATE: Here's the BBC view.
Those of you trying to track what is going on in nanotech in Asia should visit our friends over at Asian Technology Information Program and monitor their Nano News page, which has some of their nano reports posted free, including Soft Nanomachine Science: "Although there are many unknown factors, it is possible to design a simple soft nanomachine. However, applications for soft nanomachines have not been developed and the technology is still at a very basic research stage." If you can justify it economically, get a subscription and read them all.
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The first U.S. Nanosystems Engineering degree program has been announced, and not perhaps where one would expect it: "The Louisiana Board of Regents granted final approval Thursday for Louisiana Tech to offer the nanosystems engineering degree program, the first such program in the nation." It sounds as though the mechanical engineers had a hand in this, which is encouraging.
But as an MIT alum, where nanosystems work first started back in the late '70s, I am disappointed that the Institute of Technology doing this starts with an L instead of an M. Must the future of nanotech be in Ruston instead of Cambridge?
Readers interested in how nanomedicine and related products will be regulated may want to explore the new US Food and Drug Administration nanotechnology website, which includes "FDA Regulation of Nanotechnology Products" and six Powerpoint presentations (also posted as html). They've borrowed their nanotech definition from NSF's, which requires a length scale of 1-100 nanometers, and at the same time, controlling or manipulating on the "atomic" scale. Which is it: up to 100 nm, or atomic? This NSF definition has never made sense to me. (The agencies' actual behavior seems to use the 1-100 nm version.)–CP
- Slugfest in the Nanotech Trenches
Competitors in this young field, fearful of being elbowed aside, are going all out to establish themselves as the leaders. With the stakes so high, it's no wonder
- High IPO Hurdles for Nanotechs
It's not easy for them to go public these days, especially for the broader "nano-platform" companies. Their time may be coming, however
- The Worries over Nano No-Nos
Could the same properties that make the tiny particles so effective also turn them into efficient troublemakers inside the human body?
- Oklahoma: Nanotech Hotbed?
Yep, along with Cleveland, Albany, and other areas way off tech's beaten coastal paths. This time, the geographic field is wide open
- A Nanotech Pioneer's Sober Assessment
Goundbreaking researcher Stan Williams of HP says it's clear that "the 'knee' in the curve is still another five or more years away"
The Feb. 22 New York Times has an article by Kenneth Chang giving an overview of nanoparticle progress: "Shrinking some medicines to nanoparticle size could improve effectiveness… Greater surface area also makes nanoparticles well suited for certain types of environmental cleanup…But nanoparticles may have potential dangers that are still not well understood."
The NY Times (registration required) is running an article today "Tiny is Beautiful: Translating 'Nano' Into Practical which quotes many of the 'known' names such as Dr. Mirkin and Dr. Alivisatos.
But much of what is discussed is nanoscale chemistry and/or nanoscale physics and not "nanotechnology". As Dr. Alivisatos says, "They're just little rocks."
How does one communicate to writers for the publications between the scientists and the public, such as Kenneth Chang at the NY Times, as well as the people approving "nanotechnology" research grants, the differences between what one gets simply from making something small and what one gets from engineering complex machines at a nano-scale?
Perhaps more importantly, how does one communicate to the VC firms such differences (making something which is small vs. engineering small machines) and how does one judge investment models based upon this?
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.)