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Nanotechnology for homeland security?

from the sniffing-around-with-nanodevices dept.
Gina Miller writes "Accoring to the Detroit News (Sept. 27, 2002), 9-11 drives advances in nanotechnology: 'The events of Sept. 11 have focused awareness, increased funding and accelerated the commercialization of micro- and nanotechnology devices that can sense minute traces of chemical, biological and nuclear agents in the air or water …' The focus of the article is MEMS and microsystems companies that currently produce handheld devices for monitoring air and water quality, and are working on smaller devices. Will homeland security also push development of molecular manufacturing and medical and other nanobots?"

3 Responses to “Nanotechnology for homeland security?”

  1. RobertBradbury Says:

    Not anytime soon

    There is a big difference between macroscale detectors that can detect dozens or hundreds of molecules and nanoscale machinery that hasn't even been designed yet. There are more atoms in a nanoassembler than there are parts in a Boeing 767. The design problem is big and the assembly problem is even bigger.

  2. Mr_Farlops Says:

    Other governments are moving in this direction too

    I just found an article from the Russian news agency Rosbalt, mentioning research by Moscow State University. Apparently chemists and biotechnologist there have developed similar toxicology sensors. Not too surprisingly paranoia is driving nanotech research both here and abroad.

  3. Corwin Says:

    Re:Other governments are moving in this direction

    Well the 'counterterrorist' and 'homeland security' bit may be paranoia… but given how some environmental regs work…. toxin sensors like this might be very useful. ;)

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