What happens to technology after it’s had its 15-minutes of fame? We’ll take a look. Nanotechnology. Today, on Engineering Works!
Not that long ago, nanotechnology was the hottest thing around. It was going to help us do miraculous things. Medical robots that would slide inside our bodies to fix what’s wrong. Ultra-tiny electronics. It’s a long list. But these days it’s hard to find nanotechnology at all.
Or is it? Engineers say nanotechnology is right where it needs to be: hard at work in research and development labs and high-tech factories. Its image problem comes from the fact that very little nano stuff is consumer products. You’ll probably never go the mall to buy a nanoparticle. But you already may be buying products made possible by nanotechnology. And some of the products nanotechnology is making possible are really cool.
Take, for example, the diagnostic system engineers at a Massachusetts company are developing. This device, about the size of a laptop, will let doctors run diagnostic screens on blood and urine samples right in their offices. Almost instantly, without sending them out to a lab. Experts suggest it could cut the costs of such tests by a third. Sexy? No. Important? You bet. Or how about the next generation of computer chips? Look to nano to make them real. Or cancer drugs that will target and attack tumors more precisely. Nanotech again.
Nano or not, this is it for today. See you next time.
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