SMART TECH: NANOTECHNOLOGY WILL CHANGE THE WORLD
Microscopic view of tiny nanowires. 1000 of these stacked side by side would be about as wide as a human hair.
July 4, 2014
Nanotechnology is a practice that involves shrinking down objects so that they can perform mechanical, electrical, or chemical processes at a much smaller scale. These small innovations can revolutionise the world, as there are many problems that can be alleviated through the process of miniaturization. There are plenty of issues and challenges that can be addressed by nanotechnology.
The world is changing at a fast rate and it can be hard to understand or keep abreast of the numerous innovations in the tech field. Nanotechnology has huge scope for not only changing the world but also bettering our collective lives. Let’s consider some of the applications of this tech subset and look at where it might take us, and how it may affect our lives.
THE BIOLOGICAL AND THE MINIATURE
Researchers from Australia and China recently created a “superhydrophobic nanostructure” based on the eye of a common green-bottle fly. This research has an application as an anti-corrosive material that could greatly increase the lifespan of generic consumer electronics.
This innovation could also be utilized within the visual/lenswear market or really in anything that’s used in a moisture rich environment.
Nanomedicine is an emerging field in the nanotechnology world and it seeks to use nanoparticles for more precise diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of diseases. At Bar-llan University researchers have developed a nanobot computer out of DNA strands. These strands were structured to act in a similar manner to a computer circuit.
The DNA strands were then injected into live cockroaches and those cockroaches were then required to perform certain tasks. The application of this technology won’t quite be seen yet but it has been suggested that these nanobots could be used to alleviate some of the problems associated with chemotherapy. Instead of the entire body being subjected to harmful radioactive rays the nanobots could deliver chemo treatment direct to the cancer cells.
The Internet of Things is gaining traction and there’s plenty of smart tech being released. This has extended to farm life and the monitoring of an animal’s well being and over all health.
The British firm General Alert is pioneering an approach that involves the use of sensors and monitoring technology on farms and relies on an IoT database. There’s also a publishing solution provided by Cambridge based company 1248. The idea is to collect data from multiple sensors to manage the productivity, health, and wellbeing of pig farms’ livestock.
In-vivo RFID and temperature tags are implanted in the pigs and it turns them into connected devices on the IoT network. The information gathered is combined with sensors that collate data on air temperature, drinking water flow, animal feed rate, humidity, CO2 concentration, ammonia levels and pH.
Any changes in the above information and metrics will provide farmers with an easy way to spot problems before they become serious.
The University of Texas in Austin USA recently revealed the world’s smallest and fastest nanomotor. This technology provides scope for the future of bionic implants and other bio-related apparatus that relies on synthetic motors.
The application for this as-yet-unreleased technology could be to administer insulin for diabetics when needed or to target and treat cancer cells without harming good, healthy cells.
The nanomotor is effectively the tool to deliver these medical applications but the technology to actually treat and administer treatment is yet to be invented. However the nanomotor itself is a reliable, ultra-high speed nanomotor that can convert electrical energy into mechanical motion on a scale 500 times smaller than a grain of salt.
There have been two major concerns when it comes to nanomotors in the past – assembly and controls. The Texas based research team has addressed both of these concerns and they built and operated the nanomotor using a patent-pending technique. It relies on AC and DC electric fields to assemble the nanomotor’s parts one by one.
Nanotechnology has the ability to completely change the way that we live our contemporary lives. Self-healing plastic is one such area and it offers us a new platform from which to greatly enhance our lives and overall health.
With the innovations surrounding 4D printing it seems that soon the internet will be able to provide us with whatever we need. Self –repairing plastic uses special chemicals to fill and solidify a given crack or hole. Effectively it means that plastic can regenerate and maintain its original (and optimal) form.
NANOTECHNOLOGY AND PHOTOSYNTHESIS
Bionic nanoparticles can “self-assemble” and effectively replicate a similar process to photosynthesis (changing light into energy). Through the mixture of bionic and organic components, scientists have successfully created a way to harness sunlight and fuel chemical reactions via a semiconductor.
It’s not an easy process and getting the nanoparticles “just right” relies on ensuring that the nanoparticles and proteins have compatible charges.
Nanotechnology provides solutions to age-old questions but its applications are still a few years (at least) away. However the potential for this type of technology is huge in scope and exciting in the way that it can influence and change our lives for the better.