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Measuring Nanotech's Impact on Alternative Energy Solutions or Vice Versa

An ongoing crusade to reduce the hype about nanotech for energy solutions meets a new challenge

1 min read

We all have our quixotic quests. Mine for the moment is deflating over inflated expectations of nanotechnology’s impact on alternative energy solutions for the near future.

The latest bit of “available in 5 to 10 years” material comes to us via CNN in which we get the story of Georgia Tech researchers who are exploiting the piezoelectric qualities of zinc oxide nanowires to take advantage of small human movements to generate a current that could power small devices.

We even get mention of Angela Belcher’s work at MIT in developing virus-enabled lithium-ion batteries.

It all seemed to be going progressively more into the stratosphere when my heart started to warm. I saw the end of the article concludes with the sobering quote from Michael Holman of Lux Research that "there's still a big disconnect between the hype and the reality," of nanotechnology in the energy sector.

However, the argument given to support the existence of this disconnect is unusual in that it does not describe nanotech’s impact on energy applications but rather does so by measuring the impact of energy applications on nanotech, and he quickly backtracks noting that all  this research will make possible electric cars...someday.

But this reasoning process is only a little curious, what is fascinating is this video from CNN.

You have the anchorwoman who is so clueless about the subject of nanotechnology she becomes increasingly more uncomfortable and as a result says increasingly strange things with bigger and bigger body and hand gestures. And then you have the tech correspondent, who while marginally more comfortable speaking about nanotechnology is not the typical polished TV journalist we’re used to seeing. 

 

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The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

2 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan
LightGreen

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

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