There's Nanotech and Then There's Nanotech

I was struck by a comment to a recent blog entry that really had me scratching my head. The argument was that nanotechnology was at its early stages. No disagreement there from me. Well, except maybe one. Engineering materials at the nanoscale to create novel properties is at its early stages, but nanobots coursing through our bloodstream to fight diseases isn't even a twinkle in the eye, so to speak. I donâ''t want to ascribe this sentiment to the recent commenter, but there seems to be a general impression that the more radical concepts of molecular nanotechnology will somehow evolve in …

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I was struck by a comment to a recent blog entry that really had me scratching my head.

The argument was that nanotechnology was at its early stages. No disagreement there from me. Well, except maybe one.

Engineering materials at the nanoscale to create novel properties is at its early stages, but nanobots coursing through our bloodstream to fight diseases isn't even a twinkle in the eye, so to speak.

I donâ''t want to ascribe this sentiment to the recent commenter, but there seems to be a general impression that the more radical concepts of molecular nanotechnology will somehow evolve in logical progression from the work currently being done in nanomaterials. We're on the brink, whatever that means.

To use the light bulb analogy, itâ''s a bit like expecting todayâ''s computers to come out of improving the filaments of the light bulb rather than just imagining a future when thereâ''s an electric light in every room in the house.

In order for table-top factories and nanobots curing us of smoke inhalation to be realized, we will need to look at molecular nanotechnology as an independent avenue for research, with quite distinct obstacles and aims.

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