Documenting the Coming Singularity

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Nanofrontiers: A Vision of the Future

The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies is reporting on a recent NanoFrontiers Workshop, where Nanofrontiers: Visions for the Future of Nanotechnology made its debut.
Controlling the properties and behavior of matter at the smallest scale—in effect, “domesticating atoms”—can help to overcome some of the world’s biggest challenges, concludes a new report on how diverse experts view the future of nanotechnology. This event marks the release of Nanofrontiers: Visions for the Future of Nanotechnology, by Karen Schmidt. This is a new publication that highlights the findings of a Washington, DC meeting organized by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson Center.
A brief excerpt:
It seems that the sky is the limit on what might one day be accomplished with nanostructured artificial tissues and nano-enhanced prosthetic devices…Perhaps what now seems almost like science fiction will one day seem like a historic paradigm shift that helped us solve some of our most pressing and complex problems.
Relevant to nearly every industry, nanotechnology is considered a “platform technology,” the report says, because “it readily merges and converges with other technologies and could change how we do just about everything.” Today, nanotechnology is delivering promising methods for cleaning up polluted sites, monitoring water sources, and enabling new methods of drug delivery. Tomorrow, it could provide the technical means for new solutions to the world’s energy problems, to treat water at its point of use, and to make artificial tissues that replace diseased organs and even repair nerve damage.

Nanotechnology is still very much a work in progress—for example, while most first-generation nanomedicines are reformulations of existing drugs, farther down the road, experts predict the creation of novel nanostructures that could serve as new kinds of drugs for treating cancer, Parkinson’s, and cardiovascular disease.

The report will be released at an event featuring one of the contributors to the report, Dr. Samuel Stupp, director of Northwestern University’s Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine. He will present the findings from his latest research in applying nanotechnology to jump-start cell regeneration. Dr. Stupp will also share his predictions on the long-term potential of using nanotechnology to treat specific medical conditions.
If you read this carefully, and give it some thought, you will understand just a bit of the impact nanotech will have on our lives in just a couple of decades. It will be a genuine paradigm shift because it will change virtually every aspect of our society and culture.

(Featured on Carnival of Emerging Technologies)

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