The field of nanotechnology, while infinitely small by its very definition, is a huge field with incredible potential, including the future of anti aging progress.
What is Nanotechnology?
A simple definition of nanotechnology is that it is the technology that allows us to manipulate physical matter at sizes smaller than a molecule with precise accuracy. The implications are staggering and will have a profound impact on most other sciences and fields of technology.
Nanotechnology involves particles that are less than 100 nanometers in one direction. This is smaller than the molecular scale, but larger than the atomic scale. One of your red blood cells, for comparison’s sake, is about 2,500 nanometers wide. A carbon tube used in nanotechnology-created machines is a mere 2 nanometers across. Nanotechnology machines are and will be man-made, lest every infinitely small organism be considered a nanotechnology machine.
As a brief introduction to nanotechnology and its possibilities, imagine building nano-machines on a very, very small scale, from the bottom up, using a molecular sized scale. Machines that are smaller than our cells could be made to accomplish many significant tasks.
Nanotechnology will allow computers to run faster and smarter. Information storage will get safer and much more compact. Our personal cell phones and computers will become thousands, even millions, and eventually billions, of times faster and more functional. Nanomachines could be programmed to repair damages to our hearts or other organs. They could be programmed to clean our arteries as needed and much more.
History of Nanotechnology
The history of nanotechnology goes way back to 1959 when Richard Feynman, a Caltech physicist, gave a talk called “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.” He didn’t call the science by its current name then, but when he purported our future ability to manipulate atoms and molecules into nano-machines, he was speaking of nanotechnology as we know it today.
Next, in 1979, Eric Drexler came across Feynman’s talk and moved forward with the idea and included with it our current knowledge of proteins as further building block of these super-mini machines.
Examples of Nanotechnology
Believe it or not, you’ve already benefited from some of the uses of nantotechnology. Sunscreen today uses nanoparticles of zinc oxide or titanium oxide. If you’re older, you might remember your mom slathering a thick white coat of zinc oxide on your nose and shoulders before you swam in the scorching sun. Thanks to nanotechnology, our kids don’t have to sport that shiny white nose.
Stain resistant and water resistant clothing is covered also with nanotechnology-sized zinc oxide or tiny hairs that repel water and other liquids. Eddie Bauer is using this already in its stain-resistant khakis. Scratch resistant glasses also use nanotechnology to resist marks and small gouges.
Other current uses of nanotechnology can be found in cars. Toyota, for example, uses nanocomposites in some of its bumpers. This composite makes the bumper more resistant to dents and scratches. And while cosmetic improvements are good, it also makes the bumper about 60% lighter than non-nano bumpers. A lighter car means more economy savings. And once this nano-composite is used in the rest of the car, which GM did with a couple minivans, the safety and economy factors increase all the more.
Why is Nanotechnology Important?
Nanotechnology is important on many fronts. It holds incredible possibilities for technology, building, safety, mass production, economics, and medicine. Some medical advances on the near and not-so-near horizon include increased medical imaging abilities, enhanced drugs and new neural prosthetics. (Neural prosthetics are tiny brain implants that translate brain signals into movement in prosthetics the help people regain lost mobility or other function, such as cochlear implants helping some deaf people to hear again.)
Other advances for nanotechnology in medicine are looking at improved vaccines, wound regeneration and internal diagnostics. Even more promising for the future of anti-aging is the possibility of nanotechnology being used to isolate and eradicate certain bacteria and even clean clogged arteries. Triple and quadruple bypass surgeries can be a thing of the past. In fact, so can heart disease before it ever gets to the point of needing a coronary bypass.
And if that’s possible, what does the future hold for nanotechnology in cancer? Could a nano-machine be created to seek out and destroy specific cancer cells, eliminating the need for radiation and chemotherapy? What if our largest killers were completely eliminated through nanotechnological biomachines?
We live in one of the most exciting times in history. We are literally at the edge of an era of astonishing new advances in technology and medicine. The next few decades will be critical in the development of a whole array of technologies including nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, tissue regeneration, synthetic biology, personal genomics, robotics, information science, neuroscience, and many other emerging fields.
What's the point of all this? We are at the beginning of a perfect storm in the development of radically new technologies. These will produce cutting edge therapies to significantly enhance human life and longevity.
A common misconception of time is that technological progress is made in a linear fashion. That is, what works today will only be incrementally better next year and so on. The astonishing reality is that technology is evolving exponentially.
One of the best known examples of this is Moore's Law regarding the speed of semiconductors. This law states that the speed of the processor will double roughly every 18 months. To put this into a larger perspective, in a mere 15 years the new computer speed will be 1,024 times faster than the current speed.
What is more incredible but far less known is that medical technology is also advancing at the same exponential speed. Imagine what medical technology will be like in the next few decades. If the speed of medical advancement remains roughly the same as it is now, then in less than 30 years we will have millions of times greater capabilities and knowledge. Medicine will seem almost magical compared with what we have today. Imagine what that will do for life extension and life enhancement!
And if nanotechnology can make such huge advances in destroying microorganisms in the human body, it holds similar promises for eradication of harmful pollutants and other killers in the environment. Pollution Harvesting might become a valuable field in the future. Imagine pulling pollution out of the air, water, and earth to be reused in the form of useful products. The volatile chemicals being released into the environment could be recaptured and broken down into harmless substances. That material could then be reused as needed. Even gases such methane and CO2 could be repurposed. These may seem to be radical ideas now but they may become commonplace someday.
It also will lead to alternative energy supplies which will lessen the harmful impact on the environment our current energy supplies create. Most homes and buildings could be completely energy independent as solar cells get cheaper and more effective. Some companies are working on thin film photovoltaics that could be easily applied to any surface. Even solar energy collecting spray paints are being developed.
For another environmental example, nanotechnology and agriculture holds incredible promise for the detection and eradication of harmful pathogens (think E coli breakouts) and to stop diseases in animals and plants. It can also change our dependence on harmful pesticides. If pesticides are still necessary, nanotechnology should be able to make them more beneficial in lower concentrations, which makes the food and environment even safer for us all.
Future Nanotechnology News
Just what the future nanotechnology advances will bring us is unknown since this is such a new science, relatively speaking. Currently there are over 400 nanotechnology companies exploring the vast future nanotechnology holds for us. But clearly the possibilities are enormously life-changing... and life-extending.
Please check out this site for more detailed information on the exciting field of nanotechnology.
Problems with Nanotechnology
Like all technologies, especially those which are new, there are potential problems with nanotechnology. First, of course, in the wrong hands, nanotechnology has the potential to destroy as well as heal. But this is no different from other technology that can help or hurt, depending on the intent behind its use.
Unregulated products also hold the potential for damage when companies are looking to make a quick buck at the expense of our well being. Again, this is no different from current technologies and greedy people.
It also holds the potential to disrupt economic structures by displacing current technologies, companies, and jobs. For example, if nanotechnological advances eliminate the need for pesticides, then pesticide companies and distributors will be affected. But, these problems aren’t being overlooked and are not going unaddressed. This is no different than previous technological advances.
Will we be Cyborgs in the next 30 years?
Using technology to improve our lives and our health will only evolve and accelerate over the next few decades. Imagine microscopic implants that help you see better, hear better, think faster, keep your arteries clear and healthy, and much more. Would you upgrade yourself with technology when it is available?
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