Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > News > Should we be taking a closer look at the potential dangers of nanotechnology?

May 25th, 2011

Should we be taking a closer look at the potential dangers of nanotechnology?

Abstract:
It is impossible to deny the potential and excitement that nanoscale technology offers for the future. Whether it is in aerospace materials, medical treatments or improving computer devices, nanotechnology cannot be ignored.

But with any emerging technology comes potential risk. How much do we really know about the impacts on society and on health of the tiny nanoscale particles that are being churned for commercial and scientific purposes? Are nanoparticles released as we use those products causing harmful effects to the environment? The application of nanotechnology seems limitless, but where could these powerful ideas lead?

The classic worry about nanotechnology is the "grey goo" nightmare, a hypothetical end-of-the-world scenario involving molecular nanotechnology. Imagine, some time in the far future, that an oil tanker has run aground and is spilling its billions of gallons of cargo into a pristine natural habitat. A flotilla of tiny oil-munching nanorobots is deployed to break down hydrocarbons, rendering the spill harmless. In this science fiction scenario, the nanorobots have the capability of self-replicating, making hundreds of copies in minutes. And, instead of eating only hydrocarbons, the robots begin to eat everything around them. It doesn't take long before everything on Earth is consumed by the proliferating mass of robots. Life, as we know it, would be gone.

The idea was first raised by Eric Drexler in his 1986 book, Engines of Creation. For those worried about nanotechnology, grey goo is a good reason to pause any progress until we can confirm we completely understand the process and its implications.

Fortunately, Drexler's scenario is highly improbable - fast-replicating nanorobots would need so much energy and produce so much heat that they would become easily detectable to policing authorities who could stamp out the threat. In 2004, Drexler himself made public attempts to play down his more apocalyptic warnings.

Source:
guardian.co.uk

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

JPK reports on the use of a NanoWizard AFM system at the University of Kaiserslautern to study the interaction of bacteria with microstructured surfaces April 28th, 2016

University of Illinois researchers create 1-step graphene patterning method April 27th, 2016

Nanograft seeded with 3 cell types promotes blood vessel formation to speed wound healing April 27th, 2016

NREL finds nanotube semiconductors well-suited for PV systems April 27th, 2016

Chemistry

Adding some salt to the recipe for energy storage materials: Researchers use common table salt as growth template April 22nd, 2016

NRL reveals novel uniform coating process of p-ALD April 21st, 2016

Team builds first quantum cascade laser on silicon: Eliminates the need for an external light source for mid-infrared silicon photonic devices or photonic circuits April 21st, 2016

McMaster researchers achieve a first by coaxing molecules into assembling themselves: Major advance creates the potential for useful new materials April 21st, 2016

Possible Futures

University of Illinois researchers create 1-step graphene patterning method April 27th, 2016

Nanograft seeded with 3 cell types promotes blood vessel formation to speed wound healing April 27th, 2016

Atomic magnets using hydrogen and graphene April 27th, 2016

Researchers create artificial protein to control assembly of buckyballs April 27th, 2016

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

Danish researchers behind vaccine breakthrough April 27th, 2016

NREL theory establishes a path to high-performance 2-D semiconductor devices April 27th, 2016

Atomic magnets using hydrogen and graphene April 27th, 2016

Researchers create artificial protein to control assembly of buckyballs April 27th, 2016

Safety-Nanoparticles/Risk management

Scientists propose non-animal tools for assessing the toxicity of nanomaterials: Particle and Fibre Toxicology publishes recommendations from expert group meeting April 26th, 2016

The impact of anti-odor clothing on the environment March 31st, 2016

SUNY Poly, in Collaboration with the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences and Stony Brook University, Demonstrates Pioneering Method to Visualize and Identify Engineered Nanoparticles in Tissue March 25th, 2016

Microagents with revolutionary potential March 24th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic