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

Metal oxide sandwiches: New option to manipulate properties of interfaces February 8th, 2016

Canadian physicists discover new properties of superconductivity February 8th, 2016

Leading bugs to the death chamber: A kinder face of cholesterol February 8th, 2016

From allergens to anodes: Pollen derived battery electrodes February 8th, 2016

Chemistry

Scientists take key step toward custom-made nanoscale chemical factories: Berkeley Lab researchers part of team that creates new function in tiny protein shell structures February 6th, 2016

Discovery of the specific properties of graphite-based carbon materials February 6th, 2016

Nature Materials: Smallest lattice structure worldwide: 3-D lattice with glassy carbon struts and braces of less than 200 nm in diameter has higher specific strength than most solids February 3rd, 2016

Researchers develop completely new kind of polymer: Hybrid polymers could lead to new concepts in self-repairing materials, drug delivery and artificial muscles January 30th, 2016

Possible Futures

From allergens to anodes: Pollen derived battery electrodes February 8th, 2016

Host-guest nanowires for efficient water splitting and solar energy storage February 7th, 2016

Graphene is strong, but is it tough? Berkeley Lab scientists find that polycrystalline graphene is not very resistant to fracture February 7th, 2016

Scientists take key step toward custom-made nanoscale chemical factories: Berkeley Lab researchers part of team that creates new function in tiny protein shell structures February 6th, 2016

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

Metal oxide sandwiches: New option to manipulate properties of interfaces February 8th, 2016

Canadian physicists discover new properties of superconductivity February 8th, 2016

Leading bugs to the death chamber: A kinder face of cholesterol February 8th, 2016

From allergens to anodes: Pollen derived battery electrodes February 8th, 2016

Safety-Nanoparticles/Risk management

Lithium battery catalyst found to harm key soil microorganism February 7th, 2016

Are some people more likely to develop adverse reactions to nanoparticle-based medicines? January 31st, 2016

Too-few proteins prompt nanoparticles to clump: Rice scientists: Blood serum proteins must find balance with therapeutic nanoparticles January 29th, 2016

FLEXcon shares insights on developments and safety guidelines in nanotechnology: FLEXcon hosted New England Nanotechnology Association event, discussing latest industry activities and innovations January 25th, 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