Nanotechnology is right up there in the technology hypes, next to biotechnology and information technology (or are we passed that?). Reading this post on your laptop or PC, the results of information technology are hard to ignore. The results from research in biotechnology are maybe harder to grasp, but still pretty obvious (medical applications, food, agriculture). But nanotechnology?

Time for some nanotechnology 101:

Nanotechnology is the art and science of manipulating matter at the nanoscale (down to 1/100,000 the width of a human hair) to create new and unique materials and products. An estimated global research and development investment of nearly $9 billion per year is anticipated to lead to new medical treatments and tools; more efficient energy production, storage and transmission; better access to clean water; more effective pollution reduction and prevention; and stronger, lighter materials. And these are just a few of the more significant ways in which people are discussing using the technology.

If that didn’t help: Promotheus‘ weblog had a post on the release by Woodrow Wilson Center’s Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies of an inventory of 200 existing consumer products that claim to incorporate nanotechnology. From chocolate to processors, from sunscreen to washing machines. Click on the picture or go to this BBC-site for the nanotech future. Ever wondered why the iPod Nano is called the iPod Nano?

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