The Future

 Is Nanotechnology Safe? A Crazy Existence To Come?


Will using nanotechnology save the planet or are we in for a dangerous future…?

You’ve heard about “nanotechnology”.. but what is it? Nanotechnology is the manipulation, design, and study of very  small (extremely small) things… such as molecules, atomic, and sub-atomic particles. The term “nano” …means one billionth. A “nanometer” is one billionth the size of the standard meter. To give you an idea how small that is, it is about 75,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. It’s that simple (in concept, anyway) and nano-technology deals with the study of and / or working with with things that small.  Nonatechnology crosses and is studied in all scientific fields from biology to engineering. Billions of dollars are spent in developing it and studying it.

In the beginning of this concept a physicist named Richard Feynman first officially introduced the idea in 1959.  In order figure out or seriously attempt manipulating these very small objects we needed to see them to make that easier. Using a very powerful microscope that was developed by IBM in 1981 called a Scanning Tunneling Microscope (sometimes referred to as a scanning probing microscope), we became able to actually see these atomic particles and molecules for the first time. Sure, we certainly knew atoms, molecules etc. existed well before that point and time (.. hence the creation of the atomic bomb which it’s design was based on the energy released from splitting an atom) but we could not actually see them. After being able to see  these particles, and extremely small things, scientists started to try and manipulate them at the “molecular level”.

A form of nano-technology that involves the design and/or manipulation of objects at the molecular level is sometimes referred to as “molecular nanotechnology”.  It is safe (correct) to say that molecular nanotechnology and nano-technology are one in the same. Molecular nano-technology is basically just a category of nanotechnology. In fact, the terms are often used interchangeably.  How do scientists try to manipulate these particles after we finally became able to see them? Scientists first used an extremely small, thin needle to move around these particles. They can adjust them to their liking. The scientists at IBM actually manipulated these atomic particles to spell out I-B-M to showcase the new capability (sorta cool eh).

This is the very first Scanning Tunneling Microscope on display at a the Deutsches Museum in Germany:

first scanning tunneling microscope

We are just starting to break from that stage to the next. We now have other microscopes along with the scanning tunneling microscope that are used to further analyze and study at this level in different ways such as the atomic force microscope and transmission electron microscopes. Now we can manipulate these particles much better than in the 1980’s. The next phase is to actually design and build things at the atomic and sub-atomic level .. even microscopic robots and microscopic factories.

At some some point and time in the future we will actually be able to construct and build things at this level which function in ways we specifically desire. Right now, we can only more less re-arrange these particles (yet science is getting quite close to building at this level… within a few to a hand full of years “close”). If and once this occurs.. a whole new ball game in technology and life as we know it begins, boys and girls. Microscopic robots will potentially be able to be injected into your blood stream to kill bacteria and viruses. We could release robots into the air to eat pollution or wipe out a fog bank. We could make miniscule, nano-factories that actually build more sub-atomic robots. We could design these miniscule robots to go in and essentially fix corrosion (eat rust).  The possibilities are basically endless.

However this brings about danger.. many dangers and concerns, actually. For every incredible technological leap using this technology  there could potentially be downfall or hazard. As silly or far fetched as it seems, there is the possibility companies and / or governments may be able to build extremely small cameras used to spy on you, me, or others.

Just the same as fixing them health issues, small devices could be designed to cause a myriad of health problems.. just the same as fixing them. Robots could be designed to enter the body through air passages to get to critical blood vessels to eat those away just like they would rust on certain types of metal. .. they could be used to clear a blockage in ones heart … or stop ones heart! Robots and little factories could actually be produced to supplement or replace human blood. By being able to create things based on microscopic robots the seriousness in these idea’s is not only not far fetched, it won’t be out of the realm of possibility if progress continues to be made.

Tiny robots that carry more oxygen to parts of your body could enable humans to do incredible things.. such as jog for days straight. What about other issues concerning ideas such as that, for example wear and tear on the skeletal frame due to such jogging? Separate microscopic robots could be at work repairing this as it occurs too. Possibly one single tiny robot could do both. Create more oxygen to run, then go to repair tissue and bone…  This sounds like a benefit but the idea of designing super-humans can present many ethical concerns.

Sub-atomic particles that were thought to be of benefit could start to cause problems. What if nano-robots were sent out to clear a fog bank but then later we discovered they were actually harming the atmosphere? Would these robots die off naturally or do we have to create new robots to kill them off? What about the tiny nano devices we send out to kill them off… would they be  harmless? Creating nanotechnology could, or possibly will create as many new issues as it does perform incredible tasks. For instance would companies that make rust proofing products start suing companies that designed nano-robots to repair rust? Or will they simply be put out of business with no real leg to stand on? While all this seems quite elementary, even childish it can become a reality if (or when) nano-technology moves into the next stage of humans actually being able to create, design, and build things at the molecular level. One thing is for certain .. it should be interesting .. ..

Interested in getting a microscope for someone? Amazon sells this AmScope B120C-E1 40X-2500X for around $250.00. Sure it’s sort of pricey but what it can do is quite impressive.  This microscope actually connects to a computer in displaying what is occurring on under the microscope itself. The user can then save the video, edit it, and make presentations out of it so it can be used for teaching, demonstrations or award winning science projects for the biology student in highschool/college. Reviews are very good ( does not recommend any product that isn’t researched by us, and/or without having solid reviews)… check it out here:The AmScope B120 C E1LED Biological 3D Microscope


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