Sunday, December 5, 2010

Musings about Nanotech

I am currently working my way through Path of the Stray by Kim Falconer, and it has sparked my interest in a few topics.

The main elements being Nanotechnology.

In POTS, the characters Luka and Janis are scientists on earth in the late 21st Century. The world has long been plagued by natural and man made disasters, leaving the air near unbreathable and the oceans unswimmable. Animals are becoming extinct at an alarming rate, and Luka is working on a way to splice DNA of the Grey wolves with the Canine's to bring Grey wolves back from the dead. If he succeeds, the same methods can be applied not only to extinct animals but humans as well.

Well this is the story.

In real life whilst the possibilities are endless, we are a bit slower on the "discovering" side.  Not to mention the possible "side effects" of using this "nanotechnology". It has the ability to completely revolutionise science, medicine and space exploration - but it could also ruin the worlds economy, destroy the environment and can you imagine the weapons people would make when they can command molecules?

I shudder to think about it.

What is amazing is this technology actually exists. Its not just a topic that can be touched on in speculative fiction any more. Scientists have found ways to manipulate atoms and molecules to form tiny structures ( tiny as in... on the nanometer, billionths of a meter etc). As we speak, they are working on ways to create robotic antibodies to help fight diseases and sicknesses that today are incurable. What makes me wonder though, is can the human body handle thousands of tiny metal particles?

The first example of this new technology is the product on the market ( forgotten what brand), the "silver band aids". Silver is known as a bacteria killer, so it makes sense to try to combat wound infections etc with it, but how much can our bodies take? In the years to come, would our bodies build up an immunity to the silver, or would the silver particles build up so much in our system that we would start having all kinds of problems?

So all this makes me want to delve more into this fascinating technology... i am currently reading a book called " Nanotech - building the world molecule by molecule" which i have discovered is one of MANY books on the subject. I will keep you updated with my findings... you never know, I see a story or two building from this :)

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