What’s the tiniest technology you can imagine? As small as a grain of rice? Or a grain of sand? Perhaps the width of an individual strand of spider web? Smaller still. Nanotechnology is so small, in fact, it is narrower than a single wavelength of visible light. To put that in perspective, it’s about the length your fingernails have grown since you started reading this overview.
But when we talk about nanotechnology, we don’t mean anything with a circuit board, but the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes.
By utilising carbon nanotubes in a certain way, it’s possible to create tiny computer chips. With tiny chips come tiny computers and tiny robots. And with tiny robots – or nanobots, if you will – a whole world of possibilities opens up… 3D printers, invisibility cloaks, space elevators – you name it!
Of course, with all exciting, experimental and potentially disruptive innovations come areas for concern. What impact could such technology have on our security, or the economy? How can it be regulated?