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Archive for October 1st, 2006|Daily archive page

Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative

In nano on October 1, 2006 at 10:07 pm

Committee to Review the National Nanotechnology Initiative, National Research Council released report

A Matter of Size:
Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative
Available here
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11752.html

On the Cientifica TNTlog for Nanotechnology one reads the following
“The triennial review of the US National Nanotechnology Initiative has just been released, and by and large it is positive. There is something in it for everyone, with the committee recommending more funding for heath and safety studies and not saying too much that would please the Drexlerites although Christine Peterson at Foresight puts a brave face on the conclusions.

Of more interest to us was the section on economic impact, and the conclusion below.

Conclusion. Currently, it is too early to gauge the economic impact of nanotechnology, which is still in very early stages of discovery and development. Moreover, any future analysis of economic impact will be hindered unless data are collected and metrics developed that will facilitate a rigorous economic analysis of economic indicators such as jobs created or individuals employed as a result of nanotechnology development. As both an enabling and a disruptive technology, nanotechnology will have effects that extend beyond one specific industry or market sector and will also be pervasive in multiple applications, a circumstance that will present additional challenges to rigorous assessment of the technology’s economic impact.

This highlights the danger of considering nanotechnology in isolation. There are many different flavours of nanotechnologies, at varying stages of maturity, and very few of these will make it to products that will be considered part of a nanotechnology sector of industry. Technologies tend to be buffeted by fashion, fear, funding opportunities and serendipity, so tracking the economic impact of the synthesis for example is almost as difficult as quantifying the economic impact of Maxwell’s equations, which could be considered as one of the key enablers for most of twentieth century technologies.

The committee makes a stab at suggesting a solution to give a broad indication of the economic impact, tracking for example “trends in nanotechnology-related intellectual property and other research outputs such as publications; the training of scientists, engineers, and technicians in nanoscience and nanotechnology; and technology transfer trends.”

This is fair enough, but it does illustrate how many of the grand claims about nanotechnologies such as the infamous trillion dollar market are easy to make, but hard to disprove.”

Link to Source

Nanit®active: More Nature-Nano Frames from Europe

In nano on October 1, 2006 at 9:59 pm

Friday, September 29, 2006
Nanit®active: More Nature-Nano Frames from Europe

SusTech and Henkel just introduced Nanit®active, a nano-based treatment for sensitive teeth. Nanit®active is designed to create a protective layer that helps rebuild parts of the tooth’s surface.

What’s most interesting, however, is that Henkel and SusTech follow the lead of many other European firms in framing their new product along the “nano is nature” frame. Corporations in Europe, it seems, leave nothing to chance when it comes to positioning nanotech as a natural extension of traditional research. And they are determined not to repeat the mistakes of the ag biotech debate and not to lose the framing battle this time with anti-nano non-profits and interest groups.

Analogies between lotus flowers and nano umbrellas (see nano|public blog from August 18, 2006), in this case, are replaced with comparisons between Nanit®active and the natural growth of grass and seeds:

“A natural process: The growth of plants from seeds and rain is comparable to the growth of a protection layer from Nanit®active and saliva.”

Link to Source
Link to the Henkel research