In the future, nanotechnology may be used to make bulletproof vests as thin as silk, and nano-robots that can enter your bloodstream to treat disease. But sci-fi inventions like these are still at least a decade in the future, according to nanotech scientist James Tour, who works on building nano-cars at Rice University in Houston.I can't wait to see what "molecular tinkering" will do for us in the future... the possibilities seem endless.
For now, Tour said, the makers of consumer goods are mostly using the technology to enhance commonplace products. "This type of nanotechnology is upon us now," he said. "You can revolutionize industries that haven't changed much in the last 30 years by adding certain nano-materials" to products to make them more durable or multifunctional.
The technology is not very expensive, and getting cheaper, Tour said, so consumers can expect to encounter it at work more often in everyday products. For now, here are ten places to look:
- Golf balls and tennis racquets: Manufacturers are always looking for the best new design to improve your score, but this sports equipment is truly high tech. Wilson previously made its nCode tennis racquets of standard carbon, but now uses nanotechnology to pack extra atoms between the carbon atoms to make the racquets stronger, but just as light. A nano-coating on NDliNX golf balls is meant to make them soar faster and feel firmer when hit, thanks to a higher-density polymer layer on the outside of the ball.
- Stain-resistant khaki pants and ties: Ever wonder how those so-called stain resistant pants stay so clean? Dockers, Lands End and Brooks Brothers carry khaki pants and neckties whose fabrics have been redesigned to pack extra atoms between the fabric atoms to help repel liquids on the surface.
- Shoe inserts and socks: Suffer from cold feet? Originally designed for NASA, Polarwrap has created its Toasty Feet inserts with built-in nano-size pockets of air to improve insulation and make them lightweight. Millions of nano-size silver particles are knitted into Sharper Image's Antibacterial Silver Athletic and Lounging Socks to make them antibacterial and antifungal.
- Lip gloss: DERMAdoctor cosmetics puts nano-size zinc-oxide into its POUTlandish Hypermoist lip paint for SPF protection without the heavy consistency of liquid sunblock.
- Sportswear: Nano-size channels built into fabrics whisk away moisture from the skin and help fabric dry quickly. The New Balance women's Skye Crop sports bra uses this technology. Eddie Bauer's Water Shorts use nano-size drying channels as well, with nano-size sunscreen embedded in the fabric to provide extra protection from UV rays.
- Food storage containers: These plastic containers are not your mother's Tupperware. The polypropylene of Fresherlonger Miracle Storage containers is infused with nano-size silver particles that make it resistant to mold, fungus and bacteria.
- Men's razors: The FX Diamond razor uses nanotechnology to create a coating on its blades to make them more durable. Adding nano-particles to the blade metal increases the density, and thus the hardness. The Panasonic Arc electronic razor uses nano-particles in its blades to increase their sharpness.
- Skin cream: Both L'Oreal and Lancome use nano-size "microlifters" in some of their face and eye wrinkle-reducing creams. These create a micro-size netting of molecules on the skin intended to smooth out wrinkles and reduce puffiness.
- Household paint: Home Depot carries Behr's kitchen and bathroom paint, designed with nano-particles that increase the density of the paint to prevent the growth of mold and mildew on the walls.
- Canola oil: Marketed in Israel by Shemen Industries, the Canola Active brand uses molecular tinkering to deliver vitamins and to prevent the body's absorption of cholesterol in the oil. The oil contains chemical additives of micro-vitamins and micro-cholesterol blockers.
Monday, August 14, 2006
I heart nanotech!!
Some cool stuff that nanotech is doing for you