Week9/Final Blog_ A spin on the future

This week we immersed ourselves in nanotechnology, and what is so fascinating about nanotechnology is that it, more than any other field we have studied, is responsible for the creation of some of the craziest gadgets you can find. A quick little internet search is example enough –

This article might change the way you think about fashion (I know it changed my perspective a little bit). Through the advent of nanotechnology, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology are looking into a shirt that could possibly recharge all of our other nanotech devices (cell phones, cameras, etc.) by capturing our movement. Kinetic energy harvesting could be a super-cheap and eco-friendly way of powering all of our electronics. As the article says though, we may have to reinvent the washing machine. Nanotech fibers that are woven into fabric can’t get wet!

Nanotech seems to cross into many other fields that we have discussed as well. One such gadget developed earlier this year at Penn State could serve a very important role in the diagnosis of several life-threatening diseases. Again this gadget employs what are called nanowires, basically fiber sensors and they are coated with DNA sequences that match those of hepatitis, HIV, or others. The article can be found HERE and the depth of the technology is truly amazing. They are currently working on a prototype, and perhaps we will see a breathrough in diagnostics very soon.

The applications of nanotechnology are, literally, endless. When I try to think about the breadth of the definition which is “The science and technology of building devices, such as electronic circuits, from single atoms and molecules.” (Dictionary.com), nanotechnology will be constituting the future. The most promising sort of nanotechnology is certainly any type of bottom-up research. Instead of trying to create smaller and smaller devices, we will arrange extremely small (as in nanometers small) pieces to create a very complex and technologically advanced device/system.

Obviously I have been focused on mostly scientific applications, but I can imagine there are also some relevant uses in the artistic realm. In fact, there have been international art competitions launched where the methods or subject of the art must be nanotechnology. Fascinating.

Since we have just wrapped up the class and turned in our final projects, it is interesting for me to look back and see how much we have learned and how it all culminates into our final pieces of work. My amor-propre final was an ode to the vanity of society. That seems pretty north-campus for an engineering major, no? But when taking a deeper look, the topic itself is brought to fruition by a highly technical tunnel optics system. It involves our consciousness of self and how we feel others perceive us, it touches on perception as people can watch from the outside. Nanotech certainly comes into play with the technological utilities of the system, and there are so many other similarities consistent with the course that perhaps I didn’t even think of.

-Lindsey Dawson

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