Nanotechnology is Here Now
Despite the fact that billions of dollars are being spent globally on nanotechnology, one recent survey showed that 80% of Americans have heard very little or nothing about its development. Even with this fact, more than 90% of those polled had some opinion regarding the cost vs. benefit of this new technology, even when supplied with no additional information.
Consumers, regulatory groups, and industry will often state that we do not have to worry about nanotechnology at present because it is futuristic and will not be relevant for a minimum of 5 to 10 years from now. This could not be farther from the truth. In fact, regulatory agencies are already receiving packages for approval for the marketing and application of nanomaterials in raw form as well as in consumer products.
Nanomaterials are already being used in consumer products such as sunscreens, food additives, clothing, cosmetics, tires, sprays, rubber products, catalysts, foam, adhesives, paints, and pigments. Even militaries are studying the application of nanoparticles for improved combustibility of fuels and explosivity of bombs. These are early and modest mainstream applications of nanotechnology being used now whether they are reported as nanotechnology to the consumer or not.
While this exciting technology holds a broad range of promises and improvements in products, energy sources, and medical treatments, it is not magic nor is it all dark, as some groups have portrayed it. In all its flare, nanotechnology is still a science, albeit our ability to work, build, and manipulate at the nanoscale opens up a new window to understanding the foundations of chemistry, physics and biology.
Nanotechnology will not cure cancer overnight, but will undoubtedly improve our current diagnosis, imaging, and treatment in oncology. Driving some of the hope of nanotechnology is the National Cancer Institute of the USA that has reported that 'Nanotechnology will change the very foundations of cancer diagnosis and treatment'. Conversely, the opponents of nanotechnology prosperity cling to science fiction literature that uncontrolled self-assembling nanobots will lead to our demise amidst a 'grey goo'.