20 April 2006

Nanotechnology: the Transistor of the 21st Century?

We don't think about it much, but the most significant invention of the 20th century is probably the transistor (what is a transistor?). Just about every electronic device, including the computer, depends on transistors to function. The inventors of the transistor shared the 1956 Nobel Prize in physics.

The news about nanotech these days is starting to give me the impression that nanotech devices may become as much an imbedded, integrated part of the things we surround our lives with in the 21st century as the transistor did for the 20th century.

Georgia Tech scientists have developed a "battery" that charges itself with body motions.

A couple of possible applications:

“You could envision having these nanogenerators in your shoes to produce electricity as you walk,” Wang said. “This could be beneficial to soldiers in the field, who now depend on batteries to power their electrical equipment. As long as the soldiers were moving, they could generate electricity.”

“These nanogenerators can take that mechanical energy and convert it to electrical energy for powering devices inside the body. This could open up tremendous possibilities for self-powered implantable medical devices.”

I'll be keeping my ear to the ground for nanotech investment funds.

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