March 29, 2005

Where's My Nanotech?


Allan B. Shalleck of Nanoclarity bemoans the lack of nano products at NanoInvestor News and highlights some of the hype that has surrounded nanotech. Back in 2000 nanotech was going to have revolutionised everything by 2005, and to some extent it has, but in terms of our understanding of nanoscience rather than in terms of visible nano products. The mistake repeatedly made by pundits and prophets was to bank on the creation of a nanotechnology industry, something with a clearly defined focus, something that looks like the semiconductor industry or the pharmaceutical industry, and something we compared in 2003 to the hunting of the mythical beast the snark.

Disillusionment also spreads to The Street, who note that ďExperts talk about the potential breakthroughs -- the ability to deliver life-saving drug proteins that the human body has so far resisted, batteries to power laptops and devices with memory chips that are many times tinier and more powerful than anything available today, elevators stretching into outer space. But no one can tell you when, or who will make them.Ē

Hold on a minute. Itís not just nanotechnology that suffers from a lack of a clear timescale. We recently witnessed British Telecomís resident futurologist talking about a range of possibilities, from smart contact lenses to sex by SMS, without being able to pin down an exact month or year, and the same has been true for every area of technology, from space exploration to railways.

If investors have cash to burn in such a hurry there are many safer and better understood investments than pure play nanotechnologies. We canít think of a single blue chip manufacturing company that hasnít already had a look at what nanotechnologies can do for its bottom line, and a large part of Cientificaís business is putting numbers, dates and error bars on those predictions.

Posted by Cientifica at March 29, 2005 12:57 PM


I think both Alan Shalleck and The Street have it wrong. There are plenty of "nanoproducts" on the market ... you just have to know where to look.

Here's the link to my blog on the topic:


Posted by: Jack Uldrich at March 29, 2005 07:51 PM
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