Nanowires inside a rat can convert the power of breathing and heartbeats into electricity, according to researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The nano-generator could conceivably lead to nano-scale medical implants and sensors powered by the body, Technology Review reports.
A battery that runs on air? Why, that’s almost as good as a car that runs on water! Those cars are fantasy, but batteries that run on air are actually quite common, especially among older people. Tiny zinc-air batteries are widely used in hearing aids, where they have replaced toxic mercury-based batteries in providing a small but steady stream of power. They supply more energy for their size than any other battery, because they draw some of their power straight from the air.
By Gregory MonePosted 08.02.2007 at 4:31 pm 0 Comments
Last week, an FDA task force issued a report basically stating that the agency needs to be better versed in nanotechnology to ensure that the deluge of products using some derivation of it now and in the future will actually be safe. Though the term nanotechnology often conjures science fiction visions of swarms of tiny machines carrying out complex tasks, this is already a concern today. There are plenty of simpler nanotech-based products already on the market.
The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies has been compiling a list of these, and it's interesting to take a look, to get an idea of the breadth of applications, including cosmetics, food, sunscreens and animal feed. Thankfully, the Project also points out which supposedly nanotech-based products are really just marketing stunts.
Sunscreens using nanoscale particles of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide are a good example of the tough questions these new products pose. In this case, the issue is whether these tiny particles can penetrate the skin and have far-off effects in other parts of the body. Let's hope the FDA starts figuring out the answers soon.—Gregory Mone