Nanotechnology is a multi-disciplinary field of applied science, technology and industry which involves creating and manipulating matter at the nanoscale. Nano means small and is the prefix used to describe properties at 10-9. Therefore the nanoscale exists for characteristics that form in terms of particles or channels at a nanometer that is 10-9 or one ten-thousandth the width of a human hair.
The nanotechnology revolution promises big things. Many scientists in around the world believe that nanotechnology will allow the creation of tiny machines and engines for use by humans in many different environments. One concept that has received a lot of attention in this regard is the idea of the nanobot. A robot created on the nanoscale and which could perform medical interventions in living human beings by travelling through blood vessels. Nanobots might scan for cancer cells, deliver drugs directly to target organs or even repair defective body parts. As well as nanobots, nanotechnology is expected to drive innovation and development in diverse industries, including laboratory diagnostic tools, advanced manufacturing, engineering, computing and clean technologies.
Before the development or use of any application from nanotechnologies, the question of social utility should be asked. There are concerns that nanotechnology will change the commodity markets, disrupt trade and eliminate jobs. Worker-displacement brought on by commodity obsolescence will hurt the poorest and most vulnerable. Particularly those workers in the developing world who don’t have the economic flexibility to respond to sudden demands for new skills or different raw materials. Currently, nanotech innovations and intellectual property are being driven mainly from developed countries. The world’s largest transnational companies, leading academic laboratories nanotech start-ups are seeking intellectual property on novel materials, devices and manufacturing processes. Commodity dependent developing countries must gain a fuller understanding of the direction and impacts of nanotechnology-induced technological transformations and participate in determining how emerging technologies could affect their futures.