Nano, nano everywhere. Not exactly, but we're working on it.

I thought this post particularly appropriate for a day on which it was widely reported that Amazon will make good on copies of "1984" that it deleted from Kindles over the summer with no warning. Because this seems like a day for Big Brother thoughts, and I put some of the applications enabled by nanotechnology into that category.

Anyway, how much nanotechnology do you suppose is in the stuff you use or wear or so on?

Well, the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) says there are now more than 1,000 products out on the market that use some sort of nanotechnology to get their job done.

Technically speaking, nanotechnology is just really small, something that cannot be seen by the human eye. Not necessarily nefarious like Big Brother, but the fact is that nanostuff is showing up in everything from non-stick cookware to tennis rackets to wearable sensors. And you don't necessarily know it's there.

As of March 2006, there were roughly 216 products on inventory, according to PEN. (The organization is a partnership between the Wilson Center and the Pew Charitable Trusts.)

PEN expects the inventory to reach 1,600 within the next two years. Many of these products fall into the health and fitness category in the form of digital health monitoring devices. Again, not necessarily nefarious, but the problem is that not much of this stuff is regulated today.

Who knows, maybe your company is one of the companies testing or releasing some of these products. Certainly, they promise much in the way of smart living and smart business. However, given the lack of regulatory oversight in nanotechnology today, your company would do well to tread carefully when it comes to nano product releases. Not just from a materials standpoint but because of the privacy concerns that some of these products are doubtless to raise, especially since they can watch us without us really even knowing it.

This post was originally published on


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