I see a future that truly promises to change our world in imaginative ways. Already, nano-enhanced clothes have appeared with the look and feel of cotton, but stain-sweat-wrinkle free; offered by Dockers, Eddie Bauer, Gap, Old Navy and Perry Ellis. Future nano-clothes will be completely self-cleaning and will change texture and color on command.
In addition, tomorrow’s cars made from interactive nano parts will self-repair themselves when damaged, no more expensive repairs from ‘fender benders’.
A more futuristic nano-creation includes sensors smaller than dust particles. These so-called ‘smart dust’ devices, virtually invisible to the naked eye, could be used to track atmosphere, environmental and biological data to warn of impending storms, earthquakes, or other natural disasters.
Bold forward thinkers at DARPA believe that nanodust will one day be used on the battlefield to penetrate enemy brains, compelling them to surrender. Some say scientists could even program this nano-weapon to search for neural patterns of specific terrorists, criminals, and other wanted individuals.
Economists predict nano products will become a trillion dollar industry as we trek through the decades ahead, but these ventures hardly scratch the surface of nano’s enormous potential. By late 2020s, futurists believe nanoreplicators will begin appearing on kitchen counters providing food, clothing, medicine, and most household necessities – even cars and houses – all at little cost.
From 2035 to 2045, many people will begin to ‘nano-ize’ their bodies – swap sections of their biology for non-biological organs and tissues that never age or need maintenance; and during this same time, most people will increase their intelligence with direct machine-to-human data transfer systems.
By mid-century, this ‘intelligence explosion’ will help us understand how to terraform our planet, making it a much safer place to live; and begin the never-ending trek to colonize space.
I realize that some of these visions may sound more like science fiction than real science, but when you think about it; 200 years ago, who would have believed we would one day have talking pictures in our homes and would scurry about in cars at a mile-a-minute; or fly around the world in airplanes.
A “magical future” can happen. Maybe if more people developed a positive outlook towards tomorrow’s technologies, this wonder-time would have a better chance of becoming reality. What do you think?
Dick Pelletier was a weekly columnist who wrote about future science and technologies for numerous publications. He passed away on July 22, 2014.
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