Foresight Nanotech Institute Logo

« Go Back

You are viewing
Foresight Archives

Image of nano
Home > Resources > Publications > Foresight Publications > Weekly News Digest

Foresight Update 23.24: Preserving Security and Civil Liberties in the Sensor Age - June 11, 2009

Discuss these news stories at

Top News of the Week

Open Source Sensing Initiative Launched

A new open source-style project to promote Open Source Sensing has been started, with the goal of bringing the benefits of a bottom-up, decentralized approach to sensing for security and environmental purposes.

"The intent of the project is to take advantage of advances in sensing to improve both security and the environment, while preserving — even strengthening — privacy, freedom, and civil liberties," said Christine Peterson…

In this issue:

Foresight Events – Lectures
Foreseeing Future Technologies - Join Foresight
More Events
Contact Foresight

The first nanofactories

… The first nanofactories will probably be DNA/RNA/protein gadgets requiring thousands of steps by skilled scientists to coax them to build a new gadget (which will consist only of DNA/RNA/protein), or diamondoid gadgets in high vacuum requiring thousands of steps by skilled scientists to coax them to build a new gadget (which will consist only of diamondoid), or possibly even tungsten carbide gadgets doing EDM with nanotubes, requiring thousands of steps by skilled scientists to coax them to build a new gadget (which will consist only of tungsten carbide, the nanotubes having to be supplied from outside). Early nanofactories will be cranky and experimental, expensive, require expensive inputs, be able to produce only very limited products, and be very lucky to replicate themselves before they break down…

Limited, expensive nanofactories

… I think that history shows that pretty much any desktop manufacturing system will be called a nanofactory, and we purists will be left arguing that there ought to be something in there about mechanosynthesis and atomic precision to the few who will listen…

The Fuel of the Future

What will your car run on in 2020 or 2030? What form of energy storage and transmission will allow intermittent energy sources, such as wind and solar, to be a viable input to the economy?

There's a good chance, of course, that cars will still run on gasoline — its demise has been predicted early and often — but there are also lots of reasons that petroleum will not be a sound basis for a rapidly-expanding economy. We'll want to save the hydrocarbons as a feedstock to our nanofactories…

Nanorobots from the NNI?

The Nanomanufacturing Summit, held in Boston recently, was largely what you would have expected — near-term bulk-tech approaches to nanostructured materials, some interesting research aimed at new electronics, and so forth. Notable, however, was a plenary talk by M. C. Roco, who appears to have changed his tune to the extent of predicting nanorobotics and "molecular nanosystems" (see slide 5) and "Hierarchical nanomanufacturing with atomic / molecular precision" (slide 29)…

—Nanodot posts by J. Storrs Hall and Christine Peterson

Foresight Events – Lectures

Foresight Lectures

June 17-18, 2009
Size Matters 2009: the future fields of application, opportunities and ethical challenges of nanoscience
Saarbrücken, Germany
Christine Peterson will speak on Nanotechnology & Open Source Sensing.
Click here for conference details

July 30, 2009
Singularity University
Mountain View, California
Christine Peterson will moderate and Foresight advisor Stewart Brand will serve on a panel on time horizons in an accelerating world, for Singularity University participants.
Click here for conference details

August 20-22, 2009
Gnomedex: a technology conference of inspiration and influence
Seattle, Washington
Christine Peterson will speak on life extension.
Click here for conference details

Foreseeing Future Technologies

Advancements in technologies such as nanotech, robotics, and biotech are promising to make major differences in our lives in the not-too-distant future, as the Industrial Revolution did to the agrarian world — to do for the physical world what the computer and Internet have done to the world of information.

Since 1986, the Foresight Institute has been in the forefront of a worldwide community of visionaries who work to help shape these possibilities into a positive, beneficial reality. If you would like to help us understand the potential of these technologies, and influence their direction, please consider becoming a member of the Foresight community. With your support, Foresight will continue to educate the general public on these technologies and what they will mean to our society.

To join:

More Events

Converging Technologies for 21st Century Security
Organized by the Institute of Nanotechnology
November 25, 2009
The Royal College of Physicians, London, UK

Organised crime, terrorism, civil conflict, and natural disasters are sadly commonplace in global society and have developed increasingly complex dimensions. To counter such threats, civil security and emergency response teams are looking towards new technologies that offer more sensitive, rapid, and accurate detection methods; that provide the means to neutralise or effectively deal with the outcomes of such incidents; and that provide greater protection to personnel.

Contact Foresight

The Foresight Institute Weekly News Digest has merged with Foresight Update and is emailed every week to 15,000 individuals in more than 125 countries. Foresight Institute is a member-supported organization. We offer membership levels appropriate to meet the needs and interests of individuals and companies. To find out more about membership, follow this link:

To join:

If you would like to browse past issues of Foresight Update and the News Digest, follow this link: Older issues of Foresight Update published from 1987 through spring of 2007 are archived here.

Foresight Institute
PO Box 61058
Palo Alto, CA 94306 USA
tel +1 650 289.0860
fax +1 650.289.0863

If you were forwarded this email from a friend and would like to subscribe yourself, please follow this link and sign up for our free electronic membership.

Thank you!

Home Page


Foresight Programs


Home About Foresight Blog News & Events Roadmap About Nanotechnology Resources Facebook Contact Privacy Policy

Foresight materials on the Web are ©1986–2019 Foresight Institute. All rights reserved. Legal Notices.

Web site developed by Stephan Spencer and Netconcepts; maintained by James B. Lewis Enterprises.