An article from the Dallas Business Journal offers an intersting commentary by Rocky Angelucci, technical liaison for Zyvex ("Science fact or science fiction …", 7 September 2001) on both the promise and the hype surrounding nanotechnology: "Some futurists promise nanotechnology will cure all ills and transform our lives. But how much of this is true and how much is hype? What is nanotechnology really going to bring us? And when?"
After making some short term predictions regarding enhanced materials, molecular electronics, and other possibilities, Angelucci offers a few predictions. Within 10 to 20 years, he says, "It seems likely by this time someone will build the first prototype molecular assembler. Capable of rudimentary picking and placing of individual atoms and molecules, it will accomplish what today's scanning tunneling microscopes can do, only faster and with greater precision. The ability to move atoms and molecules will give rise to very simple molecular machines, most likely for use in the medical field." And within 50 years, "Few doubt we'll have sophisticated, molecular-sized medical machines capable of traveling in the body in order to detect and repair damage at the cellular level" that could lead to (very) smart materials, artificial intelligence and, possibly, the revival of patients in cryonic suspension.
In the same issue, Angelucci also offers a primer on the basic concepts of nanotechnology.