Although we're quick to point out that the nanotechnology scenarios developed by the CRN Task Force are not predictions, it's interesting to follow the news and see how some early elements we hypothesized are starting to take place.
Compare, for example, these highlighted scenarios with recent news items excerpted below...
RepRap is short for replicating rapid-prototyper; it employs a technique called ‘additive fabrication’. The machine works a bit like a printer, but, rather than squirting ink onto paper, it puts down thin layers of molten plastic which solidify. These layers are built up to make useful 3D objects.
RepRap has, so far, been capable of making everyday plastic goods such as door handles, sandals and coat hooks. Now, the machine has also succeeded in copying all its own 3D-printed parts.
These parts have been printed and assembled by RepRap team member, Vik Olliver, in Auckland, New Zealand, into a new RepRap machine that can replicate the same set of parts for yet another RepRap machine and so on ad infinitum. While 3D printers have been available commercially for about 25 years, RepRap is the first that can essentially print itself.
Moriarty’s project, titled “Digital Matter? Towards Mechanised Mechanosynthesis,” was funded under the Leadership Fellowship program of EPSRC. Moriarty’s experiments begin in October 2008.
This highly significant -- indeed, unprecedented -- project grows directly out of the UK's innovative "IDEAS Factory" that Phillip helped to organize last year.
Professor Peter Majewski, Research Director for the school along with Chiu Ping ‘Candace’ Chan of the Ian Wark Research Institute at University of South Australia, believe that nanotechnology could provide a simple answer to the problem of expensive and complicated water purification technology.
Ice at the North Pole melted at an unprecedented rate last week, with leading scientists warning that the Arctic could be ice-free in summer by 2013. . .
What really unsettles scientists, however, is their inability to forecast precisely what is happening in the Arctic, the part of the world most vulnerable to the effects of global warming.
"When we did the first climate change computer models, we thought the Arctic's summer ice cover would last until around 2070," said Professor Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University. "It is now clear we did not understand how thin the ice cap had already become -- for Arctic ice cover has since been disappearing at ever increasing rates. Every few years we have to revise our estimates downwards. Now the most detailed computer models suggest the Arctic's summer ice is going to last for only a few more years -- and given what we have seen happen last week, I think they are probably correct."