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Here's the nanofactory video that was mentioned several times. It provides a good quick introduction to the idea of atomically precise manufacturing.
Underpinning most discussions about nanotechnology (including most of the blogging we have done on the subject on The Speculist) are two driving questions:
1. When will we see widespread implementation of technologies built at the molecular level?
2. How will we get there?
Developed by the Foresight Nanotech Institute and Battelle, a leading global research and development organization, the Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems outlines the research pathways required to achieve atomically precise manufacturing, providing a good starting answer to the second question, as well helping us to clarify our thinking about the first. Over a period of three years, working groups made up of over 70 research scientists, nanotechnology theorists, and business leaders collaborated to create a common framework for understanding and defining these multidisciplinary research pathways.
The Roadmap describes three horizons for research and development leading to what it describes as a "new Industrial Revolution," culminating in the introduction of fully functioning productive nanosystems. "Productive nanosystems" are defined as "molecular-scale systems that make other useful materials and devices that are nanostructured." For each horizon, the roadmap outlines anticipated developments in atomically precise fabrication and synthesis methods, atomically precise components and subsystems, and atomically precise systems and frameworks. In the first horizon, developments in each of these areas will lead to such applications as multifunctional biosensors, anti-viral / anti-cancer agents, logic elements in the 5-nanometer size range, and nano-enabled fuel cells and solar photovoltaics. The second horizon will see such developments as quantum-wire solar photovoltaics, artificial immune systems, petabit RAM, and the post-silicon continuation of Moore’s Law. In the third horizon, as these technologies begin to mature, the roadmap describes some truly exciting potential applications: artificial organ systems, exaflop laptop computers, integrated solar-based fuel production, removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, and widespread manufacturing based on productive nanosystems.
The panel discussed the background and history of the roadmap, and explored how it will serve to help realize these horizons.
About the panelists:
Christine Peterson is the Acting President of Foresight Nanotech Institute. She writes, lectures, and briefs the media on coming powerful technologies, especially nanotechnology. She is Founder and Vice President, Public Policy, of Foresight Nanotech Institute, the leading nanotech public interest group. Foresight educates the public, technical community, and policymakers on nanotechnology and its long-term effects. Christine serves on the Advisory Board of the International Council on Nanotechnology, the Editorial Advisory Board of NASA's Nanotech Briefs, and on California's Blue Ribbon Task Force on Nanotechnology.
In 2004 she chaired the 1st Conference on Advanced Nanotechnology: Research, Applications, and Policy. For many years she directed the Foresight Conferences on Molecular Nanotechnology, organized the Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes, and chaired the Foresight Vision Weekends.
She lectures on nanotechnology to a wide variety of audiences, focusing on making this complex field understandable, and on clarifying the difference between near-term commercial advances and the "Next Industrial Revolution" arriving in the next few decades.
Her work is motivated by a desire to help Earth's environment and traditional human communities avoid harm and instead benefit from expected dramatic advances in technology. This goal of spreading benefits led to an interest in new varieties of intellectual property including open source software, a term she is credited with originating.
Wearing her for-profit hat, she serves on the Advisory Board of Alameda Capital.
In 1991 she coauthored Unbounding the Future: the Nanotechnology Revolution (Morrow, full text online ), which sketches nanotechnology's potential environmental and medical benefits as well as possible abuses. An interest in group process led to coauthoring Leaping the Abyss: Putting Group Genius to Work (knOwhere Press, 1997, full text online) with Gayle Pergamit.
Christine holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry from MIT.
Dr. David Forrest is President of the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing and a Senior Fellow at the Foresight Nanotech Institute.
He is a member of the Working Group for the International Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems, and of the Technical Advisory Group to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) on the ISO Technical Committee on Nanotechnology (TC/229). His 1989 paper on the regulation of nanotechnology was the first paper written on this subject.
Dr. Forrest has performed technology and policy analysis of nanosystems and their consequences since 1985, and is currently employed as a materials research engineer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in West Bethesda, MD.
He earned his doctorate degree in materials engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is a registered professional engineer in the state of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Pearl Chin is a Research Fellow with Foresight Nanotech; she has extensive experience in strategy and marketing consulting, management consulting, operations, sales and marketing, and customer service, in diverse industries from small to large companies. Pearl specializes in advising on nanotechnology investment opportunities. Prior to joining Foresight Nanotech Institute, she was a management consultant with Pittiglio Rabin Todd & McGrath with the Chemicals, Engineered Materials and Packaged Goods group optimizing Supply Chain operations. Before that, she was an applications specialist and headed domestic customer support under Sales and Marketing for TA Instruments, Inc. when it was number one in customer support in its industry.
She is a prolific writer on nanotechnology investing, business, management and social issues. Her articles appear in Nanotechnology Now and the Nanotechnology Law and Business Journal. She is actively sought out to speak about and be interviewed on these diverse nanotechnology related topics.
Pearl also has extensive deep tech research expertise as a Guest Scientist with the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) Polymer Division's Electronic Materials Group under the US Department of Commerce.
She has an MBA from Cornell University's Johnson Graduate School of Management (JGSM), a Ph.D. in Materials Science from University of Delaware's Center for Composite Materials, and a Bachelors Degree in Chemical Engineering from The Cooper Union in New York City.
She is also Managing Director of Seraphima Ventures and is on the Board of Directors of Biophage Pharma, a Montreal biotech startup company. She is a native New Yorker and likes to travel extensively and is an active Community Board 3 member in Manhattan, New York.