Nanotechnology is the study and development of particles and even machines on a cellular scale. A nanometer equals one-billionth of a meter. Nanoparticles are already being used in medicine and nanomachines are being developed to perform a variety of tasks. Nanotechnology will affect every part of our lives within the next decade.
For example, Nanoparticles are currently being used to carry medicines directly to a targeted organ while not affecting other organs. This decreases the occurrence of side-effects due to healthy organs being harmed by medicine intended for a diseased organ. Another exciting development will be nanomachines that produce insulin from within the bloodstream of a person suffering from diabetes, thereby eliminating the need for injections or oral medications.
Nanotechnology will also improve the lives and safety of persons in every area of endeavor. Scientists at the University of Sydney are developing a nanoscale carbon fiber that could revolutionize bullet-proof vests. Traditional bullet-proof vests are not always bullet-proof. A traditional bullet-proof vest works by distributing the force of impact over an area larger than the bullet. Unfortunately, the impact of the bullet can still cause internal injury, depending on the distance from which the bullet was fired and the caliber and velocity of the bullet.
Carbon Nanotubes woven into bullet-proof vests absorb the force of the bullet and cause the projectile to bounce off, causing no harm to the person wearing the vest. The same carbon Nanotubes could be woven into any garment, giving the wearer optimal protection from projectiles and other objects that may cause a threat. Carbon is an abundantly available, natural material that is relatively easy to work with.
Not only can bullet-proof vests be made more reliable, but safety clothing and gear of all types could likewise be made safer. Industries such as construction, transportation, airlines, heavy manufacturing, blasting and many more could benefit from the added safety of carbon Nanotubes woven into garments of all kinds.
Police officers and soldiers in the field would be the most obvious to benefit from new bullet-proof technologies. Traditional bullet-proof vests are heavy and bulky, often limiting the movement of the wearer. The new nanotube vests would be thin and lightweight, yet more effective than the older versions. Police and soldiers would be able to move more freely and carry more equipment due to the greatly reduced weight and bulk of nanotube bullet-proof vests.