Nanotechnology is not simply a futuristic idea.
"Nanotechnology has the potential to profoundly change our economy and to improve our standard of living, in a manner not unlike the impact made by advances over the past two decades by information technology," the National Nanotechnology Initiative reported on its Web site.
The federal National Nanotechnology Initiative reports an extensive list of current uses for nanotechnology.
Items already available in the marketplace include: burn and wound dressings, water filtration, dental-bonding agent, coatings for easier cleaning glass, bumpers and catalytic converters on cars, protective and glare-reducing coatings for eyeglasses and cars, sunscreens and cosmetics, stain-free clothing and mattresses, ink, longer-lasting tennis balls,and lightweight and stronger tennis rackets.
Babolat first used nanotubes in a tennis racket in 2001. The Rocky Mountain News recently reported that in the last year Babolat had the best-selling racket in U.S. tennis specialty and pro shops, attributing the success to the high profile of American tennis champion Andy Roddick who uses a Babolat racket and strings.
For golfers, nanotechnology may be able to fix a slice or lengthen a drive. On the market in December, there are golf balls that do not go off course as much if hit in a hook or a slice. Golf clubs are being made with nanotechnology tubes and are 100 times stronger than steel but one-sixth the weight of aluminum, said Jack Uldrich, who will speak Thursday morning on nanotechnology at Central Lakes College in Brainerd.
Uldrich said clothes companies like Eddie Bauer, Lee and Tommy Hilfiger used nanotechnology in their pants to combat stains and wrinkles.
The federal government reports future uses are expected to include solar cells in roofing tiles and siding that provide electricity for homes and facilities, longer-lasting tires with improved skid resistance, implantable devices that can automatically administer drugs and sense levels and other medical tools.
And in the next two decades, the government predicts nanotechnology will mean smaller computers that are faster and able to store more information. They also are expected to be less expensive.
For more information, go online to the National Nanotechnology Initiative Web site at www.nano.gov.
RENEE RICHARDSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.
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