Just as we are getting used to the Digital Age, we are about to be overwhelmed by the ‘Nano Age’. Often wondered how that will affect me as a story teller/film director. I look at a Camera, which is really a passive recording device that ‘reads’ light as refelected by the observed object. Nano technology may soon bring to us an ‘active recording device/camera. What might it be ?……

Imagine a device that ‘beams’ (like radiation) millions (billions ?) of Nano-particles. Each as small as a photon. Each nano particle ‘reads’ light, smell, temperature etc as they swirl around the area that they are beamed into. There may be nano particles that are specific, ie they are light sensitive, temperature sensitive or smell sensitive. They may bounce off the observed subject(s) and be ‘touch sensitive’ too, as they study textures.
Now imagine you have a big party scene, and as your actors are performing, the nano particles are swirling around and picking up information and constantly reflecting information back to the ‘recording device’, whatever that might be. You will walk away from the scene with enough information even from the back of the heads of the actors, every nook and corner of the room, the body temparature and even the perfume your actors are wearing. Not sure what I will do with all that information yet ! Probably be totally confused, but the possibilities are enormous and a bit daunting.
But as I was thinking of this, it ocurred to me that we may soon be engulfed by nano particles that are swirling around, beamed by not so benign an observer as a film director. It may be the proverbial ‘Big Brother’ ! In which case there is nothing about us that is not being recorded by someone, somewhere. What we are doing at any moment, what we smell like, what our body temerature might be.
Great if you are a heart patient for the computers at the hospital to keep track of you, but what if you are just wanting to do something completely private ? Live in leaded rooms ? Any scientists out there telling me that this is just my imagination going wild ?

17 thoughts on “Nanotechnology

  1. ps: Eric Drexler coined the term NANO technology. His book NANO is fun reading even for Non scientific people.
    Yes Dude…what ever you have imagined is very much possible in NEAR future.
    These scientist community is a nut case…lol…there are hypothetical theories in NANOtechnology where if one FEEDS a bicycle to A MACHINE it will deliver a fine CHICKEN DISH…hehehe…after all every thing is made up of ATOMs. So inside the machine the restructuring of ATOMS will take place. And unwanted ATOMS will be stored some where while the ATOMS which are required to create the CHICKEN will come to gether and will create a delicious DISH….(some thing of this sort…) this is a funny example…there are many hardcore scientific propostions of NANO WORLD which would change the face of human life style. In short NUT CASE community is trying to be Semi-gods…
    but all they are missing is that GRAND UNIFIED theory(GUT)!….unless these buggers wont crack GUT, they wont be successful in creating Semi-god machines…(GUT is nothing but a co relation of basic forces of nature)
    but till then lets enjoy and suffer the advancement of technology!
    as far as films are concerned, technical advancenment will make the execution much more eaiser. But how can it help to decide to open a film where a girl comes and says ‘MAI HOON PHOOLAN BHENCHOD!’

  2. Hi Shekar…well nano technology or not..somethings are better kept simple..for example ..My wife and I live in New York right..we have readymade indian food..packed ready to heat in microwave all the time. But we always crave for the capsicum bonda near madhavan park in jaynagar bangalore..if you go there you should not miss it..its out of this world. Take movies for instance..a good old comedy lagey raho munnabhai versus a slick and high tech Don!!! no competition. I think technology is good ..medical sciences, entertainment can benefit..its all about convergence of technology. Nowadays we have camera whihc a phone and a computer and diary and a personal photo album and a memory storage plus a fm radio..but the fact remains 90% of the time you just use it as a phone. And when you really need to take a photograph you take out your Nikon SLR.

  3. What is even more intresting is, What if its already happening? What if those particles already exist and are already recording each of our private details? What if we all in a ‘Truman Show’?
    Have you read the book ‘Prey’ by Michael Cricton? It talks about something similar…
    Here is another question… What if we somehow manage create such technology, who would have access to it? There are hundreds of good/great uses of the same but there are like a million uses which would end up hurting someone! In this age of Terrorism would it be easy to trust someone with such technology?

  4. Haas, I have not read Prey – but will try and get it. We must get used to a wrld in which technology brings incredible benefits to man kind – but also in the wrong hands becomes threatening to us all.
    When the first books were printed, it was a technological breakthrough that changed the world, bringing education and information to the world But there were many fears raised, especially the power structures of those days such as the church that felt that the brooks woudl be subversive and corrupt people’s minds. Thsi will always be an ongoing debate.

  5. The Futurists are working overtime on Nanotechnology. Primarily it will be introduced in the military and health sectors first. For example clothes will be designed such that they can read your heart-rate and ask you to slow down and even suggest self-repairing mechanisms.
    Tooooo fairy-talish! But its coming.
    I’m just wondering if the fall-outs of this will overtake the benefits. Personally, I prefer that the Human element should not go missing at any cost.

  6. Shekhar, I agree with you. Change is inevitable and adapting to it is what survival is all about. I guess we all can just cross our fingers and hope that the future is more beautiful than ugly.

  7. …just about everything we take for granted today came out of research which was initially funded by the military, for military purposes – a depressing thought, but a reality – a lot of technology for film and video games is a by-product of aerospace / military technology and you could probably trace most other things to that source…
    Gunpowder gave us fireworks, so maybe nano-technology will pave the way for new forms of entertainment too – eg your idea about the party would imply being able to re-construct it in complete 3D, like an immersive film – on the other hand you could also materialize an entire phantom army at any location…if that’s what you wanted to do…

  8. I’m not a big fan of nanotechnology it seems to be be an umbrella term that covers a whole bunch of technologies that work at microscopic scales.
    We don’t have to worry about objects the size of light particles appearing any time soon, since we don’t even understand what really happens at those scales. Even at larger scales there are a whole bunch of practical problems that have to be solved before we get anywhere.
    That said, if it were practical to produce these small devices you suggest. It’s hard to say whether they would be very effective. A whole bunch of questions arise. Will they be susceptible to jamming? Will it be possible to build clean rooms where they can’t survive? Can the technology be replicated? For every question answered more will appear in its place.
    Trying to predict the future of a non-existent technology is pretty much impossible. Past experience has shown that futurologists pretty much fail at this. Think Virtual Reality and Robotics.
    About the privacy issue, I think it’s a bit too late to do anything about that. More and more of our lives are being led on the internet where are actions can be easily tracked and audited. And on the net there is value in letting personal information be available easily. Blogs being an example.

  9. Shekhar,
    Wen everybody knows everything it kills d joy of surprises. In a monsterous information jungle v will caught up and as u said shall b confused. Then and then v need 2 hear of whisper and tht whisper we listen will be knowing by somebody else. Oh God! Wat 2 do then? be insane.

  10. Well here is an interesting concept..Gandhi as we all know one of the greatest change catalysts..he electrified our fight for freedom and change..he forced the colonial rule to much change. But the interesting fact he used some age old methods.,..which werenot advancements in technology but good old basics..making salt from sea, making your own cloth..not buying imported stuff etc. Im not able to put my finger on it but i think this holds the key to the use of technology for resisting change in the wrong direction or making change in the right direction.

  11. Sekhar, I am a nanotechnologist at Cornell University working on technologies. Being a nanotechnology researcher I think I have to comment on this post.
    I think nanotechnology could one day make the kind of recording that you are suggesting come true.
    The computers and networks needed to process this kind of information are already being made in labs arnd US, enabled by nanotechnology.
    Home network speeds approaching 1 Trillions bits per second (thats 1 followed by 12 zeros) will be common place by 2020. Such networks will be able to carry and allow processing of the immense volume of data from 3D sense augmented media.
    Its heartening to see interest in these technologies from artists like you. For afterall, what technology creates is ultimately for better experiences for everyone, from classroom to movie theatre.
    Sasikanth Manipatruni
    Cornell University

  12. Do you know about the Nano Cafs website?
    It offers Latest News on societal, environmental, ethical and risk issues raised by nanotechnology, an updated list of websites , reports and articles, multimedia resources, and applications.
    It is geared towards everyone – citizens and scientists – and presents resources in plain language.
    It includes a wide variety of information sources with different points of view. The site is maintained by scientists and citizen journalists from Madison, Wisconsin (USA) who believe that sharing different perspectives is essential to healthy public deliberation and democracy.
    The Citizens’ Coalition on Nanotechnology

  13. Shekhar.. I did a google search on “nanotechnology and cinema”. The impression Im getting is that the quality of digital cinema can benefit a lot. However laymen like me donot understand this concept that nanotechnology can sense smell and then recreate that post facto as a cinema experience. It is little too much to digest.
    But as a bollywood item song fan if i can smell yana gupta or feel her..while watching her item can u imagine the pleasure. Apologies for taking nanotechnology to such cheezy depths..but god what an awesome thought!!

  14. Well I see it this way that the science has always existed n perished along with the knower/inventor/discoverer-The misiles we are testing today may have existed in the form of brahmastra as per indian mythology-but as the knowledge was confined to only royal people-with them perishing n not finding capable inheritor of such knowledge n from fear of it being utilised against mankind perished with the death of knower-similarly nanao particles have always existed-remember the ET series by Steven Spielberg–the logic given for death was that the DNAs of all organisms are programmed/evolved in a way that they cannot exist unless they are subjected to the conditons/parameters existing or pertaining to a certain set of space & time.If alter even a single parameter the DNA wud not exist-resulting in impossiblity of existence of the organism itself which as per Darwin’s Theory of evolution-genes evolved to the particular set of time n space cannot be exactly same as those existing in say the next nanosecond–It’s just that man’s fascination to explore the minutest detail of creation to precision of nano i.e.10/-9 i.e. 10 with suprscribed 9-once it is known,we may move toward-Angstrom–i.e.10 with superscript 10.similarly the fascination for macro world i.e. the outer space which infact is bs understood thru spirituality rather than sending voyagers to different known/unknown planets as the limitation remains for the farther n beyond which we can never be aware of.

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