Innovation Update Day: Nanoinnovation – The Invisible Revolution

ICE Day 1When I first thought of nanotechnology the only thing that came to mind was a nano ipod. Luckily that has now changed. For those you like me who know little about nanotechnology, this presentation was very helpful in defining nanotechnology and giving examples of projects using nanotechnology.

The session started off with a quick presentation from Dr. Gang Feng, Associate Professor from Villanova University’s Mechanical Engineering Department. Dr. Feng discussed some of his and his colleagues’ research on nanotechnology being done at Villanova. Currently, Dr. Feng is doing research to strengthen nanoparticle thin films which will enable the commercialization of nanotechnology based products for energy conservation, water purification and biomedicine. The major problem with nanoparticle thin films is their poor durability. Dr. Feng is working on increasing the hardiness of the nano material especially at low temperatures. For more information on Dr. Feng’s research click on this link.

IMG_1422After Dr. Feng’s presentation, Michael Tomczyk, Innovator in Residence at Villanova University, shared insights from his new book NanoInnovation: What Every Manager Needs to Know.  He explained that nanoinnovations have been around for thousands of years before the word “nano” was even coined. A microminiature portrait of President Barack Obama was created to celebrate the election of Obama and to draw attention to the growing capabilities of nanotechnology. The portrait is composed of 150 million carbon nanotubes, this portrait was named “NanObama.” An example of nanotechnology that people use daily are smart touchscreen devices. Nanoinnovation is also being used to mimic the capabilities of a gecko’s footpads which allow lizards to cling to walls, ceilings and windows. This technology can allow TVs to adhere to smooth vertical surfaces.

ICE Day 3As a nursing major, I found the biological and nanomedicine technology fascinating. Tomczyk explained a process of taking cadaver organs and removing everything except protein stem cells to create organ transplants. This process was used to create a bladder for a young girl which saved her life. An ingestible computer chip embedded into a pill is also being invented to communicate to a wireless wristband for researchers and care providers. This nanotechnology has the potential to inform a child that his or her ailing mother has taken her medicine on time. Tomczyk ended the presentation by discussing various women scientist that are making huge contributions to nanotechnology and asking the audience to think about how we can use nanotechnology to solve problems and create opportunities in the future.

ICE Day 4