Safe Nanotoys

At the cocktail parties I've attended lately, "Look at my new nanotechnology!" has not been said. But it may soon be.

If you google "nanotechnology next industrial revolution," the results are pages and pages of links to government papers, academic sites, and unknown others. Nanotechnology involves messing around with things on the atomic level.  How can the average person make sense of it?

According to How Stuff Works, "Nanotechnology is so new, no one is really sure what will come of it. Even so, predictions range from the ability to reproduce things like diamonds and food to the world being devoured by self-replicating nanorobots."

If a bit sensational, the nanorobot image invokes some of humankind's greatest fears: of the unknown, of the uncontrollable, of powerlessness of any kind.

For Matthew Hull, president of NanoSafe, Inc., helping companies harness the power of nanotechnology in accord with human and environmental health concerns is an area of both expertise and passion.

Hull believes research and development in nanotechnology have outpaced knowledge of environmental health and safety concerns. NanoSafe, Inc., one of the newest Member Companies of high-tech accelerator VT KnowledgeWorks, provides consulting, services, and products designed to bridge the gap between the known and the unknown.

On a recent visit to a friend's house, I watched her four-year-old son drop his snack bar on the floor. He reached for it, but she swooped for it, rinsed it, and returned it to her son before he had a moment to think whether he wanted his snack bar soggy or not. To protect her child from the unknown effects of the detritus created by two adults, three children, and two dogs, a mother's timing was in nanoseconds.

Matthew Hull and his company NanoSafe, Inc. seem equally timely. Whether it's adults or children exclaiming, "Look at my new nanotoy!", we need to know companies who created it did so safely.

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