Nanotechnology is defined by Wikipedia as follows:
Nanotechnology refers broadly to a field of applied science and technology whose unifying theme is the control of matter on the atomic and molecular scale, normally 1 to 100 nanometers, and the fabrication of devices with critical dimensions that lie within that size range.
Why, you might ask, do I bring this up? Because today saw the debut of the tiniest radio ever created. The UK based technology website The Register describes the device which is smaller than the diameter of a human hair:
A team of scientists from the University of Illinois and Northrop Grumman Corp Electronics Systems has succeeded in creating a microscopic functioning radio constructed from carbon nanotubes, Reuters reports.
The nanoradio consists of two radio frequency amplifiers, a radio frequency mixer and an audio amplifier, crafted from carbon nanotubes on a quartz wafer. It also has a nanotube output transistor into which you plug your traditional headphones, and relies on an old-school antenna.The researchers say they were able to pick up traffic reports from a Baltimore radio station on their device, which was designed as a test vehicle to “develop nanotubes as a higher-performing semiconductor”, as the University of Illinois’ professor John Rogers explained.
The scientific team that created the device has stated that the creation of this radio was simply done to prove the technology. They were not interested in creating a line of tiny radios. Despite that assertion, the fact remains that we have proven the micro radio to be workable, and as this technology mainstreams, I am sure that nanotech radios will hit the market.
Do you think radio is everywhere now? Just wait until this tech gets closer to the production line. Today cars come with radios pre-installed as a standard feature. With the advent of the nanotech radio the future will carry that concept lightyears further. Imagine getting a winter parka that has both regular and emergency radios built in, but having the same mass as a jacket of today. Imagine radios that are integrated into the frames of your glasses.
The future is tiny, and that’s a big thing!