Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Picture of the day

Utility Foglet

Tim Fonseca, Utility Foglet

Modeled on the utility fog concept first put forth by Dr. J. Storrs Hall, Artist Tim Fonseca created this visual representation. (click to see larger version)

Here is Dr. Hall's description: "Imagine a microscopic robot. It has a body about the size of a human cell and 12 arms sticking out in all directions. A bucketfull of such robots might form a 'robot crystal' by linking their arms up into a lattice structure. Now take a room, with people, furniture, and other objects in it -- it's still mostly empty air. Fill the air completely full of robots. The robots are called Foglets and the substance they form is Utility Fog, which may have many useful medical applications. And when a number of utility foglets hold hands with their neighbors, they form a reconfigurable array of 'smart matter.'"

Learn more about utility fog at

To see the entire series, visit the Nanotechnology Now Gallery.

Quote of the day

"Nanotech is where breakthroughs are likely. Forget about just the cancer-detection and other advanced medical tools it's midwifing and the next-gen consumer electronics such as super-bright displays. On a planet that's on the cusp of catastrophic climate change, nano-engineered materials have the potential to make a real difference. Imagine solar power cells that are far cheaper and more efficient; batteries that allow for more efficient electric cars; components that make cleaner coal-fired power plants. These and other applications are hardly trivial--they'll save energy, reduce pollution, and maybe go a little way to making sure Times Square won't be under water for the next millennium celebration."

~David Talbot. From: Good News: No Nano News

Cleantech funding

If anyone needed proof that clean technologies are seen as both critical to our collective future and potentially profitable, today’s news (1) of a $62.5 million fund should help convince them of those realities.

Piper Jaffray closed on its Clean Tech fund at the end of last month, making money available VCs with "environmentally-friendly portfolios."

Another bit that point to an encouraging future for cleantech: "The bank set out to raise $25 million, but after word got out about the effort, the fund more than doubled in size, and investors were eventually turned away."

Couple that news with John Doerr’s pronouncement (2) that "cleantech the biggest economic opportunity of this century," and you may come to realize, as I have, that cleantech is no longer just being given lip service by big biz and gov.

I’ll close this with a quote from my friend and colleague, Jack Uldrich: "The bottom line is that, like Doerr, I believe cleantech will be huge. I also believe there will be many technologies and companies taking part in the solution."