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Top 5 Nanotechnology Revolution Facts

VO: Chris Masson
It's been said that people don't even realize when they're in the midst of a revolution. One one millionth of a millimetre: that's the size of a nanometre. And that's the scale at which nanotechnology is slowly starting a revolution. Clothes that generate electricity. Supercomputers built at home. Complete societal upheaval. (Huzzah!) This and more in this instalment of WatchMojo's Top 5 Facts!

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Top 5 Nanotech Revolution Facts

One one millionth of a millimetre: that’s the size of a nanometre. And that’s the scale at which nanotechnology is slowly starting a revolution.
Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Facts; the series where we reveal – you guessed it – five random facts about a fascinating topic. Today we take a glimpse into the future as we count down the top 5 revolutionary facts about nanotechnology.

#5: Electricity Will Be Generated From Your Clothes

Hydroelectric dams work by harvesting the force of rushing water. Nanogenerators function using the same principle on a much smaller scale, enabling energy production from practically any movement, including your own heartbeat. Now, Korean scientists have developed a sweater woven with nanofibers that convert the friction of normal movement into enough electricity to power various small electronics built into the garment. That could mean that the very act of searching for your iPhone charger would charge your iPhone.

#4: Nanotech Could Save (or Destroy) the Environment

First, the good news: nanomaterials have already proven to be very effective at cleaning soil, water, and to some extent, the air, and there’s more work to be done, particularly in the field of green energy. The bad news? Like all new technologies, we don’t know the long-term health impact of nanotechnologies. Nanoparticles are just so tiny that there’s a potential for them to accumulate in plants and microorganisms. And what would breathing in a lungful of nanoscopic particles do to you? Then there’s the controversial grey goo scenario, whereby self-replicating nanobots go haywire and do nothing but build astronomical copies of themselves, scavenging material from everyone and everything, turning the earth to dust within days. Well, at least it would be quick.

#3: Goods Will be Made in Desktop Factories

We’re all familiar with 3D printers at this point. But Personal Nanofactories will be far more advanced. Well, maybe not quite that advanced. Theoretically, as soon as we can build one fabricator -- a nanomachine that assembles individual molecules into useful shapes-- that fabricator could build more, and they could assemble themselves into larger and larger machines, until you get something like this. Nanotech theorists think that these machines could build computer processors so small and efficient that laptops would could house literally a billion CPUs, making them exponentially more powerful than today’s computers.

#2: The Economy Will Be Completely Disrupted

This nanotech revolution is starting to sound like paradise. But if we can build all the non-edible consumer goods we need, and Nanofactories enable massive gains in efficiency in every sector of society, then just what will we do for work? Granted, economies have restructured with the advent of new technologies before. But couple that level of unrest with a nanofactory’s ability to manufacture extremely powerful and complex robotic weapons, and the nanotech revolution is suddenly a nightmare.

#1: Nanotech is the Future of Medicine

It’s hard to argue against technologies that will prolong human life, and this is probably the most exciting area of nanotechnology. The holy grail of nanomedicine is nanobots that swim through your bloodstream, patrolling for tumours, arterial clogs, or other dangerous abnormalities. Those things are still a long way away, but in the meantime, scientists are using nanoparticles in multiple ways, like as targeted delivery vehicles for cancer medications. Scientists from MIT recently proved that it’s possible to insert nanofactories into the body to manufacture drugs on demand at specific sites, so in the future curing cancer could be as simple as getting a shot or rubbing on an ointment.

What do you think of these facts? Any tiny details we missed? For more world-changing top 10s and cutting edge top 5s, be sure to subscribe to

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