In keeping with my interest in the multimodal communication of science, I have found a slide show about teaching nanotechnology using haptics here. The technique is intended for the visually impaired but as the authors point out visual contact at the nano scale is impossible. So, everyone, visually impaired or not, makes haptic contact with material at the nano scale with the consequence that the teaching technique is suitable for everybody.
As suggested in my July 27, 2009 blog posting (part 4 of the robots and human enhancement series), developments such as these suggest that the notion of physical impairment may change significantly or disappear.
In a media release, on the Azonano site, detailing new revelations about Brownian motion, Steve Granick, Founder Professor of Engineering at the University of Illinois, describes how many of us are taught about Brownian motion,
“In high school science classes, students are often assigned the task of using a microscope to watch a particle of dust sitting in a drop of water,” Granick said. “The dust particle seems alive, moving back and forth, never in the same way. The motion of the dust particle is caused by the random ‘kicks’ of surrounding water molecules.”
Granick goes on to describe what he and his researchers have observed,
“Like Einstein, we used to think we could describe Brownian motion with a standard bell-shaped curve,” Granick said. “But now, with the ability to measure very small distances much more precisely than was possible 100 years ago, we have found that we can have extremes much farther than previously imagined.”
Please do take a look at the story on the Azonano site for more about the significance of this discovery.
Nanowerk News has posted a media release from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about new rules which allow for commercialization of carbon nanotubes under limited conditions. The EPA document is here and pages 9 (multi-walled carbon nanotubes) and 10 (single-walled nanotubes) are the relevant pages.