We’ve all used water repellents on footwear but ion-mask, a new nano-enabled product, promises to repel not just water but blood as well. That’s important when you’re decontaminating biohazards or in a conflict situation (e.g. war, civil protest, etc.). This Magnum product is being demonstrated at a military/police tradeshow, Milipol 2009, in Paris. From the news item on Azonano,
A world first on Magnum’s stand will be public demonstrations of ion-mask™ being applied to various materials, using one of P2i’s special plasma processing machines. These are used in a growing number of mass-manufacturing locations around the world to realise economies of scale.
Magnum’s live treatment demonstrations will show clearly how ion-mask™ transforms the performance of footwear by applying a nanoscopic protective polymer layer to the whole shoe, on which water and other liquids form beads and simply roll off, instead of being absorbed.
The Elite Force 8.0 WPi meets BS EN ISO 16604:2004 ‘pathogen resistance’ testing standards, as well as complying with the BS EN ISO 20347:2004 standard for personal protection equipment and occupational footwear.
The item is a little confusing as there are so many names for the products and companies involved in this one offering. As far as I can tell, the nano-enabled liquid repellent is ion-mask and it’s produced by P2i. The company Magnum [Boot] uses the ion-mask in their product called, Elite Force 8.0 WPi . You can find out more about Milipol 2009 here, the company Magnum Boots here, and the company P2i here.
A Vancouver-based company, Lumerical Solutions Inc. is helping nanotechnology researchers run large-scale simulations. Lumerical produces nanophotonic design software which has been licensed to a consortium (WestGrid) which makes high performance computing accessible to science, engineering, arts, and humanities researchers in Western Canada. From the news item on Nanowerk,
The photonics and nanostructure research performed by Jeff Young, Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of British Columbia, is one example of where Lumerical’s software and WestGrid’s hardware are used to run these very large simulations. Young and his team are interested in developing new optical materials through controlling light at the level of a single photon, which is the smallest entity of light allowed by quantum mechanics. If light can be trapped together with an atom, or an artificial atom at a fixed location on a semiconductor chip, it can generate a new kind of quasi-particle. If this research group discovers a process to render these new kinds of particles, it could have many interesting applications in the general area of quantum information processing. Quantum cryptography is one example, which uses quantum mechanics to ensure secure sharing of information.
This item reminds me that tn the interview Victor Jones of Nanotech BC (which seems to be defunct) gave me in May 2009, he mentioned that there is some leadership in the area of quantum computing in BC. The relevant comment is in part 2 of Victor Jones’s interview.
Thanks to Rob Annan, I’ve found another Canadian science blog, The Black Hole which focuses on issues affecting new science researchers/trainees. That said, they cover a very broad spectrum including one of my hobby horses, science outreach, a.k.a. science communication. In reading a recent ‘Black Hole’ post on the subject, I’m struck by their list of resources (similar to mine) but since I didn’t compile it I was able to view the resources with fresh eyes and the huge emphasis on outreach to children is amazing to me. It’s important to conduct outreach to children but you can’t effectively ignore the rest of the population although that does seem to be Canadian science policy. (Do visit the blog, it’s very lively reading and provides great insight into academic science as it is practiced in Canada. Now, back to my main programme.)
I contrast what happens regarding science outreach/communication here with other jurisdictions, notably the US, the UK, and Europe (although the UK is part of Europe, they do seem to stand apart by reason of language if for no other reason) on a pretty regular basis. One of the key differences is that there is far more outreach to adult populations than we see in Canada.Take for example, The University of Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) programme, ‘Nano in the Mall’. From the news item on Nanowerk,
The event took place during CNSE’s month-long community and educational outreach initiative known as NANOvember, part of the CNSE-KeyBank “NEXSTEP” initiative to promote greater understanding of the region’s changing economic and business environment driven by nanotechnology, with a special emphasis on children, citizens and community.
Yes, children are mentioned but the focus is on understanding the changing economic and business environment and that’s clearly aimed at adults.
It’s been a morning for walking down memory lane as the mall event reminded me of a similar event in the Vancouver area some 15 or 16 years ago. I was working for a data communications company and we participated (after much begging on my part) in a Science and Technology Week event at a local mall. We set up a display which demonstrated what happens when you swipe a credit card or debit card through a reader. We created an animation which showed a Canadian traveling in Australia swiping their card to purchase an item. We showed data traveling through various systems into Canada and back to Australia within seconds of swiping a card to make their purchase. Much to the shock of the company’s sales and engineering staff, people were interested. In fact, they were very interested and I think that was because it was an application that people in malls had used and/or were going to be using within minutes of their chat with us. They weren’t clamouring ahead of time to hear about it but when there was an opportunity with a fairly low investment of time and effort, they grabbed it. Btw, adults and children crowded around the table.
The experience confirmed my sense that if it’s done right, people will respond with interest and with questions to a science display.