Nanotechnology: Fact or Fiction?

NISE Network product
Description: 

Fact or Fiction? employs graphic panels and constructible toy “nanobots” to teach visitors what’s real in nanotechnology, and what remains science fiction. Learn about the potential risks and benefits that could come with nanoscale robots, and the challenges that still prevent us from creating them. Build a toy nanobot—what could it do if it were real?

Audience: 

Objectives

Big Idea: 
Many real examples of nanotechnology do exist, but others (such as nanobots) are imaginary.
Learning Goals: 
  • Nano is very, very small.
  • Nanotechnology is real and can be found in applications such as clothing and sports equipment
  • Nanobots are not real and do not currently exist.
  • There are many challenges related to creating a nano-sized robot.
  • In the future, nanobots might exist and might be able to do useful things. Future examples of nanobots include applications in medicine.
  • There might be unintended consequences to creating nanobots.
NISE Net Content Map: 
  • Nanometer-sized things are very small, and often behave differently than larger things do.
  • Scientists and engineers have formed the interdisciplinary field of nanotechnology by investigating properties and manipulating matter at the nanoscale.
  • Nanoscience, nanotechnology, and nanoengineering lead to new knowledge and innovations that weren't possible before.
  • Nanotechnologies—and their costs, utility, risks, and benefits—are closely interconnected with society and with our values.

Credits

Funding: 
Developed for the NISE Network with funding from the National Science Foundation under Award Numbers 0532536 and 0940143. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this product are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.
Permissions: 

Creative Commons license image Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike

Development Process: 

NISE Network products are developed through an iterative collaborative process that includes scientific review, peer review, and visitor evaluation in accordance with an inclusive audiences approach. Products are designed to be easily edited and adapted for different audiences under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. To learn more, visit our Development Process page.