My compliments to Lux Research for coming out with what appears to be a report that's somewhat critical of nanotech industry players. Glad to see a nanotech research company that doesn't feel the need to be an industry booster at all costs. Needless to say, I'm of the opinion that the industry benefits from constructive, independent criticism. One simple thought just occurred to me after reading: Corporate Nanomaterials Buyers Fail To Get What They Pay For.
Despite the best attempts by a great many talented people in the media, venture capital community and government, nanotechnology is still not ready to hang its "Open, Come on In!" sign. Good PR people and journalists -- and I admit my guilt in this, too -- have pumped nanotech up beyond its current capacity. The small group of nanotech tinkerers out there are the victims of their own hype, having bought into this concept of "nanobusiness," then fooled themselves into believing it's all true.
The NanoBot difference? I know that most of these companies are not yet ready for Wall Street, or even Main Street, and have no interest in promoting them as such. I've often repeated that nanotech is so young that it is more of a concept that reflects the world view of the beholder. To me, that makes it even more interesting because it is ripe for the "bottom-up" approach.
Now is the time to fire up the imagination and challenge the young and young at heart to mold and shape nanotech into whatever they want it to be. That's the model that works -- not putting out the word from on high, dictating what nanotech is and is not, and then pushing that concept onto a closed group of people who, ultimately, are not ready to sustain one another as an industry.
But you know who is just hungering for nanotech information? A much larger group of students, entrepreneurs and concerned citizens who just can't get themselves excited about nano-enhanced pants, sunscreen and tennis rackets. They are citizens who ask not what nanotech can do for them, but what they can do for nanotech.
I'm betting that there are creative people outside the laboratory and entrepreneur community -- even those who have never even paid much attention to nanotech -- who want to learn more about nanotechnology as it could apply to their own interests. What is important to scientists and business opportunists is not necessarily what is important to the rest of us, from eye surgeons to nanotech virgins.
Most of the "breakthroughs" you read about are still a few steps removed from actual application. Most will ultimately be used in a way that hadn't even occurred to the inventor. That's why it's up to you, specialists in your field or just the curious browser, to take nanotech research to its next phase. Use your expertise and your imagination to put the pieces together. New ways of thinking do not rise magically from new enabling technologies. They come from practitioners who can look at the pieces and see what nobody else can see: a new opportunity.
Meanwhile, I'm hard at work in this end, creating a more-useful nanotech information service. I think most of you will like the results. As always, your thoughts are welcome, either through the "comments" button below or by e-mailing me directly.