Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The longest micron

My friend David Pescovitz, BoingBoing blogger, nanotech writer and ever-faithful NanoBot adviser, calls my attention to a quote in this piece at CNN.com: "The device that causes an airbag to inflate in a crash is a nanotech device," said David Kirkpatrick, senior editor at Fortune Magazine.

David ends his note to me with a simple, "Well ..."

I'll finish his sentence. "Well ... now you know why fortunes can be easily lost in the nanotech space. You first must understand how small "nano" is. The gadget that makes an airbag inflate in an instant is a MEMS (microelectromechanical system) device. Innovative and life-saving? Of course. Small? You betcha, but not small enough. Microns seem miles long when compared to the nanometer.


Anonymous said...

"Microns seem miles long when compared to the nanometer.

I think that it would be more accurate to say nanometers are to microns as meters are to kilometers.
Or you could say a micron is a thousand times longer than a nanometer, a square micron is a million times bigger than a square nanometer, a cubic micron is a billion times bigger than a cubic nanometer.

Howard Lovy said...

Well, that's what I get for doing a quickie blog post during a layover at Midway Airport. Didn't have the time to find a proper measurement analogy before my flight started boarding. Thanks!