Life is all about balancing. While we weigh the potential risks of using nanomaterials in long-lasting, super-efficient batteries for cars and electronics, for instance, we are dumping alkaline batteries into landfills, generating nuclear waste, and filling the air with toxic emissions.
Typically, scientists and researchers are the ones who have been trying to find ways to educate the public about nanotechnology (see “Public views nanotech research on TV,” SmallTimes, July/August 2007, page 4), but now artists are getting into the act.
Chemist Margaret Blohm and her team at General Electric cheered in February 2003 when GE Plastics sold its first commercial batch of Lexan SLX, which was a major improvement over the plastic material that had been developed 50 years earlier for use on auto body surfaces.
The Nintendo Wii’s use of a MEMS-enabled motion controller and the Apple iPhone’s use of accelerometers to change the display from horizontal to vertical are examples of how MEMS are creating new ways for people to interact with electronic devices.