Emerging Technology

Carbon nanotubes as a potent cancer promoter – new data from NIOSH

by Andrew Maynard March 14, 2013

On Monday, the National Institute for Occupational Safety released new data on the potential role multi-walled carbon nanotubes play as a cancer-promoter – a substance that promotes the development of cancer in the presence of a carcinogen.  In the study, mice were injected with methylcholanthrene – a cancer initiating agent – and subsequently exposed to [...]

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Top 10 Most Promising Technology Trends 2013, from the World Economic Forum

by Andrew Maynard February 14, 2013

The World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies has just published its annual list of the top ten emerging technology trends.  Based on expert assessment from council members and others, the list provides insight into technologies that have the potential to have a significant economic and social impact in the near to mid [...]

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At the frontiers of the science of health risk – five areas to watch

by Andrew Maynard January 2, 2013

Cross-posted from Risk Sense This week’s Risk Bites video takes a roller-coaster ride through some of the hottest topics in risk science. Admittedly this is a somewhat personal list, and rather constrained by being compressed into a two and a half minute video for a broad audience. But it does touch on some of the [...]

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“We took a rat apart and rebuilt it as a jellyfish”

by Andrew Maynard July 22, 2012

Sometimes you read a science article and it sends a shiver tingle down your spine.  That was my reaction this afternoon reading Ed Yong’s piece on a paper just published in Nature Biotechnology by Janna Nawroth, Kevin Kit Parker and colleagues. The gist of the work is that Parker’s team have created a hybrid biological [...]

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Think Design – an alternative take on nanotech (in 11 minutes!)

by Andrew Maynard May 22, 2012

A few weeks ago I was asked to give a “TED style talk” on nanotechnology for the University of Michigan Environmental Health Sciences department 125th anniversary.  What they got was a short talk on “thinking small”: The other talks in the series are also worth checking out – covering topics as diverse as epigenetics, cancer, [...]

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Carbon nanoparticles could be ubiquitous to many foods

by Andrew Maynard May 19, 2012

TEM images of carbon particles from foods containing caramelized sugar. Click to see larger image. Source: Palashudding et al. Nanotechnology leads to novel materials, new exposures and potentially unique health and environmental risks – or so the argument goes.  But an increasing body of research is showing that relatively uniformly sized nanometer scale particles are [...]

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Nano quadrotors – a game-changing technology innovation, but can we handle it?

by Andrew Maynard March 4, 2012

It’s been hard to avoid the buzz surrounding nano quadrotors this week, following the posting of Vijay Kumar’s jaw-dropping TED talk – and the associated viral video of the semi-autonomous machines playing the James Bond theme. The quadrotors are impressive – incredibly impressive.  But I’m sure I am not the only person watching these videos [...]

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Is Maynard going over to the nano-dark side?

by Andrew Maynard February 24, 2012

A few weeks ago I spent some time chatting with Howard Lovy for an article for the Nanobusiness Commercialization Association.  That interview was posted by Vincent Caprio on his blog a few days ago, and raised a few eyebrows – was I showing signs of becoming a nano-risk skeptic? I hope not, as as I [...]

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Wonders and Worries – Retro nano at its best!

by Andrew Maynard February 19, 2012

Here’s an introduction to the “wonders and worries of nanotechnology” that I think is rather brilliant: It’s part of a series being produced by the Science Museum of Minnesota for the Nanoscale Informal Science Education network (NISE Net). The series is designed to stimulate discussions addressing the societal and ethical implication of nanotechnology – but [...]

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World Economic Forum: Top Emerging Technologies Trends

by Andrew Maynard February 16, 2012

For the past few months, the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies has been working on identifying some of the most significant trends in technology innovation.  Published yesterday by WEF, these represent ten areas that we as a council felt are likely to shake things up over the next few years in [...]

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Superstition and science – another A World Of Surprises video

by Andrew Maynard February 12, 2012

Another product of the A World Of Surprises project with James King and a bunch of extremely talented public health and science students.  This is a video from Gracie Trinidad, and explores the frisson between superstition and science through medieval paintings – with a contemporary twist at the end [make sure you watch to the [...]

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The Tale of Rhino Banana(TM)

by Andrew Maynard February 4, 2012

A product of the A World Of Surprises project with James King and a bunch of extremely talented public health and science students. The task was to explore the confluence between mundane and catastrophic risk, which the team does beautifully.  Love the technique, and the subtle touches (note the progressive effect of Rhino Bananas on [...]

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Exploring speculated catastrophe and mundane reality

by Andrew Maynard February 4, 2012

Credit: James King Last semester, speculative designer James King worked with myself and a small group of science and public health students at the University of Michigan to explore how a fusion of science and creative art can lead to new insights and modes of communication.  The exercise was part of the A World of [...]

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National Academy publishes new nanomaterials risk research strategy

by Andrew Maynard January 25, 2012

The US National Academy of Science today published its long-awaited Research Strategy for Environmental, Health, and Safety Aspects of Engineered Nanomaterials. I won’t comment extensively on the report as I was a member of the committee that wrote it.  But I did want to highlight a number of aspects of it that I think are [...]

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2012 World Economic Forum Global Risk Report

by Andrew Maynard January 11, 2012

Cross-posted from the Risk Science Blog The World Economic Forum Global Risks Report is one of the most authoritative annual assessments of emerging issues surrounding risk currently produced. Now in its seventh edition, the 2012 report launched today draws on over 460 experts* from industry, government, academia and civil society to provide insight into 50 [...]

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Innovation resolutions for 2012

by Andrew Maynard December 31, 2011

Note to self: When being swept up in the inevitable innovation frenzies* that 2012 will bring, don’t forget to: Be aware of where change is needed, and where it is not; Focus on inventiveness that will foster new solutions to pressing challenges; Develop the foresight to explore and respond to the consequences of actions arising [...]

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Pencasts – a useful educational tool?

by Andrew Maynard December 11, 2011

I picked up a new toy this weekend. (If you want to cut to the chase and see what I’ve been doing with it, please head straight to the end of the post). I’m fascinated by the combination of old tech (essentially “chalk and talk”) and new media that Sal Kahn has been successfully using [...]

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Exposure to silver nanoparticles may be more common than we thought

by Andrew Maynard November 7, 2011

The past few years has seen an explosion of interest in silver nanoparticles.  Along with a plethora of products using the particles to imbue antimicrobial properties on everything from socks to toothpaste, nanometer scale silver particles have been under intense scrutiny from researchers and policy makers concerned that they present an emerging health and environmental [...]

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Techno Hype or Techno Hope? Two panel discussions on technology innovation

by Andrew Maynard November 6, 2011

I’ve been up to my eyeballs this past few weeks in stuff, and haven’t had as much time as usual to post here.  So this weekend I thought I would take the easy route and post a couple of videos from the recent Symposium on Risk, Uncertainty and Sustainable Innovation. These were back to back [...]

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New US federal strategy for nanotechnology safety research released

by Andrew Maynard October 20, 2011

The latest iteration of the US National Nanotechnology Initiative’s Environmental, Health and Safety Research Strategy was released today – downloadable from nano.gov. A draft of the document has been on the streets since last December – this version was compiled after a public comment period on that draft that closed earlier this year (the key [...]

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