Friday, June 16, 2006

Carbon Based Life

I talked about "future creep" back in November 2005, and since I subscribe to the newsletter, Wired Magazine, and MIT Technology Review's Emerging Technology weekly update, it's not surprising that I see a steady flow of innovations in my inbox. Carbon nanotubes (CNT) seem to figure in many developments these days, and not only those about space elevators (a personal favorite future application) and CNT computers.

Case in point from a recent MIT report: the use of arrays of carbon nanotubes to form a membrane that can be used to efficiently filter and desalinate water. The fresh water supply is a huge and growing problem in many places in the world, and while desalination is basically a simple process, it requires a lot of energy. This CNT membrane method could reduce the cost by 75% compared to current reverse osmosis methods. Carbon is amazing stuff.

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