As nanotechnology is rapidly maturing, we can see the first applications (that are more impressive than stainfree nanopants) on the horizon.
Nantero is about to roll out carbon nanotube computer memory in 2007.
This memory will combine all the benefits of the various kinds of memory available today, without any of the disadvantages:
Sometime next year, you may be able to throw out your old memory chips and replace them with new faster and cooler carbon nanotube (CNT) memory. Greg Schmergel, co-founder, president and CEO of Nantero told TG Daily that his company is on track to bring drop-in memory sometime next year. Using carbon nanotubes, the new memory will allow future computers to instantly turn on, use less electricity and run cooler.
Schmergel told TG Daily that CNT memory will combine the speed of SRAM with the non-volitility of flash. "You can have an instant on computer, instead of waiting a few minutes for your computer to boot up," he said. In addition, he noted that unlike regular flash memory, which has a limited number of read/write cycles before dying [about 1,000,000 cycles - Ed], CNT memory achieve a much longer life. "Any other material would break, but carbon nanotubes allow a virtually infinite number of write cycles," Schmergel said.
Some background information on NRAM from the Nantero site:
Nantero, Inc. is building a high density nonvolatile random access memory chip, which can replace DRAM (dynamic RAM), SRAM (static RAM), flash memory, and ultimately hard disk storage--in other words a universal memory chip suitable for countless existing and new applications in the field of electronics. The target markets in aggregate exceed $100B in revenue per year. Nantero's product is called NRAM™ (Nanotube-based/ Nonvolatile RAM), developed using proprietary concepts and methods derived from leading-edge research in nanotechnology.
As you can see, the idea is to eventually replace hard disks with much smaller NRAM chips. This will make our computer systems smaller. Not only because we save much space otherwise taken up by hard disks, but also because less cooling is needed. So we can also save space on fans.
We are moving towards a world where we will be completely mobile, taking our computersystems wherever we go.
Also see my previous post The Future Of Computers.