Sunday, April 26, 2009

Nanosuit superhumans

Nanoscience and nanotechnology are new fields with various promises and big impacts to be made upon the society. Other than the normal mundane nanosized robots that can self replicate and carbon nanotubes, the possibility of integrating them into an exoskeleton suit of human size and shape is intriguing and will have various impacts on the society as a whole.
In the future, a device can be worn as a belt and on activation, small nanobots will come out of the device to create a suit that covers the user’s body with specialised carbon nanotubes. This suit can be bullet proof, light and be equipped with weapons. In comparison with the world of fiction, it is the nano version of Iron Man! In short, nanotechnology allows the technical possibility of Superhumans to exist in our world. These superhumans can be a one man tank, with the strength to carry heavy things as the exoskeleton allows it, high energy lasers that can be placed on the arms, jets that be placed at the bottom of the shoes, and anything else that Iron man can do.
If the suit is in the hands of the “right” people, superheroes can easily exist in this world. However, the impact of the existence of Nano Iron-man in the world may be varied. The world might explode in laughter at the person with the nanosuit acting like a superhero. The other possible response is that the world takes the concept of superhero seriously. From this point on, we only have the comics to guide us. And almost all the comics treat the coming of Superheroes as someone to respect and to hail as some saviour. However, the opposite may be true. Superpowers like America may be worried that Superhumans harbour too much power that it would threaten the superhuman to stop and hand over the suit.
Other than having people with “righteousness” having the suit, there can be greedy and ambitious people that can get a hold on this much power. These are the supervillians in the comic books. These people can leave a very negative impression on nanotechnology and possibly trigger wars like the war on terrorism. In this scenario, if a superhero comes and successfully save the day from the supervillian, then people who laugh at the notion of superhero may start to take them seriously. Most probably a team of supercops will be formed and controlled by a certain country. This can also trigger the possession of the suits by countries and start the whole arms race again, only this time; it is to collect the biggest army of Supersoldiers.
Finally, if the suit is available commercially without the weapons, it can be the ultimate protection suit, transforming the human race to a race of superhumans. The function of cops and soldiers are reduced, and murder cases become rare.
In conclusion, the possibilities allowed by nanotechnology in this form are huge and may generate many possible responses from the society.

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