Good to see: high throughput, inexpensive DNA sequencing is
being featured on NPR this week in a
series entitled the $1,000 Genome. Many of the
technologies for this revolution in sequencing, of
course, relate closing to or directly are nanotechnology
(e.g., nanopore, microfluidic, and/or lab-on-a-chip
technologies). Personalized medicine depends on it. More
generally, the interface between biology and electronics is one of
the most compelling arguments for further development and
commercialization of nanotechnology and, more particularly, bio
nanotechnology. Another leading example is allowing partially
blind or blind persons to see better with artificial retinas.
A brief check of the nanotechnology class 977 patent literature
shows IBM has activity in this area. See, for example, their
recent US patent publications 2012/0199483 (published August 9,
2012); 2012/0193237 (published August 2, 2012); 2011/0308949
(December 22, 2011); and 2011/0279125 (November 17, 2011).
Hopefully, angel and venture capital investment will also flow
to these exciting areas. This appears to be turning out to be
one of many virtually secret "killer apps" for
nanotech. For example, the NPR series does not delve too much
into how the sequencing is done (per the series, sequencing done in
a "black box"). Hopefully, despite
the secrecy, the federal and state governments, including
those who fund and run the NNI, are watching.
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