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David Fazio

Harmony at Work

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Nanotechnology Bridges Big Gap to Live, Work and Play for Individuals of all Abilities - Part 2

The Russian Innovation Week that took place in October 2012 highlights the breakthrough capabilities and outcome of developing nanotechnology to aid persons with disabilities.

Nanotechnology isn’t limited to just electronics. It is actually common in many products on the market today. Most products don’t utilize nanotechnology to employ “harmony at work” like Apple has though.

A company by the name of Pilkington produces a self-cleaning glass called Activ Glass. It uses nanoparticles to make the glass photocatalytic and hydrophilic. The photocatalytic effect means that when UV radiation from light hits the glass, nanoparticles become energized and begin to break down and loosen organic molecules on the glass (in other words, dirt). Hydrophilic means that when water makes contact with the glass, it spreads across the glass evenly, which helps wash the glass clean.

Image: Panelists at the Russian Innovation Week

Image: Panelists at the Russian Innovation Week that was held October 25, 2012

This product has obvious commercial uses similar to that of teflon stove pans that are easier to clean. Other practical uses exist that can be embraced to create products that facilitate the independent living of the more severely disabled though. A greater focus on this kind of inclusion to achieve “harmony at work” and create livable solutions for persons with disabilities will simultaneously create a more lucrative product for the rest of the population. 

The biotech world also has many real world applications currently in use or under development that are, or will be, affecting our quality of life. Bandages embedded with silver nanoparticles are becoming increasingly popular in the world of medicine, and drugs can now be delivered through a patch. A variety of time release thin films are utilized for implantations into body as screws, joints, and stents. These films increase the long term effectiveness of the devices.

Respiration monitors utilizing nanomaterials have been developed that are many times more sensitive than previous state-of-the-art technology. Man-made skin is a nanofabricated network used for skin graft applications. Some other nanotechnology applications currently under development in the biotech world include: diabetic insulin biocapsules, pharmaceuticals utilizing “bucky ball” technology to selectively deliver drugs, and cancer therapies using targeted radioactive biocapsules. 

The world around us is filled with applications that nanotechnology makes possible. Nanotechnology is widespread. It promises to be a means for creating inclusive products and meet the needs of users from the broadest backgrounds, cultures, perspectives, and abilities. Nanotechnology promises to let those of us with disabilities share in the same meaningful experiences as the rest of the world.

Most companies do not design products that are inclusive ‘enough’ for people living with varying degrees of abilities. This is because disabled users are often an afterthought with the premise that we are a secondary market. Most companies consider customers with disabilities as a legal obligation in terms of accessibility, rather than a lucrative market opportunity.

Few companies incorporate inclusion at the conception and design stage and seldom keep the community in mind as a target market. Those companies that do, though, create entire markets, revolutionize industries, and transcend from competitors to industry leaders. Nanotechnology is no different than any other technology. It has the potential to employ harmony at work and produce attractive innovations to users of all abilities. 


Related Resource

Related Blog: Nanotechnology Bridges Gap to Live, Work and Play for Individuals of all Abilities - Part 1 | Blog by David Fazio | Read article.

Related Publication: Universal Service for Persons with Disabilities: A Global Survey of Policy Interventions and Good Practices | Published by The Centre for Internet & Society and G3ict | Download publication

Related Event: G3ict Presents at 2012 ASHA Annual Convention on November 15-17, 2012 at Atlanta, USA | Event details.


Related Items:


• European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing at eHealth Week

• D.C. Week - Advocacy 2.0: how technology is impacting grassroots - communications - marketing for campaigns and causes

• Digiday's Mobile Innovation Camp, Bonita Springs, FL, USA

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