If you don’t know who Grace Hopper is, you will now. Grace was a Navy Rear Admiral and early computer scientist, credited with inventing COBOL (still used today) and Fortran. She also wrote the first software compiler.

Grace lived from 1906 to 1992 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. So why are we talking about her now?

We are introducing you to Grace because she showed the world a nanosecond on Late Night with David Letterman in 1985. She taught viewers to visualize a nanosecond by bringing a handful of wires that were 11.8 inches long. She then explained that these were nanoseconds: this was how far electricity could travel in one billionth of a second.

For the first time, non-scientists were aware that scientists were working on a tiny scale. Nano-things. Nanoseconds, nanometers.

Everyone now had a question in their heads: “What is nanotechnology?”

Ms. Hopper made us understand it on a late show, and if you read on, you’ll understand more about it and its applications.

What is Nanotechnology?

We thought you’d never ask.

We have long known that everything is made up of atoms. Just as Grace Hopper was the mother of COBOL, physicist Richard Feynman was the father of nanotechnology. In 1959, he pioneered the idea that scientists could control matter at a molecular level.

In 1981, modern nanotechnology was born, with the development of a scanning tunneling microscope that could see atoms.

To give you an idea of some nanoscales, here are some examples:

  1. A large raindrop is 1,000 times larger than one bacterium. One bacterium is 1,000 times larger than a DNA strand, which is 2.5 nanometers in diameter.
  2. Human hair is around 100,000 nanometers wide.
  3. Fingernails grow at about one nanometer per second.
  4. The reason that we can smell cookies baking is that the molecules from them are smaller than a nanometer and float in the air to our noses.

This should give you an idea of the scale that scientists are working at when they use nanotechnology for their research.

Classifications of Nanomaterials

Nanomaterials are classified by the number of dimensions they have that are greater than 100 nm, or nanometers. There are four classifications:

Zero-dimension nanomaterials are also known as nanoparticles. No aspect of nanomaterials measures more than 100 nm.

One-dimension nanomaterials are thin films used in solar applications, computer optical devices, and biological sensors.

Two-dimension nanomaterials are wires, fibers, and tubes used in everything from bicycles to fiber optic applications.

Three-dimension nanomaterials are nanodots.

What Are Some Applications of Nanomaterials?

Nanotechnology affects many fields of science and manufacturing. Researchers use it to build faster computers, increase efficiency for electrical applications, and invent better medical treatments.

Specific areas of nanotechnology use cases are:


Those shades of eye shadow that contain gold, silver, and blue all contain nanoforms of their metallic counterparts. Red and black pigments can contain nanomaterials as well.

Those effective PABA-free UV sunscreen products also contain zinc oxide nanomaterials, so they don’t cover your face with solid white cream. When you use Retinol on your skin, nanotechnology is helping to keep you young-looking.


Nano-sized chemicals improve food packaging to help keep it fresher and boost the nutritional value and flavor.

Amorphous silica nanoparticles are used to clarify beverages by filtering solids, and other nano-sized particles help with the uptake of multivitamins and fatty acids.


Speaking of uptake, nanotechnology in medicine is used to deliver light, heat, or drugs to specific cells, like cancer cells, to provide direct treatment. This technique helps protect healthy cells and promotes early disease detection.

Researchers are developing a sterilizing technique that uses infrared light and gold nanoparticles, which can lead to better sterilization of hospital instruments.


Existing applications of nanotechnology to help the environment are remediation of heavy-metal contaminated water; cleaner car emissions through nanomaterial coatings in catalytic converters; fuel additives to aid combustion; oil spill cleanup; and self-cleaning engine surfaces.

Solar panels use nanomaterials to improve efficiency, as do the batteries used to store solar energy.


Every time you swipe your smartphone screen, tablet, or surface, you are touching nanotechnology. The batteries used to power electronics are also dependent on nanomaterials.


The stained glass destroyed in Notre Dame’s fire will contain nano pigments like colloidal gold. Paints, coatings, and printing inks contain some of these same materials to enhance their color and durability.


Nanomaterials enhance the use of metals and foams and are used to increase flame retardancy and fire resistance in shipbuilding materials. Maritime workers are subject to specific dangers and injuries, and the shipbuilders assume liability for many of these hazards. You can find out more about maritime injuries to ensure your safety and rights. 

Tiny Strides

We have just brushed the surface of nanotechnology in this article. The ability to affect materials on the atomic level is a powerful technology. 

There are risks involved with the use of nanomaterials that scientists are working to mitigate. Spray compounds and pigments can permeate the skin and lungs. Nanofibers can also enter the lungs and irritate.

In a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, a band of rogue nanites invaded the ship’s core and began to destroy it after becoming sentient as a group. 

The benefits far outweigh the dangers, and nanotechnology is undoubtedly here to stay. Grace Hopper would be proud of what humanity has done with our advances in nanotechnology. Now, if anyone asks you “what is nanotechnology?” you can tell them about Grace.

Visit our tech archive for more information about emerging engineering developments and to stay current with everyday technology news.

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How to move contacts between iPhone and an Android phone

Are you planning to switch from android phone to iPhone or from iPhone to an android phone? Or you have already changed the smartphone and now planning to move contacts?

You get the best feeling when you finally purchase the phone you have been dreaming of whether it be an iPhone or S6. You cannot resist transferring everything to the new phone and this seems to be an issue, especially if you are not techy.

So how to transfer contacts from iPhone to android or from android to iPhone? Don’t panic, it can be easily done. The detailed guide below will help you make the transition as smooth as possible.

Before you can proceed with the transfer, you need to have a few things with you. These include:
1. Both the phones, the old and the new, with their USB cables.
2. A computer or a laptop.
3. A phone transfer software.

Getting ready for the contact transfer

Connect both the phones to the laptop or computer with their USB cables. Make sure that you are using a reliable phone transfer software. It should have the phone to phone transfer feature which lets you move contacts, videos, messages, apps, etc. between phones easily.

Once you have the phones connected and the software is ready, follow the steps below.

Run the phone transfer software

As soon as you will run your phone transfer software, it will detect both the phones. You have to select the phone to phone transfer. You will see both the phones in the interface with their details such as contacts, messages, music, videos, and others.

TIA Phone Transfer Step 1

The phone on the left side will be used as the source. So if you wish to transfer contacts from iPhone to S6 (assume), you have to ensure that the iPhone is on the left side. You can easily switch the positions of the phones.

Use Flip to change the positions of the phones.

Transfer contacts

Once the phones have been adjusted, you can proceed with the transfer. Select contacts from the content. You can transfer pretty much anything between the phones. You have to choose what type of content you wish to transfer (contacts in this case). Once you have selected the contacts, click the Start Copy.

TIA Phone Transfer Step 2

The transfer will begin. The contacts will be copied, not moved from the old to the new phone. This means you will still have the contacts in your old phone.

TIA Phone Transfer Step 3

You can move other content between the phones similarly.


If you are using a powerful phone transfer software, it will make your life easy and will allow you to transfer contacts from android to iPhone and vice versa painlessly. Access to the right software at the right time is what you need.

Not just that it will transfer contacts but you can transfer everything ranging from messages to videos to music to files to folders and much more. You just name it.

You can now change phones without the fear of losing contacts and your data. Change phones as many times as you wish. You will not lose anything.

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