Baby steps to reach out to consumers

Oct 08 2007, 00:50 IST
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SummaryEven as nanotech researchers continue to look for the killer-app, an array of nano-enabled consumer products have burst into the markets. More than 500 products using nanotechnology are doing rounds in the market.

Even as nanotech researchers continue to look for the killer-app, an array of nano-enabled consumer products have burst into the markets. More than 500 products using nanotechnology are doing rounds in the market.

“Yes, nanotechnology is still nascent, but certainly the momentum is picking up. There is sincere research work going on in many countries,” says Anurag Gupta, CEO of YashNanotech, Mumbai.

Stains-free clothes, computer chips with better memory, research on drugs for chronic and genetic diseases, bacteria-proof knives and forks and lightweight sports equipment are the result of nanotech applications. This technology is already being applied in a wide range of industries such as healthcare, textiles, agricultures, IT, materials, telecom, chemical, automotive and energy production. “Within the next decade, nanotechnology will have a huge effect on many industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, energy, communications, transportation and electronics,” says Gupta.

According to Joseph Asantraj, CEO, Velbionanotech, Bangalore, nanotechnology promises to aid in the creation of innovative products in many industries. “Some researchers are working on nanoscale devices, which will be commercialised within the next 10 years,” he says. It is assumed by industry analysts that nanotechnology can transform virtually every industrial sector and private firms are ready to exploit this technology for commercial benefits. They point that more than 200 nanoscience and nanotech patents and patent applications have been filed in nanotech R&D globally. The turnover in nanotech products is expected to go up to 1,000 billion Euros by 2015. In three years, governments and major coporations are expected to invest about $4 billion annually in nanotech research, according to Asantraj.

Countries like the US, Canada, Japan and China haveearmarked big budgets for basic research in this area. Global demand for nano-scale materials, tools, and devices is expected to increase up to $28.7 billion in 2008—an average annual growth of 30.6%.

Indian nanotechnology sector, which is estimated to be around $100 million, is poised to grow at over 35% per year. In the wake of India emerging as an important hub for R&D outsourcing, various global majors in the business of technology are rushing to India for opening up R&D centres.

Says Gupta, “There are big outsourcing opportunities in nanotechnology for countries that have trained manpower in the science field. With a rich pool of scientific talent and cost effectiveness, India will be a major beneficiary of nanotech outsourcing.” According to Joseph, “Technology, improved products, collaborations, outsourcing, investments and skilled employers are the main

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