First envisioned by physicist Richard Feynman in the late 1950s, the concept of nanotechnology originally referred to the capability of building, constructing, or manufacturing things with ultraprecision from the bottom atomic level, up to the macro-level.
Today, nanotechnology refers to the engineering of functioning systems on a nanoscale – an extremely small scale measuring about 1 to 100 nanometers wherein 1 nanometer is equivalent to 1 billionth of a meter. Nanotechnology involves seeing, analyzing, and manipulating of molecules and atoms to understand structures better and make improvements based on the information gathered.
Sometimes referred to as general-purpose technology, nanotechnology can affect almost all aspects of life as we know it. Ideally, it can provide us with more efficient products, structures, and systems for use in the field of medicine, electronics, science, transportation, communications, agriculture, and other commercial industries.
On the downside, however, it is also an extremely powerful technology that can result in unimaginable advances in the military world, particularly when it comes to weaponry and surveillance.
On the other hand, reverse engineering in its simplest sense refers to duplicating or cloning something by studying how and what makes it work. In the hit sci-fi movie “Transformers”, reverse engineering was mentioned as the process used to study “Megatron”, the alien robot who was accidentally discovered deep in the icy Antarctic region, resulting in the development of most modern-day technologies. Reverse engineering, therefore, depends on something that is already there, but needs to be duplicated or recreated for a variety of reasons, probably the most important of which is to make improvements for better efficiency and effectivity.
The use of nanotechnology and reverse engineering presents endless possibilities. It is important, however, that proper regulation of both should be done so that its effects will not be used for political gain, further oppression of the weak, or for the benefit of a select few. Instead, the focus should be global betterment and the common good. In the words of the late Michael Jackson, the use of such advancements should ultimately be to: “heal the world, make it a better place, for you and for me and the entire human race…”