Currently, new interactions between previously separate fields of research result in qualitatively new technological possibilities and, perhaps, revolutionary impacts. Nanotechnology plays an important role as an enabling technology that, in combination with information technology, biotechnology and cognitive and neuroscience, can create major changes, for example in chips technology, drug delivery or implants. This shift is one example of recurring shifts of boundaries between technological fields, and associated changes in innovation patterns and broader changes in society that are often referred to with the label ‘converging technologies’.
Converging technologies present a twofold challenge. First, to understand the complex dynamics of development of converging technologies in specific domains. Second, how to use insight into the dynamics to find a way forward and, where possible, to actively shape the developments. This challenge is addressed in this book, the result of a study about converging technologies carried out by practitioners from academia, public research institutes and industrial companies. Case studies about two specific domains, nanoelectronics and regenerative medicine, constitute the core of the book.
The publication is intended for everyone with an interest in the newly emerging technological possibilities at the crossroads of nanotechnology, life sciences and ICT and their possible impacts. It addresses the dilemmas of policy makers and managers in industry, government and research institutions who try to find a way forward through these complex developments.
Edited by: Maurits Doorn, 2006
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