It’s interesting to look at the things that NiMBS (http://nano.med.umich.edu/) at U of Michigan are doing with nanotechnology. If you look at the platforms and projects section of their website, some of their work sounds like the stuff of science fiction. They have a dendrimer (sort of a star shaped chain of nano material) that seeks out cancer tumors and destroys them without harming any of the non-targeted cells. They have pictures of this working on mice. The dendrimer acts as sort of a vehicle for agents that take on the roles of detecting, targeting, and then delivering therapeutic material. So the multipurpose nature of this technology means it could be reused for other applications. Just swap out the agents to target what you want and do whatever it is you want it to do when it finds your target.
Another project of theirs are nano-sensors that go in your blood stream and are triggered when you’ve been exposed to radiation. A remote sensor on your body would scan a capillary for the trigger and would then sound the alarm to let you know you’re in trouble.
So, the question is, if this is what is reality now, what are the seemingly impossible nanotechnologies of the future that would be the stuff of science fiction today?