New 'Nanotechnology' May Streamline Check Out

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New technology could make a big difference in how long shoppers stand in line at the grocery store.

The process involves the use of special ink through nanotechnology, a manufacturing process that allows matter to be used on a smaller scale.

"This is an ink made out of carbon nanotubes and other carbon structures," explained chemistry professor James Tour.

The millions of carbon nanotubes in the ink can be printed onto packages and products. They then transmit radio frequencies with information about the products, like the price and description.

"Instead of a bar code you would have an 'RFID' (Radio Frequency Identification) tag and that 'RFID' tag would immediately give out information," Tour continued. "So if you are going out the check out line you don't have to hold this up to a little scanner."

The technology is still being perfected by researchers at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

It will likely be five years before the new labels will reach grocery stores. Big chains like Walmart are already eying the technology for their stores.

*Originally broadcast on April 7, 2010.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at