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Between 2009 and 2011, TV, national newspapers, magazines, and a children’s book presented images of the “Nanopil”. A device designed to function as a miniaturized lab within the human body, the Nanopil is expected to test the presence of biomarkers for colorectal cancer and transmit the result to an outside receiver. As the first of three chapters using the “Nanopil” as an example, this one discusses how to analyze expectations about a future artifact. Providing tangible examples from this case study based on in-depth interviews with Nanopil developers and observation within their laboratory, the chapter explores alternative designs, components and conditions of its functioning. The conclusions highlight how such analysis contributes to ruling out implausible scenarios and adds significant detail to the initial public expectations.

Original publication





Book title

International Library of Ethics, Law and Technology

Publication Date





65 - 84