A recent <a href="http://mae.pennnet.com/Articles/Article_Display.cfm?Section=Articles&Subsection=Display&ARTICLE_ID=158414">article on Pennet</a> in regards to the U.S. military's proposed use of nanotech paints. Actually, it goes beyond proposal -- and beyond paint, as it would allow vehicles to change camo patterns very easily, and would also repair micro-cracks and fractures without the need for service. These "smart" paints should be able to alert maintenance technicians of potential problems with the coating, in addition to modifying their physical characteristics on command. These future "smart" coatings will involve far more, however, than simply brushing on paint from a can, points out Joe Agento, program integration manager at the TACOM-ARDEC Industrial Ecology Center at Picatinny Arsenal. "Rather than paints, we are talking about coatings, which could be electroplated, or put on with physical vapor deposition qualities. We are talking about more things than paints. They could be metallic or have other qualities," Agento says. "We're trying to prototype a coating to replace the primers and top coats we use today, and develop a one-system coating that incorporates nanomachines within the coating itself," says Laura Battista, environmental engineer at the Industrial Ecology Center. "Now we are looking at the first stage a coating with nanomachines," Battista says. "We want to determine what the nanomachines are that we need; we still have to determine what that nanomachine would be switches, motors, or gears to allow the coating to change on command."