In the last two decades a plethora of exciting new nanomaterials have emerged such as carbon nanotubes, graphene and metal nanowires. These materials have incredible physical and chemical properties and have the potential to revolutionize technologies in a range of areas from engineering to medicine. I will discuss recent advances in the controlled assembly of these nanoscale building block into functional materials and devices. Through precise control of this assembly process it is possible to develop new technologies with unsurpassed functionality. I will describe a range of application areas including new touchscreen technologies, active tissue scaffolds and artificial muscles highlighting the potential for nanotechnology to change our lives in the coming years.