It’s tough. It’s thick. It’s brown. It’s a lot like leather—but in fact this new material is made in the lab using leftovers from a brew of kombucha tea.
Want to make sure you back something up indefinitely? Then you could do worse than a digital data storage technique that uses laser light to store 360 terabytes of information on nanostructured quartz for up to 14 billion years.
A book is a very simple thing, right? It’s just a bunch of paper with some scribbles. But if you wanted to make a book from scratch, it’s basically an impossible task. Watch as Andy George from How to Make Everything chops wood, strips papyrus, makes glue from hide, carve out a pencil from a stick, make a brush from…
Seals and otters stay warm in cold water because their fur is ideally structured for trapping insulating air. These unique hairy surfaces could inspire the design of new kinds of textiles, such as wet suits that are textured instead of smooth to keep divers warm in cold water.
It used to be the case that only skilled witches and wizards could make their origami fold itself. But now, clever Muggles have stumbled upon the non-magical secret behind autonomous paper—graphene.
Electrons are quick, but they’re not quick enough — in fact they’re holding back the speed of modern computing. Now, a team has developed the world’s first ever light-based memory chip that can store data permanently, and it could help usher in a new era of computing
Your phone died. Again. In these scenarios, who among us has not dreamed the dream of a future where our devices charge instantly and last forever. As capacitors—or even more exciting, ultracapacitors—get better and better at storing energy, they could replace batteries and realize at least one half of that dream.
Aerogel must be one of the strangest supermaterials to ever exist. Ghostly and shimmering in appearance, it's insanely light, incredibly strong, and an amazing thermal insulator. And its tricks look absolutely impossible when you see them up close.
Forget Mother Nature: when it comes to all matters matter, the sheer ingenuity of the human mind can give rise to some of the most insane—and useful—new materials you've ever encountered. Here are five crazy new man-made materials whose uses could be practically limitless.
Functional "cloaking" devices have been around since 2006, but they're far from perfect. All attempts so far have failed to avoid at least some partial light and reflectivity — what has resulted in an unconvincing effect. Part of the problem is finding a way to hide objects in wavelengths longer than the human eye…
There's nothing worse than pulling off a bandaid, especially when it yanks nearby hair out with it. Thankfully, researchers have developed a new kind of medical tape that stays attached to your skin, but can be removed without any pain or damage.
Using a new method of observing microscopic changes in a material's behavior, scientists have spotted very cool properties in a water-methanol compound called methanol monohydrate. These crystals get smaller when warmed, but when you apply pressure to them (i.e., poke them), they expand outwards. This material is…
Concrete Cloth makes the perfect addition to your apocalyptic shopping list. The flexible cloth is easily transported, but transforms into a sturdy concrete shelter after it gets wet.
Soon we'll have special gloves and shoes that allow us to climb smooth, vertical surfaces — and even walk across ceilings. A team of researchers at UC Berkeley has created a plastic microfiber that imitates the "stickiness" of gecko feet, which are covered in tiny hairs that attach to smooth surfaces. Already, the…
This image shows the precise arrangement of atoms that form a bridge between two gold crystals. Until yesterday, you would not have been able to see that image — at least, not with such clarity and color. It's the product one of the world's most powerful transmission electron microscopes, installed yesterday at UC…