How Apple Will Make Superhard "Apple Gold" for Its Watches

Apple design VP Jony Ive told the Financial Times that Apple had invented a new kind of ultra-hard 18 karat gold for its line of luxury Apple Watches. Though rumors about the gold's bizarre molecular structure are false, Apple Gold is a real thing. Here's what the patent reveals about it, and a possible Apple Diamond… » 3/09/15 2:31pm 3/09/15 2:31pm

How Nanoscale Optics Create Nature's Most Dazzling Colors

What do a butterfly's shimmering wings, a fish's opalescent scales, and a peacock's brilliant feathers have in common? Yes, their colors are beautifully iridescent. But they are also produced by the physical interaction of light with sophisticated nanoscale architecture that we are only just beginning to understand. » 2/19/15 2:00pm 2/19/15 2:00pm

This Huge Engineering Project May Be Our Best Chance At Colonizing Space

Space colonization has reached an impasse, for reasons far more fundamental than a lack of money for the Space Shuttle program. There is simply no way humans can travel easily offworld without using massive amounts of rocket fuel to escape the gravity well — and that's both expensive and environmentally… » 2/04/15 2:32pm 2/04/15 2:32pm

OLED Wallpaper Could Be the Future of Lighting

It's the Star Trek-inspired future we were promised—walls that glow and change color, perhaps with just a gentle voice command. And it's finally (almost) possible thanks to a series of advances in OLED sheets. This new lighting solution also uses half as much energy than existing fluorescent lights. It is, however,… » 10/07/14 1:15pm 10/07/14 1:15pm

A Spoonful of This New Material Can Suck Up a Whole Roomful of Oxygen

A team of scientists in Denmark just invented a crystalline material that can absorb oxygen with astounding efficiency. How astounding? Well, a single spoonful of the stuff can suck all of the oxygen out of a room. The best part is that it can release it again with just a little bit of heat. Say goodbye to bulky… » 9/30/14 1:20pm 9/30/14 1:20pm

These Tiny Diamond Nanothreads Could Someday Support a Space Elevator

A team of scientists just strung a tone of the world's smallest diamonds into superstrong nanothreads. That makes for one impressive (and basically invisible) necklace, but the applications of these nanothreads don't end there. They could someday help string up an elevator to space—just like in science fiction. » 9/22/14 5:55pm 9/22/14 5:55pm

Nail Polish That Detects Date Rape Drugs Is a Damn Good Idea

A team of recent graduates from North Carolina State are developing a new kind of nail polish that changes color when it's exposed to date rape drugs. Just stirring a sketchy drink with a finger could let a woman know she's being targeted for assault. Although a little odd, it does sound like a pretty good idea. » 8/25/14 11:41am 8/25/14 11:41am

Get excited – spider silk finally looks ready for commercialization

Materials scientists have been eyeing spider silk as a potential supermaterial for years, but the stuff is notoriously difficult to produce in quantities. Now, recent breakthroughs in the production of synthetic spider silk could see this remarkable substance commercialized, and publicly available, sooner than… » 3/09/14 5:04pm 3/09/14 5:04pm