There’s a reason why we call it the “march of progress” instead of the “moonwalk of progress.” Technology is meant to move steadily forward, but there are still plenty of times when tech has inexplicably reversed course on us. One of the most striking examples are Damascus swords.
No, that's not a sponge. It's a piece of metal that's light enough to float. Researchers at New York University, who invented the substance, say it's also strong enough to build boats with.
Ennion made me. Those were the words molded on glass vases and jars that survived centuries of dust, change, and trauma all over the classical world. But who was Ennion? And how, in the early years of the world, did his glassware become so famous? »
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… »
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. »
Molecular machines are nano-scale assemblers that construct themselves and their surroundings into ever more complex structures. Sometimes dubbed "nanotech" in the media, these devices are promising — but also widely misunderstood. Here's what separates the science fact from science fiction. »
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… »
Graphene isn't the only game-changing material to come out of a lab. From aerogels nearly as light as air to metamaterials that manipulate light, here are six supermaterials that have the potential to transform the world of the future. »
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,… »
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… »
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. »
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. »
It's 2014 and DVDs are years past futuristic. But researchers at Oxford think that a metal alloy in DVDs could also be used to make thin, flexible, and low-power screens for wearables. Here's how it works. »
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… »