Our world is poised on the edge of a revolution in the science of materials. From carbon nanotubes to spider silk, sticky gecko feet to bulletproof foam, scientists are combining high-technology with nature's most incredible inventions to create a new generation of materials which are stronger, smaller, cleaner, and smarter than anything we've seen before.
Hosted by the New York Times' lively technology correspondent David Pogue, each hour in this four-part series explores the talent, luck, and determination that can turn a wild idea into a cutting-edge material or high-tech breakthrough.
Making Stuff: Stronger - What is the strongest material in the world? Is it iron? Are Kevlar and carbon nanotubes the way of the future, or will the powerful properties discovered in natural spider silk one day replace steel?
Making Stuff: Smaller - How small can we go? Could we one day have robots taking "fantastic voyages" in our bodies to kill rogue cells? The triumphs of tiny are seen all around us in the Information Age: transistors, microchips, laptops, cell phones.
Making Stuff: Smarter - What can nature teach us in building smarter materials? Can we create materials that sense and respond? "When describing 'smart materials,' one analogy scientists give is the evolution from the first Terminator robot, a machine made of metal and circuitry, to the shape-shifting 'liquid guy' in Terminator 2," said Making Stuff producer Chris Schmidt
Making Stuff: Cleaner - Most modern materials are dangerous to the environment, but what about cleaning up our world? Batteries grown from viruses, tires made from orange peel oil, plastics made of sugar, and solar cells that cook up hydrogen - these are just a few glimpses of a new generation of clean materials that could power devices of the future
For thousands of years, humans have been manipulating the elements and the world's raw materials. Now, scientists are generating new materials that function differently and stronger, smaller, smarter, and cleaner than ever. Expected to revolutionize medicine and technology, these innovations are likely to result in an unprecedented trove of nifty new stuff that is sure to transform the way we work and play and live.
Descriptive Video for the Visually Impaired
Producer: Chris Schmidt
Production Year: 2011
Copyright Year: 2011
Director: David Huntley, Daniel McCabe, Chris Schmidt
Host: David Pogue
Subtitle Language: English (SDH)
Audio Format: Stereo
Aspect Ratio: 16x9 Widescreen