As weird as today must seem to somebody who grew up in the 50s, what with our Internet memes and Bluetooth devices that make us shout conversations into the air like madmen, the future is about to get a whole lot weirder.
New materials like carbon nanotubes and the like are going to change everything in the next few decades. And we mean everything.
5Gadgets That Heal Themselves
So you're riding high with your new iPhone, feeling like a man of the 21st Century--if the thing had legs it would be your robot sidekick and the two of you could fight crime together. But with the phone in your front pocket, you lean over a rail and hear a crack. You silently pray that it's not your iPhone screen breaking, but is rather just one of your testicles rupturing.
Heartbroken, you look at the cracks in the screen and wish the thing could just magically heal itself, like the later Terminators.
Well, some day, it will.
Holy Shit! With What?
OK, so you aren't going to be able to smash the living shit out of your gadgets and have them magically reassemble like the T-1000, but baby steps, people. The first type of self-healing material was developed using microcapsules of resin that would crack open and fill in gaps caused by small cracks, sealing them instantly.
They're also developing plastics that smooth out breaks or scratches when heated.
Photo courtesy University of Illinois.
That's just the beginning, though. The U.S. Air Force is funding a project to develop entire complex systems with the end goal of a machine that can heal itself just as an organism would. Only much faster.
How Will it Change the World?
We're guessing the Air Force would like a plane that can be punched full of anti-aircraft fire and then heal itself up right before your eyes, while the pilot gives you the finger. It will also be helpful for space travel where minor hull damage can be disastrous and repairs are a huge pain in the ass what with the cold, unforgiving vacuum of space and all.
Tragedies like these could be avoided.
But otherwise, anything that now can be broken, cracked or chipped could be made self-healing, including cars that never rust or lose their paint because they have an invisible protective coating that automatically fills in scratches. Yep, some vandal can come along and scratch up your car door with his keys, and it'll heal itself right in front of him like Christine.