Each week, we spotlight a cool innovation recommended by some of the industry's top tech writers. This week's pick is a newly invented material, metallic wood.
"A newly invented material has the strength of titanium, however, it's light enough to float on water," said Jennifer Pattison Tuohy at Dwell. The University of Pennsylvania scientists who developed the material call it "metallic wood" because, like wood, it is porous. Some parts are thick and dense and "hold the structure."
It was made by coating plastic spheres with nickel, then dissolving the plastic, leaving a super-strong porous metal structure. The new material is 70 percent empty space; researchers say that in the future they could create variants that fill the space with energy-storing material to create super light batteries — or even with living organisms that could give it biological properties.