World’s First Material With Innate Brain-Like Learning

Muhammad Samizadeh Nikoo—an electrical engineering PhD student at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne’s POWERlab—recently discovered a brain-like learning ability in vanadium dioxide (VO2). When observing how long VO2 (an inorganic compound) takes to transition from one state to another, Nikoo found that it has “volatile memory.” To investigate, he administered electric currents through the material, noting how it changed phases while the current passed through …

Scientists Transform Cabbage Into Stronger Concrete

A team of scientists at the University of Tokyo set out to make concrete from leftover food waste, including coffee grounds, tea leaves, onions, pumpkin, seaweed, orange and banana peel. The researchers didn’t just succeed, finding that all of the food (save for the pumpkin) created strong building material; but they also ascertained that Chinese cabbage crafts the sturdiest material—one that’s three times stronger than …

An Uncuttable Material Inspired by Abalone Shells

A new material called Proteus made from “ceramic spheres embedded in a cellular structure made of metallic foam” that’s believed to be uncuttable could revolutionize security. Inspired by abalone shells—which are composed of an essentially weak material that’s arranged in a manner that makes the shells super-strong—Proteus may be used in various ways, from bank vault doors to bike locks. After being tested with angle-grinders, …