Since early humans first tended fires and sharpened spears, we’ve sought to apply our knowledge to shape the natural world to suit our needs. Here we chronicle the promise and pitfalls of this basic human drive in all its present day manifestations – from robots and AI to nanotechnology and materials to devices, transportation, engineering and manmade disasters.
Researchers have embedded gold particles in soft films that dissipate light energy at the surface of the eye and could have future medical uses.
Insect hearing systems are inspiring new microphone designs that can better identify the direction a sound comes from.
So-called plastic crystals could open new avenues in the quest to make refrigerators with only solid components.
The problem could be particularly bad in rental cars.
Such cyborg partnerships could aid law enforcement during manhunts.
New proof of concept could guard against the disorienting effects of laser pointers invading the cockpit.