back to article 'We're storing how this material should behave': Boffins' 3cm 'm-bit' cubes demonstrate programmable wunderstuff

Engineers working in Switzerland say they have developed a method of writing data directly into materials, a process that changes the material's physical properties at the same time. The study, published in Nature this week, could lead to the development of materials that possess programmable properties, which have engineering …

  1. DJO Silver badge

    Skynet by the backdoor

    Programmable materials that can change properties on the fly.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Seriously though, this looks very interesting.

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Silver badge

      Re: Skynet by the backdoor

      Just based on the headline I thought: "Welp, there's the grey goo. Goodbye, world."

      But grey goo is somewhat active in its obliteration; this looks like it's setting a passive behavior only that reacts to outside forces (and no power source to amplify its response). In that case, fairly harmless on its own.

      However, let's spin up a few decades... someone with malicious intent gets their hands on a reprogram tool and down come the skyscrapers using these materials in their earthquake shock absorption (just for an extreme example). Like any science, we must be cautious.

    2. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: Skynet by the backdoor

      Yeah! Floppy buildings!

      1. Richard Gray 1

        Re: Skynet by the backdoor

        If we built them into roads they could monitor traffic flows, detect wear usage.

        Then if hackers got in they'd be... floppy drives...

      2. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

        Re: Skynet by the backdoor

        Use with caution. If your building remains erect for over 4 hours immediately contact your local builder.

  2. slimshady76

    Now if they only could adapt the technology to Swiss cheese...

    Imagine the implications! softer or harder cheese, without resorting to the arcane subterfuge of fire/heat!!!

    Mine is the one with the Burrata in the inner left pocket.

  3. AlanSh

    Well, maybe?

    Malleable hardware. Hardens upon impact.

    1. Charlie van Becelaere

      Re: Well, maybe?

      "Malleable hardware. Hardens upon impact."

      Hmm. What's going to happen to my percussive maintenance programme?

      1. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Re: Well, maybe?

        "Malleable hardware. Hardens upon impact."

        That description made me think of D3O

        There's video on the net of somebody with their finger wrapped in D3O and it being hit with a hammer. The finger remains intact.

    2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: Well, maybe?

      That sounds closer to a member of Parliament...

      On a different note, having a material that can be hacked physically or programmatically sounds mildly fun.

      (though only from a safe distance).

      I also wonder if it could be used as valves for fluids again for shock absorption on an easily scalable fashion that doesn't require individual pistons etc...

  4. Gene Cash Silver badge

    As it turns out, there's an XKCD Questionable Content for that!

  5. kouja


    Got the idea but 3cm cells? Looks more like programmable duplo bricks.

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