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Boeing says its metal microlattice is the 'lightest metal ever' (Tomorrow Daily 256)

Ashley discusses a new metal with walls 1,000 times thinner than a human hair, plus a robot that may someday become a handy helper for ISS astronauts and a biodegradable "water bottle" you can eat.

On today's show, we're checking out an ultralight metal microlattice material from HRL Laboratories and Boeing. It's an interesting bit of research, mostly because it's inspired by human bone structure and is both flexible and strong. We might see this technology find its way into Boeing's planes (or even General Motors cars) in the future, but for now, we'll have to appreciate the technology that made the futuristic material possible via Boeing's recent informational video.

A robot is working its way toward becoming the go-to bot when astronauts aboard the International Space Station need a few additional hands. BesMan AILA has articulated fingers on both arms, cameras in its head, a short-range laser scanner in its chest, and other various features and connectors, making the robot a great candidate for someday helping ISS astronauts by completing menial work, thus freeing up humans to focus on more complex tasks.

Ooho might be the weirdest "water bottle" we've ever seen. Made in the same general way liquid food spherification works in molecular gastronomy, Ooho allows a human to get their water fix from what looks like a gigantic drop of dew. Even more strange, the water casing can be eaten after drinking your H2O, providing an eco-friendly alternative to plastic water bottles.

Today's "Back It or Hack It" is Biopod, a self-sustaining "smart microhabitat" that lets the user plug in what kind of environment they'd like to create, and then provides instructions on how to set up living plants inside (and even animals ranging from tree frogs to full-on aquarium fish). Once the Biopod is set up, it can regulate light, temperature, humidity, ventilation, and even rainfall inside the unit via the app.

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256: Boeing says its metal microlattice is the 'lightest metal ever'

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