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Versatile building blocks make structures with surprising mechanical properties
It would be interesting to do some additional research on metamaterials and attempt to extrapolate future advances. I'll look over the submission guidelines for articles. What would you like to see?
Those voxels were huge, assembled by hand. Really useful commercial applications probably won't start being seen until they're manufacturing and assembling these at a microscopic level. At a guess, utility fog and utility sand would already include this technology, allowing different objects to have different properties based on which nanovoxels assembled where. Very complex group behaviors would arise from very simple unit behaviors, much like you see with ants, only with macroscopic physical properties.

One area with applications might be artificial muscles. There's fascinating ongoing research;
article with examples
Now combine this most recent research.

Mass produce the basic, microscopic structural components in an electroactive polymer that expands when subjected to a piezoelectric charge, and generates a piezoelectric charge when compressed. Micro-assemblers create the voxels and assemble them into muscle shapes. The muscles are given a tough outer membrane, which is filled with an electrolyte. Opposing muscle groups are linked via valves. As electricity is applied to make one muscle 'contract', the other 'stretches', compressing its component voxels and creating additional electricity, which travels through the electrolyte to help power the opposing muscle. Minimal power would be required to hold the system at rest, just like human muscles.

The basic problem of science fiction writers throughout history: Either you get it (sort of) correct, and you're a visionary, or the science catches up and you're just another fantasist making stuff up. Gravity waves are a great example. We now know they're a light-speed phenomena. This is bad news for David Weber's Honor Harrington series; Manticore's FTL communications tech is now even more ridiculous.

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RE: Versatile building blocks make structures with surprising mechanical properties - by Technothrope - 11-24-2020, 04:37 AM

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