Phase-changing material built from wax and foam that is capable of switching between hard and soft states.  Could be used to build deformable surgical robots that could move through the body without damaging organs, vessels along the way.  Could also be used in search and rescue robots allowing them to squeeze through rubble looking for survivors…

(source: O’Reilly IOT+)

"Life finds a way" - scientists discover bacteria that eat electrons

There are a number of bacteria species that can be made to effectively “excrete” electrons as a waste product under certain (anaerobic) conditions.  This is being commercialized in applications such as “Microbial Fuel Cells” that can treat wastewater while generating electricity and fuel such as methane.

Researchers have recently discovered bacteria that skip the carbon step altogether and ingest and excrete electrons, no sugar required.  Many potential applications for these creatures, including “nano on ramps” for electricity generated by their more conventional sugar-eating cousins.