Each week, we spotlight a cool innovation recommended by some of the industry's top tech writers. This week's pick is shatterproof glass.
The molecular structure of the mother-of-pearl inside an oyster shell showed scientists how to create glass that is "virtually shatterproof," said Roni Dengler at Discover. The "bioinspired" glass designed by engineers at McGill University is "two to three times more impact resistant than" tempered or even "bulletproof" laminated glass.
That's because they designed it around the microscopic structure of mother-of-pearl, whose tiny mineral "building blocks" slide apart under force, allowing "the material to take on substantial blows without breaking." The new glass "is transparent, does not produce any image distortions," and when scientists did use enough force to damage it, it dented instead of cracking. The material could be used for "everything from windows and windshields to solar panels and touch screens."