The future may be more amazing than we can imagine (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to these shows and we will hold John Hogue’s feet to the fire–as usual–any day now!) First, tires that fix their own flats: these could be inspired by a tree called the Weeping Benjamin. When attacked by insects or suffering other mechanical damage, the trees emit a thick mess of latex particles that contain capsules of the protein hevein. When the latex reaches the wound, the hevein capsules break and are released, closing the wound.
In Daily Tech, Jason Mick quotes researcher Anke Nellesen as saying, "We loaded microcapsules with a one-component adhesive and put it in elastomers made of synthetic caoutchouc to stimulate a self-healing process in plastics. If pressure is put on the capsules, they break open and separate this viscous material. Then this mixes with the polymer chains of the elastomers and closes the cracks." He hasn’t yet succeeded in making tires that fix their own flats, but he’s working on it.
This is something that may be necessary soon, since car manufacturers are saving money by eliminating the spare tire. On USA Today, Chris Woodyard quotes GM CEO Terry Connolly as saying, "Getting rid of something as important as the spare tire wasn’t a decision we made lightly. The universal implementation of tire pressure monitoring systems over the past five years has significantly reduced the likelihood that a flat tire will leave you stranded."
Now how about dents and scrapes? The Kurzweil website reports that other researchers have developed self-healing polymers that fix scratches using light rather than heat. They can become a liquid that fills dents and gaps left by scrapes and scuffs when placed under ultraviolet light for less than a minute, and then they re-solidify.
In 1998, a mysterious man that Whitley Strieber calls the Master of the Key burst into his hotel room in Toronto and told him all kinds of things about the future that he didn’t know–but when he checked them out later, he found out they were TRUE. (The new, UNCENSORED edition of The Key (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show), with a foreword that talks about how many of his statements later turned out to be true, is in bookstores NOW).