Technological progress is almost palpable now, as we are not only using traditional materials more efficiently, but are also creating new ones, with preset parameters. This allows a dramatic improvement of product quality, mainly in the aerospace industry, mechanical engineering, and construction.
Material science has been revolutionized by composite materials, or compound heterogeneous materials consisting of a reinforcing component and a matrix and offering improved strength, weight and plasticity. Composites will pose a serious threat to traditional material branches, such as ferrous metallurgy.
In addition to plastic and metal-based composites, which we have grown accustomed to, glass-based composites are also gaining popularity. In the future, composite structures can be embedded with "smart components" (microchips and controllers) allowing the user to change the properties of rooms and equipment to their liking. This will lead to the emergence of active environments, i.e. working, living and studying areas controlled by intelligent systems or the user, depending on the mood or the task at hand. For example, for a yoga session, you can select a more neutral color for the walls; for child's play, make the walls softer and soften out the corners; for a party, you can cool down the room and turn on embedded bright backlights. Smart rooms can adapt to various weather conditions by adjusting temperature and light intensity.
Another most significant invention is 3D printing, i.e. the use of special compounds to reproduce any object, whether a computer circuit board, musical instrument, weapon, or prosthesis. The technology can be applied, among others, in the transport industry. For example, at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September 2014, the U.S.-based Local Motors invited visitors to see the creation of Strati, the first, functioning car ever produced with a 3D printer. The process took 44 hours to complete. Although the electric engine, seats, wheels, tires and the windshield had to be manufactured by traditional methods, 3D printing drastically reduced the number of parts and time of assembly. According to the company's CEO John Rogers, very soon, two people will be able to assemble a complete car in less than an hour.