In the top ten breakthroughs listed by Wired magazine is this:
7. Engineers Create Transparent Material as Strong as Steel
Engineering researchers at the University of Michigan have created a material similar to “transparent aluminum,” the fantastic substance described by Scotty in Star Trek IV. In the Oct. 5 issue of Science, Nicholas Kotov showed that clay is good for far more than making bricks and expensive skincare products. The earthen material is made up of phenomenally strong nanometer-sized particles. When arranged neatly between thin layers of a sticky but weak plastic, the tiny bits of dirt act as the ultimate reinforcements — giving the ordinary material extraordinary strength. The sturdy composite could be used in lightweight armor or aircraft.
I first mentioned efforts in this direction a couple of years ago. and in fact based on that, changed one of the taglines of this blog to “Living in the Science Fiction Present.”
I maintain and stand by that statement. We *are* living in a Science Fiction Present.