Innovation of the Week: 2012

Professor Plastic loves to share new innovations in plastics that contribute to sustainability, safety, longer lives and better performance. Choose an Innovation of the Week to learn more.

  • Mars rovers
    Mars rovers December 13, 2012 - A manned Mars Rovers made with plastics? Testing is now under way in the Arizona desert. NASA also is creating plastic parts in space using 3D printing. Learn More
  • E-Paper
    E-Paper December 6, 2012 - No paper? Super thin plastic “e-paper” receives content wirelessly and displays words, images and videos – in color! Learn More
  • Lightweight shoes
    Lightweight shoes November 28, 2012 - These sculpted shoes for sprinters are made with a 3-D “printer” – the designer says the plastic shoes weigh only 96 grams and may improve an athlete’s performance. Learn More
  • Transparent solar cells
    Transparent solar cells November 15, 2012 - UCLA researchers invented a plastic solar cell that converts infrared light into an electric current – and it’s transparent. Next: windows that generate electricity? Learn More
  • Plastic shells on Mars
    Plastic shells on Mars November 8, 2012 - The next Mars Rovers could be smaller than grains of sand! Nanobots in polymer shells would allow for more data collection at a lower cost. Learn More
  • Heating machine
    Heating machine November 1, 2012 - This “recycling” machine turns non-recycled plastics into synthetic diesel fuel that can be used to heat homes. Pretty cool … no, hot! Learn More
  • Dissolving plastic heart stent
    Dissolving plastic heart stent October 25, 2012 - Heard of dissolving stitches? Now there’s a dissolving heart stent! It restores blood flow to the heart – and then dissolves into the body, unlike a metal stent. Learn More
  • Ultra-lightweight bicycle chains
    Ultra-lightweight bicycle chains October 11, 2012 - Plastic bicycle chains speed the Dutch Paralympic Cycling team at London competition. Learn More
  • Bicycle safety
    Bicycle safety October 4, 2012 - This inflatable “collar” for bicyclists expands like an airbag during a crash to help protect against head injuries, allowing riders to go “helmet-free.” Learn More
  • Fighting infection
    Fighting infection September 27, 2012 - Revolutionary plastic that repels bacteria could be used in medical devices to improve the human immune system’s ability to fight infection. Learn More
  • 3D printing with plastics
    3D printing with plastics September 20, 2012 - These “magic arms” were created through 3D printing with light-weight plastic to help Emma move and play despite being born with a disability. Learn More
  • Plastic gel
    Plastic gel September 6, 2012 - Injectable liquid plastic gel could help singers like Adele avoid painful surgery when they have issues with their vocal chords. Learn More