Sometime soon, when you spot a pothole in the street, you won’t have to swerve around it and curse when your wheel dips in. Instead, you would deliberately drive over it, so the pressure of your car tires will stiffen the little plastic baggie the city dropped in there as a temporary fix. A little non-Newtonian fluid pothole filler could spare your wheel alignment after a harsh winter, saving municipal money and traveler troubles.
For medicines that do not go down well in pill form, administering drugs via transdermal patches is nothing new. Patches are currently on the market for nicotine replacement, birth control, and even pain relief. But many drugs, such as an effective migraine medication called sumatriptan, do not pass easily from a patch into the skin. Drug company NuPathe has a solution: at the press of a button, an electric current running through the patch gently prods the meds into your body.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.