Now, a self-healing paint...
Picture used for illustrative purpose only. (SUPPLIED)
LONDON: Scratched cars and scuffed shoes may soon be the things of past, as scientists have developed a "self-healing" plastic coating that smoothes away marks and blemishes within seconds.
What is more, it doesn't seem to matter how many times an area is damaged as it can be tricked into repairing itself time and time again, researches at the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland claimed.
This breakthrough, according to them, would make the "metallo-supramolecular polymer" a boon for motorists who have trouble parking, as well as for women who find their new shoes get scuffed within hours of using, the Daily Mail reported.
Handbags, furniture, windows, wooden floors, punctured tyres and even spectacles could all be made as good as new, sparing customers the time money and frustration involved in fixing cuts, scrapes and scuffs, the researchers said.
Lead researcher Professor Stuart Rowan said: "What we have developed is a new plastic material composed of very small chains that stick together and assemble into much larger chains.
"What we have designed into the material is the ability to disassemble on exposure to light. When it disassembles, the material flows into the crack and the system gets healed."
The "ingenious and transformative" plastic, according to the researchers, is made up of long chains of hydrocarbons "glued" together by tiny plugs of metal.
When UV light is shone on it, the metal generates heat and the surrounding plastic melts -- oozing into any scratches or scuffs. In tests, detailed in the journal Nature, deep scratches made with a razor blade took less than a minute to close up.
When the light was switched off, the plastic coating solidified again and appeared as good as new. The researchers have likened the process to the skin healing over a cut, leaving no trace of the injury. But in this case, there is no need for stitches and the transformation takes seconds rather than days or weeks.
Working with military researchers and Swiss chemists, Professor Rowan showed that the same piece of material could be scratched and mended again and again without any ill-effects.
He used a lamp similar to those used by dentists to cure fillings. But in time, car washes could be equipped with UV lamps, meaning that vehicles emerge with paintwork that is flawless, as well as polished.
Although self-healing plastics have been created before, most used powerful blasts of heat to kick-start the repair process. Using UV light makes it faster, easier and more accurate, said fellow researcher Mark Burnworth.
"By using light, we have more control as it allows us to target only the defect and leave the rest of the material untouched," added Burnworth.
Man decides to do his ironing on the motorway
Picture used for illustrative purpose only. (SUPPLIED)
LONDON: It was all part of an extreme ironing stunt where people do a spot of ironing in bizarre or remote locations for fun.
It brings new meaning to going 'flat out' on the motorway. A man wearing a blue dressing gown and slippers made the bizarre decision to do a spot of extreme ironing in the central lane of the M1 recently, reports Daily Mail.
Thankfully there was no chance of the mystery man being run over, as it was on the southbound section closed off to vehicles over the weekend following fire damage.
The bare-legged man was captured pressing a white shirt at around 9am by a surprised cameraman who had been covering the M1 closure.
According to the official website, extreme ironing is 'the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt'.
Sand cake for Sachin's birthday
Sachin Tendulkar (AGENCIES)
INDIA: Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik on Friday began sculpting a huge cake and 38 bats in sand on the beach of his home town Puri as a birthday gift to cricketer Sachin Tendulkar who turns 38 on Sunday.
Pattnaik said this is a special year for Sachin because of India's victory in the cricket World Cup.
"That is why I am creating the bats and a big colourful birthday cake to pay tribute to the legendary cricketer," he said.
Pattnaik said he and the students of his Golden Sand Art Institute have already started work on the sculpture which will be ready for display on Puri beach, 56 kms from Bhubaneswar, by Saturday evening.
"I will send the photographs of this sculpture to Sachin," the artist told IANS over phone.
Pattnaik, who has participated in more than 50 international sand sculpture championships across the globe and has won many prizes, said they are using 20 tonnes of sand for the sculture.
Royal wedding mentioned every 10 secs online
People look at soveniers of Prince William and Kate Middleton on display at a street stall in London. (AP)
LONDON: Britain's royal wedding is generating around 9,000 mentions a day online, or one every 10 seconds, according to a study from specialist technology firm Greenlight published on Thursday.
Internationally, those excited by the marriage between Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29 outweigh the naysayers by six to one, the company's research shows.
During March and April, there have been 158,000 posts related to the wedding on online media, with nearly 61,000, or 38 percent, coming in the last seven days alone.
YouTube and Facebook (public posts) accounted for the smallest share of the posts, at one and eight percent respectively, while online news sources accounted for 30 percent followed by blog posts (29 per cent).
Twitter accounted for 17 percent and forums 16 percent, Greenlight added. Those proportions could change, however, now that the wedding will be available on YouTube via an official royal channel.
Posts about Middleton's dress (23 per cent), the guest list (20 per cent) and gifts (18 per cent) were the most popular.
Palace officials have said that as well as live streaming of the wedding, there would be a live blog and integrated Twitter feed, underlining how technology is changing the way the royal occasion is viewed around the world compared to past events.
Britain's press have followed every twist and turn of the royal engagement and wedding preparations with gusto since the wedding was announced in November.
The royal wedding is expected to be one of the year's most watched events globally, with some estimating viewership of up to two billion people.