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Have your say

What animate materials do you think could exist in the future? Are there any materials with lifelike properties that you think could have a positive impact on society?

We are asking the public to help create a 'library of future materials' – a collection of ideas about what animate materials could exist in the future. Scientists who worked on our Animate Materials project will pick out their favourite ideas, which will be published on our website and social media pages. 

You can submit whether you're a member of the general public who has an imaginative idea about a future material, or a researcher whose work could inform the animate materials field.

Here are some submissions from the general public so far:

  • 'Car tyres that repair punctures'
  • 'Robots that automatically clean the ocean without disrupting sea life'
  • 'Mobile phone screens that heal themselves when cracked'
  • 'Smart streets that can generate power through piezoelectricity, using people's general motility to power cities'
  • 'Roads that become hydrophobic in cold conditions to prevent ice from forming'

You can submit your ideas to All ideas are welcome, whether they're practical in the here and now, or impossibly futuristic. You can write out your idea in the email or submit a diagram or drawing to explain how the material could work.

Read more about animate materials and their current and future applications.

Use our Animate Materials Resources for Teachers, including a factsheet and a slide pack on 'The Future of Stuff'.




The opening date for submissions is Thursday 18 February 2021 and the closing date is Wednesday 21 July 2021. 

If attaching a file to your submission, formats accepted are: png, jpeg, pptx, and docx. External links will not be accepted as submissions.

You must be 18 years or older to submit. Parent(s) or legal guardian(s) may submit on behalf of those under 18. UK teachers may also submit on behalf of their students who are aged under 19 and in full time education. 

Please note, for all submissions created by children and young people below the age of 19 and in full time education the submission(s) must not include any personal information about the young person(s) involved, other than a first name and age (for submissions from teachers).

A resource pack for teachers on animate materials, and an accompanying factsheet, is now available to download via the Society's teacher resources pages.

Data protection and publicity

The Royal Society is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy and will only use your personal information in accordance with these Terms and Conditions and the Royal Society's Privacy Policy which is available on our website:

By sending a submission you agree that your submission and any personal information provided by you with your entry may be held and used by the Royal Society insofar as they relate to the "library of future materials" submission. 

A selection of submissions may be published on the Royal Society's website and social media pages to showcase the "library of future materials". By sending a submission, you agree that your personal data may be used for this purpose (not applicable to under 18's nor under 19s in full time education).

Ownership of submissions

Entries provided in this submission cannot be returned.

Any entry must be the entrant's original work and it must not infringe the rights of third parties including copyright, trade mark, trade secrets, privacy, publicity, personal or proprietary rights. You agree to indemnify the Royal Society against any claim from any third party for any breach of this clause.

Full copyright title shall be retained by the author of any entry. By submitting images and any accompanying material (including any text, photographs, graphics, video or audio), you agree that the Royal Society may, but is not required to, make your entries available on its website and any other media (including social media such as Twitter or YouTube) in connection with any publicity of the Animate Materials submission. You agree to grant the Royal Society a non-exclusive, worldwide, irrevocable licence, for the full period of any intellectual property rights in the survey entry and any accompanying materials, to use, display, publish, transmit, copy, edit, alter, store, re-format and sub-licence the submission and any accompanying materials for any legitimate purposes, including, but not limited to, marketing, publicity, advertising, fundraising and presentations.