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Building the future: animate materials

Online event

Event video

March
102021

18:00 - 19:00

Location

The Royal Society YouTube channel

Overview

What could a future with animate materials look like?

Imagine a future where roads can self-heal, tiny robotic molecules can assemble themselves into household objects, and living buildings can harvest carbon dioxide to generate power and purified water. Animate materials could make this a reality.

A block made from “living” building materials by CU Boulder’s Wil Srubar and his colleagues. Credit: University of Colorado Boulder College of Engineering & Applied Science

Animate materials are human-made materials that are able to grow and adapt to their environment. Behaving like living systems, these materials have the potential to deliver major changes in our lives from infrastructure to medicine and clothing.

Led by your ideas, join our panellists as they discuss what animate materials are, how they could be used to shape our future lives, and the challenges that may lie ahead.

This event is a part of British Science Week 2021.

Read the animate materials report. 

Have your say

We are asking you to help create a “library of future materials”.

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? Do you think there are any down sides to this technology and, if so, what are they? Find out more on how to submit your ideas. 

Speakers

  • Professor Mark Miodownik MBE, FREng, Professor of Materials and Society, University College London
  • Professor Russell Morris FRS, Professor of Structural and Materials Chemistry, University of St Andrews
  • Professor Molly Stevens FREng FRS, Professor of Biomedical Materials and Regenerative Medicine, Imperial College London
  • Professor Rebecca Earley, Professor of Sustainable Fashion Textile Design, Centre for Circular Design, University of the Arts London.

Resources for teachers

The Royal Society has created animate materials resources for teachers and a new cross-curricular challenge for students of all ages: The future of stuff. Find out more about our teacher resources. 

Building the future: animate materials

Led by your ideas, join our panellists as they discuss what animate materials are, how they could be used to shape our future lives, and the challenges that may lie ahead.

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