NASA, that beloved bastion of space travel, does a lot more than send astronauts to space and send cool robots to the surface of nearby planets. They are often on the cusp of technology breakthroughs. It takes a lot of research and development to land a man on the moon, after all. Everybody’s favorite employer of mohawked men is back with a new breakthrough that may add several new bendable wrinkles to the wearableÂ technologyÂ scene.
Aerogel, or aerated silica gel, used to be the new hotness in the world of cutting edge textiles. Since then, however, it has been surpassed by new, lighter materials. Thanks to NASA, aerogel may be ready to take back its throne. They are busy developing a more powerful and flexible incarnation. How much more power? This new aerogel is up to 500 times more powerful than previous versions. The flexible part of the equation means it can be rolled out into bendable sheets. It’s also soft. This means any number of clothing applications. Look for it to start showing up in clothing, outdoor gear, kitchen stuff, building materials and whatever else you want. It can handle extreme temperatures so the sky is the limit here. But wait, it’s NASA. The sky is only the beginning for those guys.
The agency has not given us information as to how expensive or difficult it is to make, however. Those two factors could play heavily as to how often it starts showing up in commercial products. Nobody wants to buy a $3,000 pair of socks. Well, maybe Mitt Romney. Da dum dum.
We’ll give you the scoop on this new, bendable aerogel when more news is released. Until then, gaze longingly at this informative video on aerogels below.