skip to main content

Listen

Read

Watch

Schedules

Programs

Events

Give

Account

Donation Heart Ribbon

NOVA: Making Stuff: Smarter

Airs Saturday, October 5, 2013 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Host David Pogue swims with sharks to get a close look at their skin. Sharkskin has inspired a substance that, when sprayed in hospitals, could eliminate antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Invisibility cloaks. Spider silk that is stronger than steel. Plastics made of sugar that dissolve in landfills. Self-healing military vehicles. Smart pills and micro-robots that zap diseases. Clothes that monitor your mood. What will the future bring, and what will it be made of?

Wallaby Ranch owner Malcolm Jones (left) takes David Pogue (right) for a glide.
Enlarge this image

Above: Wallaby Ranch owner Malcolm Jones (left) takes David Pogue (right) for a glide.

Host David Pogue tries out a Speedo Fastskin suit.
Enlarge this image

Above: Host David Pogue tries out a Speedo Fastskin suit.

In NOVA's four-hour series, MAKING STUFF, popular New York Times technology reporter David Pogue takes viewers on a fun-filled tour of the material world we live in, and the one that may lie ahead.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at scientific innovations ushering in a new generation of materials that are stronger, smaller, cleaner, and smarter than anything we've ever seen.

"Making Stuff Smarter" looks at materials that respond to their environments and even learn, such as an airplane wing that changes shape as it flies.

Scientists are turning to nature in developing such "smart" stuff. Sharkskin, for instance, has inspired a substance that, when sprayed in hospitals, could eliminate antibiotic-resistant bacteria. David Pogue visits a scientist who has even created a material that can render objects invisible.

"Smarter" concludes with a vision of the ultimate in "life-like" stuff: programmable matter that could create a duplicate of a human being.

The other three episodes include "Making Stuff Smaller," "Making Stuff Cleaner" and "Making Stuff Stronger." This series originally aired in 2011.

NOVA is on Facebook, and you can follow @novapbs on Twitter.

Video

NOVA: Making Stuff Smarter

Above: In "Making Stuff Smarter," explore a new generation of ingenious materials, from clothes that monitor your mood to real-life invisibility cloaks.

Video

NOVA: Making Stuff Cleaner

Above: Can innovative materials help solve the energy crisis and lead to a sustainable future? David Pogue investigates in NOVA "Making Stuff: Cleaner."

Video

NOVA: Making Stuff Stronger

Above: In "Making Stuff Stronger," David Pogue tests his mettle against the world’s strongest stuff, from steel and Kevlar to bioengineered silk.

Video

NOVA: Making Stuff Smaller

Above: In "Making Stuff Smaller," future technologies will depend on tiny stuff—from silicon chips to micro-robots that probe the human body.

Video

NOVA: Making Stuff: Interview with host David Pogue

Above: Invisibility cloaks. Spider silk that is stronger than steel. Plastics made of sugar that dissolve in landfills. Self-healing military vehicles. Smart pills and micro-robots that zap diseases. Clothes that monitor your mood. What will the future bring, and what will it be made of? In NOVA's fascinating new four-hour series, MAKING STUFF, popular New York Times technology reporter David Pogue takes viewers on a thrilling tour of the material world we live in, and the one that may lie ahead—offering viewers a behind-the-scenes look at scientific innovations that are ushering in a new generation of materials that are stronger, smaller, smarter, and cleaner than anything we've ever seen.