We have all read the classic fairy tale titled “The Princess and the Pea”, where the Princess couldn’t sleep at night because there was a pea underneath the 20 mattresses. Although the story is a fairy tale and one may question its authenticity but think for a moment; why can’t the mattresses be thin? Well, then there won’t be enough material between you and the floor, right? You won’t feel comfortable lying on such a thin mattress, but imagine if there was such a mattress that was very thin and still able to keep you from feeling whatever was underneath it; won’t you want it? This has been made possible all thanks to Karlsruhe Institute of Technology where a team has managed to come up with a new material that allows for prevention of objects from being felt via touch.
A lot of research has been made on invisibility (because that is fascinating) on the past few years in order to come up with techniques that make us invisible or kill off the sounds we make in order to give us ninja like abilities, but there has been no invention such as the one we are talking about which allows for an object to be not felt when the object is touched. The KIT researchers began with a particular crystalline meta-material which was composed of tiny cones that were joined together at the tips. The measurements are accurate on a sub-micrometer level for the surface to be non-touchable.
Once the material was manufactured, the team placed a hard cylinder within this material. The cylinder could be felt easily through foam, cotton and other soft materials but with the meta-material the cylinder didn’t exist at all. The users didn’t feel anything under the material and this has opened new doors for innovation with this particular type of material.
Once it is commercialized; you would be able to purchase lighter and thinner mattresses which shall be easily portable and will still provide you the same comfort as your bed. Camping nights are going to be so much fun now, aren’t they?!