using hydrophilic/phobic materials

Materials now in labs can turn surfaces hydrophobic or hydrophilic via applied voltages. The first intended use is to shuttle water-based samples around a chip-sized lab with multiple paths and chambers that must be flooded and evacuated under external control.

That's a good idea and garners research money by hitting the hot buttons of health (cheaper organic fluid testing) and terrorism (compact and quick bad-stuff sniffers).

But the real good idea here is when the materials can be made in large quantities and/or in an easily applied coating. Then the hulls of boats can be covered with this material. This may lead to the following advances:

by Guy T. Schafer
(First published August 30, 2004)