Engineers are developing cutting-edge materials that manufacturers could soon use to make advanced products and everyday goods. Technologies that integrate foams, coatings, robotics, sensors and other substances could change the future of manufacturing by making cars, homes and gadgets more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. 

Scientific American recently looked at next-generation materials in development, such as flexible concrete cloth for construction projects, complex natural polymers meant to replace toxic plastics and super-insulating aerogels for spacesuits.