The Secret Life of Materials

60 min. Dreamscape. 2017. $24.99. $199.99 (PPR). ISBN 818506021470.
Gr 9 Up—This program presents an overview of the work of several material scientists who are using technology to develop new substances and create new products. Viewers learn about prosthetics that can be controlled by the brain and new limbs that relay tactile information to the wearer. A violin craftsman designs a quality 3D-printed plastic instrument, while other scientists work on water filtration sheets to help a farmer in Crete. Several of their projects may particularly interest students, including solar-powered tables that charge cellphones and posters that can connect to phones via Bluetooth to play music. There is gender, age, and ethnic diversity among the scientists, and the production features several fascinating technologies. However, some of the segments are not as well developed, and the editing, which interweaves several of the stories, requires the program to be viewed in its entirety (instead of only the segment pertinent to a classroom lesson).
VERDICT While of interest to the casual viewer looking to be wowed by technology, this will have limited value in a classroom.

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