3D plant scans will help build lighter, stronger cars

Don't look now, but the plants in your backyard might just shape the next generation of cars. University of Freiburg researchers have found a way to study the junctions between living plants' branches and stems using MRI scans, giving insight into how they cope under strain. The 3D images should show how you can build a lightweight, fiber-based structure that can still take some punishment -- particularly helpful for cars and bikes, where fiber already helps shed a lot of unnecessary pounds. They could help produce sturdier buildings, too. While there's still plenty of work left before plant scanning is practical, it's possible that a tree or flower could make your future ride a lot nimbler and speedier.