Ever dropped a bottle of oil and cleaning up the mess spoiled your lunch?
Imagine how nature feels about oil spills. So a few folks from Northwestern University in Illinois thought: why should something that works at home not work in nature?
With a little modification, of course.
They coated a sponge with an ultra-thin layer of magic material based on carbon – the same stuff as found in pencils.
This new sponge only soaks up oil, nothing else. It is also magnetic which helps with handling.
Like, moving it around on the ocean surface or hauling it in for a safe squeeze.
The sponge also warms up to radio signals. Then it releases the last bits of its prey and is ready for reuse. Again and again.