From ultra-fast bullet trains to new-age medical equipment, superconductors could fundamentally change society. In the U.S. alone, about six percent of electricity passing through a typical power grid in a year is lost and becomes heat, which costs billions of dollars.
New, room-temperature superconductors, however, could change all that. As the name implies, they are able to conduct energy, but without losing any to friction or as excess heat. Traditionally, superconductors require extreme cold to function properly.
However, scientists recently made a breakthrough. Researchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas have discovered superconductivity is possible at room temperature under certain conditions. The team discovered that putting the right elements under intense pressure creates a superconductor that can work in life-supporting conditions. To achieve the level of pressure needed, two diamonds are crushed together with intense force.
This discovery means that levitating objects—like cars or hoverboards—are not as improbable as once thought. More excitingly, it would allow perfectly efficient energy transfer, which could make many futuristic technologies possible and could make our energy grids much more sustainable.