Aluminum started as one of the world’s most expensive materials because it was difficult to refine—even though it made up 8 percent of the world’s crust. But eventually aluminum became one of the cheapest materials after methods of mass producing it were invented in the 1880s. It went from $1200 per kilogram down to a dollar in 50 years.
Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group is one of the most exciting divisions of any major technology company: It’s where Project Ara, Google’s modular phone experiment, and Project Tango, Google’s 3D-mapping tool, were born and are continuing to be incubated. Now, Google is shooting for the moon with another big idea—Project Jacquard.