Scientists in Japan have created a thin sheet of plastic that allows gadgets sitting on it to communicate with each other wirelessly. The sheet also serves as a wireless charger for the devices touching it. That makes it an energy-efficient alternative to Bluetooth, which in our experience is one of the worst battery-draining technologies around. The connection between gadgets on the wireless sheet is more secure than Bluetooth as well.
Right now the communications sheets are around the size of a piece of paper, but the goal is to make them much larger so that thousands of machines can communicate without the enormous network of wires that that sort of set up normally requires. Once plastic can be used for large-scale communications, however, can Autons be far behind?