It sounds like the kind of technology you'd see on The Jetsons (well, you know, if the Jetsons drove on roads), but a group of researchers in Germany have created "Air Clean" slabs that help reduce the detrimental impact of cars and trucks.
The idea of a road surface that passively cleans the air above it is already something being pursued in the Netherlands, where air-purifying concrete containing a cocktail of special chemicals can help guard against smog, ozone buildup and even acid rain.
Likewise, the slab you see above is in a German lab. The country has already paved some key streets with the new concrete, where it's been able to reduce the nitrogen oxides level by 20 to 30 percent — or even up to 70 percent on a still day. Of course, the effects are more pronounced closer to the ground: the readings were taken up to 10 feet above the pavement. Still, that's more than enough height to catch the biggest offenders. Cars, I'm looking at you!
The study is being backed by the German Environment Foundation, and, who knows, one day we may see our own country follow suit if the slabs really do make an impact.