When the uprising begins, the skies will darken with dandelion seeds transporting the nanobot armies dressed in chainmail.

The magnificent photograph above shows a new micro-latice structure developed by HRL Laboratories in collaboration with The California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Irvine. Not only is it strong — able to recover fully from compression exceeding 50 percent strain — it also features a density of only 0.9 mg/cc making it about 100 times lighter than Styrofoam. It also bests the previous lightweight champion revealed last year as "liquid smoke," or multiwalled carbon nanotube aerogel with a density of 4 mg/cc.

The fabrication process developed by HRL's Dr. Alan Jacobsen uses a series of tubes — just like the internet — to build a material consisting of 99.99 percent open volume. The lattice is formed from a collection of linked hollow tubes with a wall thickness of just 100 nanometers, each about 1,000 times thinner than a human hair. Researches claim that the material’s architecture results in "unprecedented mechanical behavior for a metal."

Developed for DARPA, it could find its way into battery electrodes or catalyst supports or as a means to dampen acoustics, shock, and vibration.

Photo credit: Dan Little, HRL Laboratories, LLC.