Welcome to another issue of Materials Today. In this edition, we take a look at some fascinating material applications, including medical implants, thermoelectrics for energy and processing techniques for metallic materials.

A couple of months ago in this editorial, I mulled over developments in materials applications, and asked what might be the next big thing [Mater. Today 16 (3) (2013) 47]. In considering what might very soon play a part in our daily lives; perhaps unsurprisingly I mentioned 3D printing as a candidate to play a part in a changing our everyday lives. As many of you will have seen in the news recently, this change may not be entirely positive, as a company from Texas has released designs online for the world's first gun made with 3D printer technology. You can read more about the story in a post on the Materials Today blog from David Bradley, available here: http://tinyurl.com/aeq73y2. But it is certainly a sobering thought that there are often two sides the coin to every innovation.

But on a more positive note, this issue's articles are all very much of the ‘heads up’ variety. First Kurt Kasper, Antonios Mikos and colleagues consider the evolving strategies for preventing biofilm on implantable materials. Second, we look to improving high performance bulk thermoelectrics by adopting a multi length scale panoscopic approach to design with He, Kanatzidis and Dravid. In our final two articles we look to metallic materials: Yu, Wang and Samwer guide us through the importance of the role of β relaxation in metallic glasses and Faming Zhang and co-workers introduce to the novel technique of rapid cooling spark plasma sintering- a process that will save both energy and cost when manufacturing metallic components.

As always we also have some great new online only content, looking at even more materials in action; in the form of several new webinars and podcasts. Available to watch right now: Professor Jeffrey Karp presents his work on platform technologies for next generation regenerative therapeutics. And coming soon, webinars on the applications of spectrophotometry and measuring friction and wear using unique nano-tribometery tools. So we sure to head over to http://www.materialstoday.com/webinars/ to see our latest offerings and sign up for these free events. Over on the podcast page, http://www.materialstoday.com/podcasts/, you can find interviews with Dr Mustafa Kansiz on FTIR microscopy and imaging, Professor Warren Chan on biosensing and diagnostic cocktails, and Professor Frank Koppens on quantum nano-optoelectronics.

And so whether you are joining us online or in print, we hope you enjoy this issue of Materials Today.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2013.05.019