GM has filed a patent for rub strips, bumpers and body moldings made of a "shape memory alloy." The goal is to eliminate damage from minor bumps and dings, not heavy impacts (think wayward shopping cart, not backing into a light pole).

The morphing material is a nickel/titanium alloy that expands when heated. The idea is to apply a weak electrical current to heat the material when it might be bumped, say a trim strip on the edge of a door when the door opens. When the material cools, any minor dings should disappear as the material shrinks.

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