As is often the case, the weekly email from KurzweilAI.net has some mind-blowing stuff in it. I may be a bit behind the power curve on this, because while I had read something about quantum dots (mainly related to quantum computing and as a light source), I had not really heard of the idea of using them to create configurable or programmable matter - materials whose optical, electrical, and even structural and other properties could be altered on command - programmable matter. It sounds like science fiction, but Wil McCarthy published a book on this in 2003, Hacking Matter. He recently added some updated comments to it and released a free multimedia PDF version of it which was the news item from Kurzweil.
Just a quick browse so far, and it looks to be amazing, potentially world-altering stuff, and not as far off as even McCarthy imagined in 2003. He has patents pending and a company working on it! He's also a SF writer, so I checked out his books on Amazon and ordered a couple. His free PDF turns out to be smart marketing too.