The need for easy-to-assemble, cheap building materials was made evident in the days and weeks following March's horrific earthquake, but the Japanese firm TIS & Partners has pioneered a new "CO2 Structure" that could completely change post-emergency reconstruction.

Whereas it takes concrete nearly 28 days to reach 100% of its design strength, the CO2 Structure can be cured, dried and ready for use in less than a minute -- plus, it's stronger than asphalt and concrete. By injecting carbon dioxide directly into a silica (sand and quartz), adding a few organic compounds and letting the entire concoction cool off, you're left with a building material with twice the tensile strength of brick.

The CO2 Structure could very easily revolutionize emergency doctrine and will likely save countless lives. Oh, and unlike concrete, this material needs little (if any) steel reinforcements. Wow!