I have been pondering the subject of NiTiNOL for usage as a building material. For those of you who have never heard of it, it is a titanium alloy that is reasonably expensive, but has an ability to "remember" a form when subjected to temperature changes. For additional info, wikipedia gives a brief summary of its properties and possible uses http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitinol.
I was thinking something along the lines of reinforcement (sewn into fabric panels) to offer semi-rigid structural members. This would allow a normally flat tarp to remember its shape when unfurled, but I imagine this exciting material could have a whole host of other uses, such as a tent that could be assembled by simply pouring some warm water on it to make it revert to its original shape. This concept, however expensive and impractical, would be insanely cool . However, I have had no first-hand experience with NiTiNOL, but if anyone has, I would love to hear how your endeavors fared.