From shoulder pads to leg-warmers, there are a litany of ’80s “inventions” we hope never see the light of day again. Not so with activated carbon cloth, however. The flexible and inexpensive material was originally developed 30 years ago to protect soldiers from chemical attacks, but British researchers from the University of Abertay Dundee have discovered a boatload of modern-day applications for this retro throwback, including filtering drugs and toxins from drinking water, air-filtration systems in hospitals, and cleaning up toxic spills.