Shape Memory Alloy May Be Ready for Market. Nickel-titanium alloy (nitinol) materials remember two different shape states formed at different temperatures; the conformation change can be induced by electrical currents as well. Although the effect has been known since the 1930’s, it has been frustratingly difficult to engineer uses and has become, in general, an orphan technology. However, medical applications, replacements for solenoids and motors in miniaturized contexts and, perhaps driving the demand most of all, toys, using shape memory alloys may soon start to appear. The article, however, sounds like a press release for one particular company. Are they the only game in town or is the principla of the company a friend of the Times writer?