As you know one of the biggest enemy of metal is water which can lead to oxidation. Hydrophobic means that water is rejected, and that has been accomplished until now by coating the surface of objects (namely metal objects) with different hydrophobic substances. However now we have passed in the era of super-hydrophobia, which means that water will not just slip off the surface, it will bounce off it when in contact.
Anatoliy Vorobyev and Chunlei Guo of the University of Rochester have developed a technique that makes metals super-hydrophobic without having to be coated with such a substance. This was done by etching intricate patterns in the metal itself using a high-precision laser. The two got the idea when working on a project to make materials super-hydrophilic, which means water attracting.
The application of super-hydrophobic metals is endless. Any metal that has to be in contact with the outside environment can be manufactured this way, thus reducing to almost zero the effect of water on them. This is aimed directly at vehicles like cars, trains and most important airplanes.
Another application is in kitchenware. Imagine completely nonstick pans and pots which can be completely cleaned with just a piece of paper. This would be a big improvement for countries with poor sanitation. This idea is exactly what got them their funding, from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who are very interested in helping poor countries.
The two stated that for inspiration they used the lotus leaf, whose natural exterior arrangement is hydrophobic and self-cleansing. The process is still experiment and has not moved to industrial production, let alone everyday life objects.