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Biomimicry

The super gel's 'nano ropes,' linked together to form a net-like structure (Photo: Radboud...

Gelatins take on a semi-solid state when cool, and become a liquid when heated, right? Well, not always. Chemists from Radboud University Nijmegen, in The Netherlands, have created a “super gel” that behaves in the opposite manner – it’s liquid when cool, and stiffens when heated. What’s more, it reportedly absorbs water 100 times better than other gels. To make it, the researchers copied the protein structure of human cells.  Read More

Grace may look more like a '50s space ship than a fish, but that's by design (Photo: Xiaob...

A new species of robot fish has been spotted in the Kalamazoo River in the state of Michigan, where more than a million gallons of oil spilled in July 2010. Developed primarily by Xiaobo Tan, an associate professor at Michigan State University (MSU), the robot's sensors detected crude oil at various sites along the river.  Read More

A UCR researcher is taking inspiration from the teeth of a marine snail to build the techn...

Inspired by the tough teeth of a marine snail and the remarkable process by which they form, assistant professor David Kisailus at the University of California, Riverside is working toward building cheaper, more efficient nanomaterials. By achieving greater control over the low-temperature growth of nanocrystals, his research could improve the performance of solar cells and lithium-ion batteries, lead to higher-performance materials for car and airplane frames, and help develop abrasion-resistant materials that could be used for anything from specialized clothing to dental drills.  Read More

VelociRoACH can achieve a running speed up to 2.7 meters per second or 26 body lengths in ...

The common cockroach may make your skin crawl, but it turns out the household pest is the perfect model for miniature legged robots. That's why Duncan Haldane and his colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, have been studying the six-legged pests to improve their millirobots. Their latest creation, the VelociRoACH, is made primarily out of cardboard and measures just 10 cm long, yet it can run 2.7 meters per second, making it the fastest robot of its size, capable of covering 26 times its body length in a single second.  Read More

The Kranium cardboard-core bicycle helmet is now available for pre-order in the UK

Just last month, we told you about the Kranium – a prototype bicycle helmet with a core made from cardboard instead of the usual expanded foam. Well, we obviously weren’t the only ones impressed by it. German security devices manufacturer Abus has picked up the design, resulting in the Kranium AKS 1 helmet now being available in the UK.  Read More

Simulation of the clotting process, showing the platelets in gold and the Willebrand facto...

Blood clots are one way in which the body heals itself after injuries on even the tiniest level. The process is fast, reliable and goes on every minute of the day without our being aware of it. Now, a team led by MIT assistant professor of materials science and engineering Alfredo Alexander-Katz is studying blood clots as a new model for producing self-healing materials.  Read More

A Photuris firefly, which was the focus of the research (Photo: Optics Express)

Fireflies ... they’ve allowed us to image the bloodstream and they’ve inspired the creation of a light that could run on waste. Now, they’ve helped an international team of scientists get over 50 percent more light out of existing LED bulbs. The secret lies in the insects’ scales.  Read More

A blind cave fish, that gets around underwater just fine (Photo: Frank Vassen)

Ever wonder how fish can find their way around so easily in murky water? Well, most of them use something called their lateral line – a row of hair cells down either side of their body that detect changes in water pressure caused by movement, or by water flowing around objects. Now, scientists from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University and MIT have copied the lateral lines of the blind cave fish, in a man-made system designed to allow autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) to navigate more accurately and efficiently.  Read More

Scientists have created a mussel-inspired gel, which may ultimately save human lives  (Pho...

Mussels have an amazing ability to cling to rocks, even when buffeted by large waves and ocean debris on a daily basis. Now, scientists have created a bioadhesive gel inspired by those mussels, that could potentially be used to reinforce weakened blood vessels.  Read More

Quills may be good for more than just protecting porcupines (Photo: Shutterstock)

If you’ve known a dog that’s been quilled by a porcupine, then you’ll know that while those quills go in all-too-easily, it’s very difficult to pull them out. As part of a new research project, however, a team of scientists are looking at replicating those very characteristics in things like hypodermic needles and surgical adhesives. It turns out that what’s a bane to overly-inquisitive dogs may be a boon to medical technology.  Read More

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