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Biomimicry


— Science

Thin-film solar cells could become more efficient – thanks to moths' eyes

By - May 17, 2013 1 Picture
Because moths need to use every little bit of light available in order to see in the dark, their eyes are highly non-reflective. This quality has been copied in a film that can be applied to solar cells, which helps keep sunlight from being reflecting off of them before it can be utilized. Now, a new moth eye-inspired film may further help solar cells become more efficient. Read More
— Architecture

Blue Forest reveals designs for new Biodiversity Nest Treehouse

UK architectural firm Blue Forest, which has a background in the design and construction of luxury treehouses and lodges, has revealed its plans to build a large nest-like treehouse in the Eden Project’s Humid Tropics Biome. Located in Cornwall, UK, the Eden Project is the world’s largest conservatory, and the planned Biodiversity Nest will sit high amidst its treetops as part of a new Rainforest Canopy Walk. Read More
— Robotics

Harvard's flying robot insect can now hover and steer

By - May 8, 2013 5 Pictures
Almost since the beginning of their existence, robots have taken inspiration from one of nature's wonders: insects. Technological limitations typically prevent these robots from matching the small size of their many-legged muses, resulting in gargantuan examples like Festo's BionicOpter dragonfly. In stark contrast is Harvard's RoboBee, which is the first in the world to demonstrate controlled flight by an insect-sized robot. Read More
— Science

Seahorse tails may hold key to flexible robotic tentacles

By - May 6, 2013 3 Pictures
The meaning of the word biomimicry is being devalued and inflated, to the point that any technology or design with the vaguest resemblance to something in the natural world tends to have the word unthinkingly applied to it. PR people in the automotive and architectural fields are now particularly fond of the word. So it's refreshing to be able to report on some research that has taken a detailed look at a natural phenomenon, the armor of a seahorse, and thought about how it might be applied in the field of robotics. The researchers think a similar structure of sliding plates could be used to improve robot arms used for underwater exploration and bomb disposal. Read More
— Robotics

Robo Raven gets in a flap with real-life hawk

By - May 2, 2013 7 Pictures
Researchers from the University of Maryland have built a new micro air vehicle dubbed Robo Raven that's such a convincing flyer, it's been attacked by a local hawk during testing. Though numerous other robotic birds have successfully taken to the skies in recent years, including Festo's visually stunning SmartBird, this featherless mechanical marvel is capable of impressive complex aerobatic maneuvers thanks to completely programmable wings that can flap independently of each other. Read More
— Digital Cameras

Bugs' eyes inspire new super-wide-angle camera

By - May 1, 2013 5 Pictures
Contrary to what certain cartoons may have us believe, insects’ compound eyes don’t produce a grid of tiny identical images. Instead, each of their many optical facets supply one unique section of a single composite image – sort of like the individual pixels that make up one digital image. Now, a team of scientists has replicated that eye structure, to create an ultra-wide-angle camera. Read More
— Science

Squid beak-inspired material could find use in medical implants

By - April 5, 2013 1 Picture
You probably don’t give a lot of thought to squid beaks, but they actually possess a pretty interesting quality. While the end of the beak is hard and sharp, the beak material gradually becomes softer as it nears the mouth. This means that there’s no abrupt boundary between the hard beak and the soft mouth, which could result in discomfort or injuries. Inspired by the squid, scientists at Ohio’s Case Western Reserve University have now developed a material with the same qualities, that could be used to create more comfortable, less harmful medical implants. Read More
— Robotics

Festo demonstrates BionicOpter dragonfly robot

By - March 31, 2013 10 Pictures
The dragonfly is quite the show off when it comes to flying. It can hover in mid-air, maneuver in all directions, and glide without so much as a beat of its wings. After succeeding in capturing the essence of a herring gull with the SmartBird, the folks over at German pneumatic and electric automation company Festo challenged themselves with the creation of a robotic addition to the dragonfly family – the BionicOpter. Read More
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