For some time now, we've been hearing about the attempts by various groups to develop so-called nanosubmarines. Among other things, these microscopic "molecular machines" could conceivably be used for applications such as targeted drug delivery within the human body. Recently, scientists at Houston's Rice University created nanosubs that move at a "breakneck pace" when exposed to ultraviolet light.
Spider silk has some amazing properties. Among other things, it's as strong as steel, tougher than Kevlar, and lighter than carbon fiber. Unfortunately, however, farming spiders for their silk would be a very impractical venture. That's why some groups have looked into creating synthetic spider silk. Japanese company Spiber is one of those, and it recently joined forces with The North Face to create a parka made from its QMONOS fiber. Called the Moon Parka, the garment is reportedly "the world’s first piece of clothing made from artificial protein material."
Until now, scientists weren’t entirely sure how marine life like jellyfish and eels are able to move so effortlessly from point A to point B, using less energy than it takes any other moving life form ever measured. But researchers at the University of South Florida (USF) believe they may have now found the answer. Rather than propel themselves forward by pushing against the water, jellyfish and eels actually suck the water toward them.
A new MIT study has delved into harbor seals' ability to sense and follow prey with impressive accuracy. The research involved building a large-scale version of the little antennas, and the results could prove useful for man-made sensors.
A newly developed approach to 3D printing has produced an octopus-inspired robotic device claimed to offer an unprecedented level of agility. Cornell University engineers crafted the soft artificial muscle using commercially available material and say it points to a future of more advanced robotic devices inspired by nature.
Scientists at Florida Atlantic University have employed a novel thermal training technique to give robotic fingers a natural look and feel. With the ability to curve and straighten as it is heated and cooled, the researchers are hopeful their lifelike new creation will be put to use in underwater robotics and eventually, advanced prosthetic devices.
How to improve food systems by looking to nature for design solutions – this was the brief given to entrants in the Biomimicry Institute’s Global Design Challenge, which announced its finalists this week. The selection committee has drawn up a list of eight teams, each of which has been invited to prototype its solution in an accelerator program that will award US$100,000 to the winner.
Currently, when scientists want to know if bacteria are present in
water, they have two main choices. They can take a sample to the lab,
where they'll try growing the suspected bacteria in it, and then count
the number of resulting colonies to determine the concentration. Or,
they can analyze it using expensive lab-based gas chromatography or mass
spectrometry equipment. Now, however, researchers from Seoul National
University have developed a "bioelectronic nose" that could be used on
location, and that is reportedly more sensitive than existing
Imagine if things like undersea cables or medical implants could simply
heal themselves back together if severed – it would certainly be easier
than having to go in and fix them. Well, scientists at Pennsylvania
State University are bringing such a possibility closer to reality.
They've created a moldable polymer that heals itself when exposed to
water – and it's based on squid sucker ring teeth.
When it comes to human phobias, snakes are frequently found toward the top of the list. But despite the negative reputation, these reptiles make up an important part of our ecosystem while exhibiting some very unique biological aspects. The way snakes move across surfaces is pretty incredible, and researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have figured out how to potentially use that feature to enhance everything from hip prostheses to computer hard disks.