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Biomimicry

Science

Nanopillared surface inspired by insect wings counteracts bacteria

Keeping surfaces bacteria-free is particularly important when it comes to medical devices and implants. In a move that could replace the use of biocidal coatings and antibiotic drugs in such applications, scientists have developed a germ-repelling synthetic polymer inspired by the antibacterial powers of insect wings, which they say could form the basis of resilient new types of eye implants.Read More

Outdoors

Folding helmet inspired by the pangolin and honeybees

Scientists and inventors have been taking their cues from nature for centuries, but who would have thought the somewhat exotic pangolin (aka scaly anteater) and honeybees would influence a bicycle helmet design? That unlikely pairing is what inspired Golem Innovation to create the Alpha helmet, a folding noggin protector that retracts around your neck when not in use.Read More

Science

Nosy fish inspires help for the eyes

Presbyopia is a common visual condition, in which the eye's lens stiffens to the point that it can't focus on close objects. Glasses, surgery and regular contact lenses do help, but they also cause a loss in contrast, sensitivity and night vision. That's why scientists from the University of Wisconsin, Madison are developing an alternative – self-focusing contacts that are inspired by a fish.Read More

Materials

Stretchy squid-inspired skin glows in different colors

Besides having tentacles, squid and octopi are also both known for their color-changing skin. Well, soft-bodied robots may soon also share that attribute, thanks to research being carried out at Cornell University. Led by assistant professor Rob Shepherd, a team of grad students there has developed an electroluminescent rubber "skin" that not only emits light in different colors, but that can also do so while being stretched to more than six times its original length.Read More

Robotics

Scorpion Hexapod has a sting in its tail

Students from Ghent University in Belgium have developed a six-legged floor crawler that's sure to leave its mark on those it comes into contact with. The Scorpion Hexapod, which wouldn't look too out of place in the robotic menagerie of German automation technology company Festo, fires its stinger at the hand of anyone covering its eyes, leaving a red mark as a reminder of the encounter.Read More

Science

Shrimp communications shed light on new optical material

The study of an unusual communication method used by mantis shrimp has provided an unexpected insight that could lead to a new take on optical devices used in many consumer products, from sunglasses to cameras. The study, which was led by researchers at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, successfully revealed the mechanism by which the little crustaceans are able to manipulate the polarization of light.Read More

Robotics

Cockroach inspires robot that squishes down to crawl through cracks and crevices

For most people, the cockroach doesn't inspire anything but the shivers and a mild sense of revulsion. For scientists at the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley), however, the insect has inspired a whole new way of thinking about robots. After studying the way in which roaches squeeze through tiny cracks and crevices, the team developed a robot with similar capabilities.Read More

Science

Sandcastle worms inspire strong, fast-acting underwater adhesive

Science has turned its torch to many corners of the animal kingdom in the pursuit of advanced adhesives. Immoveable mussels, grippy geckos and stubborn shellfish have helped nudged these efforts along in the past, and now another critter has emerged with a few sticky secrets of its own. Researchers have replicated the adhesive secreted by sandcastle worms to form a new kind of underwater glue, a substance they say could find use in a number of applications including tissue repair and dentistry. Read More

Science

Sorry Spider-Man, but geckos are the largest wall crawlers

Having faced off the Green Goblin and Mysterio, Spider-Man has been defeated by his greatest enemy; maths. According to a team of scientists from Cambridge University, for the webslinger to stick to a wall, he'd need hands and feet equal to 40 percent of his entire body surface area. Though this may dismay web head's fans, it may shed insights into how to improve gecko-like adhesives.Read More

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