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Biomimicry

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

Materials

Beetles inspire ice-resistant aircraft surfaces

Rerouting warm engine air and pumping ice-melting chemicals onto the wings are a couple of ways to keep aircraft surfaces free of frost during flight, but researchers are looking for a more efficient technique. Taking their inspiration from a water-gathering desert beetle, scientists have developed a patterned surface on which the spread of ice can be controlled and prevented. They say the material could be scaled up and applied to not only aircraft parts, but also wind turbines, heat pump coils and car windshields.Read More

Environment

Giant clams could inspire better color displays and solar cells

Researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara have discovered that giant clams may hold the key to improving solar cells and color displays. The new findings indicate that at least two species of giant clams produce a white coloration by combining red, green and blue light, in a manner similar to what occurs in television and smartphone displays.Read More

Materials

Gecko-inspired adhesive tape finally scales to market

The natural stickiness of gecko's feet has inspired decades-long research efforts to develop advanced adhesives. Now a company spun out of a university research group called nanoGriptech has taken the science out of the lab and into the market, through a number of newly available products promised to deliver enhanced grip and reusability.Read More

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