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Biomimicry

Biology

Secret to jellyfish propulsion could be applied to human tech

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.Read More

Robotics

Robotic finger mimics human digits as it is heated and cooled

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.Read More

Biology

Bioelectronic nose sniffs out bacteria in water

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 techniques.Read More

Materials

Self-healing bioplastic – just add water

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.Read More

Materials

Snake skin-inspired steel could lead to better hard drives

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.Read More

Space

NASA scientists develop gecko-inspired astronaut anchors

Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) are honing the applications of a gecko-like gripping mechanism in the hope of making life a little less chaotic for those working aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The ever-inventive JPL workers have come up with a series of "astronaut anchors" for use both inside and outside the station, and have even equipped a robot with the tech, opening up the possibility of allowing it to safely operate on the exterior of the space station.Read More

Robotics

Robotic sea lion flippers could propel future submersibles

Unlike most other sea creatures, sea lions use their forelimbs instead of a tail for propulsion. They also leave virtually no wake as they travel through the water. With an eye towards applying this design to human technology, George Washington University professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering Megan Leftwich has developed a robotic sea lion flipper.Read More

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