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— Military

DARPA embraces nature with establishment of Biological Technologies Office

From robotics to optics and forgery prevention to solar cells, biomimicry has proven fertile ground for researchers. Recognizing nature's potential in the development of new technologies, DARPA has announced the establishment of the Biological Technologies Office (BTO), a new division that aims to "merge biology, engineering, and computer science to harness the power of natural systems for national security." Read More

Bacteria combined with gold to produce "living material"

Scientists at MIT are developing hybrid materials that are a cross between living bacterial cells and non-living components such as gold nanoparticles or quantum dots. The resulting "living materials" are able to respond to their environment like regular living cells, while also doing things like conducting electricity or emitting light. Read More
— Science

Tough-as-nails ceramic inspired by mother-of-pearl

Although you may know it simply as the shiny iridescent stuff on the inside of mollusk shells, mother-of-pearl (or nacre) is a remarkable material. It allows those shells, which otherwise consist almost entirely of brittle calcium carbonate, to stand up to the abuses of life in the sea. Now, a team led by the Laboratoire de Synthèse et Fonctionnalisation des Céramiques (CNRS) in Paris, has copied the structure of nacre to create a ceramic material that's almost 10 times stronger than conventional ceramics. Read More
— Science

A new understanding of flying snakes may lead to advances in technology

So first of all ... yes, flying snakes do exist. Disappointingly, though, they don't have scaly dragon-like wings. Instead, they're able to flatten out their bodies after launching themselves from tree branches, proceeding to glide through the air for up to 100 feet (30.5 m). Recently, scientists figured out why that technique works as well as it does. Their findings could have some major applications for us humans. Read More
— Medical

Fake muscles put new twist on artificial hearts

When you think of a beating heart, you probably just picture it flexing in and out, sort of like a rubber ball being squeezed by an invisible hand. In fact, though, its motion is more similar to that of a dish rag being wrung out, with the top of the organ twisting in a clockwise direction while the bottom contracts counterclockwise. It's known as the left ventricular twist, and scientists have now replicated it using artificial muscles. The research could lead to better-functioning cardiac implants, among other things. Read More
— 3D Printing

EDAG's Genesis: The 3D printed car of the future

Of all the technologies to have emerged from the digital renaissance, additive manufacturing (3D printing) has the potential to be the most disruptive. A perfect example of the way 3DP will change the way we make things will be displayed at the Geneva Motor Show this week when EDAG, the world’s largest independent engineering partner to the mobility industry, displays an example of a printed automobile. The Genesis is more a conceptual sculpture than an automobile, but it will give you a taste of what the world's leading manufacturers might be producing a decade or two from now. Read More
— Science

Reusable gecko-inspired adhesive tape shrugs off the "dirt"

Geckos' feet are right up there with adhesive tape, when it comes to being able to stick to things. Unlike tape, however, those feet retain their adhesive qualities even after many, many uses. Now, thanks to research being conducted at Carnegie Mellon University and Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, we may one day be using self-cleaning reusable gecko-inspired tape. Read More