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Biomimicry


— Medical

New superglue fixes holes in the heart

By - January 10, 2014 4 Pictures
A hole in the heart is never a good thing, so when an infant is born with such a defect, doctors have to act quickly to fix it. Unfortunately, both sutures and staples can damage the heart tissue, plus it takes too long to apply sutures. Existing surgical adhesives have their own drawbacks in that they can be toxic, and they typically become unstuck in wet, dynamic environments such as the heart. As a result, infants often require subsequent operations to "replug" the hole. Now, however, scientists have developed a sort of superglue for the heart, that quickly and securely bonds patches to holes. Read More
— Science

Plant-based magnetic microswimmers to deliver drugs more precisely

By - December 23, 2013 2 Pictures
If you remember the 1966 science fiction film Fantastic Voyage, you'll recall how miniaturized government agents traveled through blood vessels in a tiny submarine, in their attempt remove a blood clot from a scientist's brain. Synthetic nanomotors that can do the same job have been the subject of numerous research efforts and now University of California, San Diego (UCSD) researchers report that they've created powerful biodegradable "microswimmers" that can deliver drugs more precisely, derived from common plants like passion fruit and wild banana. Read More
— Aircraft

DelFly Explorer claimed to be world's first autonomous flapping-wing MAV

By - December 17, 2013 2 Pictures
We've seen autonomous MAVs (micro air vehicles) before, and we've seen flapping-wing MAVs before. According to a group of researchers from the Netherlands' Delft University of Technology, however, we've never seen an autonomous flapping-wing MAV – until now. Yesterday the four-man team announced its DelFly Explorer, which is described as "the first flapping wing Micro Air Vehicle that is able to fly with complete autonomy in unknown environments." Read More

Pomelo fruit inspires high-strength hybrid metal

Here's an interesting fact about the pomelo fruit: even though a mature fruit can weigh up to 2 kg (4.4 lb), they remain intact after falling from heights of over 10 meters (33 ft). The secret lies in the structure of their peel. Scientists have copied that structure, to produce a new type of aluminum composite that's stronger than straight aluminum. Read More
— Robotics

U-CAT robotic sea turtle set to explore shipwrecks

By - November 26, 2013 5 Pictures
When was the last time you heard about a sea turtle getting stuck in a shipwreck? Never, that's when. Although that's partly because stuck turtles rarely make the news, it's also due to the fact that they're relatively small and highly maneuverable. With that in mind, the European Union-funded ARROWS project has created U-CAT – a prototype robotic sunken-ship-exploring sea turtle. Read More
— Science

Mother Nature inspires cocktail crafting in a chef-scientist collaboration

By - November 7, 2013 9 Pictures
Context is everything. Drinking a cocktail containing an aquatic beetle and a water lily might prove disconcerting, but in the lab of John Bush, a fluid dynamicist at MIT, and the kitchen of José Andrés, a well-known culinary innovator, these natural inspirations give rise to mixed drink magic. The aquatic beetle is transformed into an edible liquor-dispensing boat and the lily into an elegant floral “pipette” which captures and dispenses small amounts of drinks. Read More

Mmm, glow-in-the-dark jellyfish ice cream

Late last month, as a definitely unique way of celebrating Hallowe'en, Bristol-based specialty ice cream-maker Charlie Harry Francis unveiled what is probably the world's first-ever glow-in-the-dark ice cream. His secret ingredient? Jellyfish protein. Read More
— Robotics

Video: iStruct robot ape stands upright thanks to its active spine

By - October 31, 2013 5 Pictures
Back in June the world got its first glimpse of the iStruct, a robot ape developed at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and the University of Bremen. We predicted that in addition to the stability afforded by walking on all fours, the robot ape could feasibly stand up to free its hands for other kinds of work. Now the team has published a video that shows how their robot accomplishes this maneuver with the help of its flexible spine and sensitive feet. Read More
— Science

Dolphins inspire a new bomb-detecting system

By - October 25, 2013 1 Picture
Chances are, you know that dolphins use sonar to locate and stun prey underwater. You might also know that they create "bubble nets," in which they trap fish inside a ring of air bubbles that they blow while swimming in a circle. With all those distracting bubbles suspended in the water, though, their sonar needs to work in a special way in order to pick out the fish. Scientists have copied that sonar system, to create a type of radar that could differentiate between ordinary objects and things like explosive devices. Read More
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