Synthetic Cilia

Synthetic cilia made, according to a report in New Scientist Tech, 13 April 2007. Cilia are microscopic hair-like structures that project from the surfaces of cells. Large numbers of them are found in the linings of airways where they are used to sweep the layer of fluid that lines the airways away from the lungs. […]

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Sticking a Frog Foot on It

Sticking a frog foot on it, described in ABC News in Science, 12 October 2007. Scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur have developed a reusable adhesive tape inspired by frog feet. Conventional sticky tapes are not reusable because they crack when removed from one surface, and they collect dust and other particles and […]

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Spring Loaded Plankton Inspire Engineers

Spring loaded plankton inspire engineers, according to a report in New Scientist, 17 December 2005, p12. Danielle France of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has studied the way a pond dwelling protozoan named Vorticella convallaria attaches itself to surfaces such as rocks and leaves by a stalk called a spasmoneme. If the cell is […]

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Spider Vision for Robots

Spider vision for robots is being developed at the California Institute of Technology by a group of engineers who are “turning to nature for help” in reducing the amount of computing power needed to analyse images formed in the micro-chip eyes of moving robots. According to a report in New Scientist, 31 March 2001, p20, […]

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Smart Seeds

Smart seeds described in ScienceNOW 12 June 2009 and Science Roundup 2 July 2009. David Lentink, a zoologist at Wageningen University, the Netherlands and colleagues have studied the way maple seeds are able to ‘fly’ long distances away from their parent tree. Seeds need to be able to move away from the parent tree so […]

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Shrimp Eyes Make Better DVD Players

Shrimp eyes make better DVD players according to an article in ABC News in Science, 26 October 2009. Researchers studying the eyes of an Australian crustacean have found that its eyes process light in a more complex way than any man-made DVD or CD player. The shrimps’ eyes are able to convert linear polarised light […]

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Self-Cleaning Lotus Leaves

Self-cleaning lotus leaves inspire chemists, according to a report in Nature Science Update, 20 November 2002. Ten years ago University of Bonn botanist, Wilhelm Barthlott discovered that lotus leaves have very bumpy surfaces which cause water droplets to roll off them rather than slide, as they would do if they landed on a smooth surface. […]

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Sea Sponge Inspired Solar Cells

Sea sponge inspired solar cells described in New Scientist, 24 March 2007, p32. Some sea sponges are covered with fine spikes of silica, which they make by converting silicic acid from sea water, using an enzyme named silicatein to catalyse the reaction. Spikey structures like these could help make photovoltaic cells (solar panels) more efficient, […]

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Scorpion Robot

“Scorpion Robot Could Conquer Worlds” is not the title of a bad science fiction film, but it is the headline of an article in news@nature 10 February 2005. Scientists at NASA’s Ames Research Centre in Moffett Field, California are currently evaluating an eight legged robot to see if it could be used to negotiate steep […]

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Scientists Design Water Controlling Surfaces

Scientists design water controlling surfaces, according to news@nature and New Scientist, 30 August 2005. Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston have developed a spongy surface coating that reduces reflections and prevents glass from fogging. The coating consists of layers of glass nanoparticles, polymer fibres, and air bubbles. This combination attracts water but […]

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