Category Archives: adjustable

lizard tail for stabilizers

Lizard_EchseTownsville.jpg.w300h413Lizards are some of the most versatile animals on the planet. Geckoes for example can climb straight up walls, even across glass ceilings upside down. Their feet have been studied to learn how to make better adhesives. Now, lizards are the subject of a new investigation which includes the dinosaurs. Researchers are looking at how lizards use their tails for balance, resulting in similar mechanical “tails” for robots.

Technical application:


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porcupines inspire for medical applications and wound healing

crop North American porcupines are well known for their unusual defense. An adult is coated with perhaps 30,000 needle-like hairs. An unfortunate dog that gets too close may find its nose resembling a pin cushion. Furthermore, the needles are not easy to remove. They are coated with microscopic, flexible plate-like barbs x1944__560x420_natural-quill-digital-photo-and-sem_jpg_pagespeed_ic_39VRY2tUR-.jpg.w180h102which make penetration relatively easy, but extraction requires a strong and painful pull.


Technical application:

surgical applications

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the mystical movement of snakes

Red_milk_snake.JPG.w300h233Snakes have scales on their belly skin which help them move about. On a flat surface, the body weight is continuously redistributed for maximum friction, and the scales provide grip. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have made detailed studies of the movement of the milk snake. The result, which they call terrestrial lateral undulation, reveals complex motion.

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stegosaurus plates for innovative wind-turbines

dinotail stegosaurusThousands of wind turbines have been installed worldwide in recent years for the production of clean electric energy. Efforts continue to make the large turbines efficient and quiet. One successful modification of existing turbine blades is inspired by the stegosaur.


Technical application:

improve fluid-turbines

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flexible eye lens focused by a fluid

Fish_Eye The lens in our eye has a special designed feature called accommodation. That is, the lens changes shape, curvature, or focal length to bring images into focus. When we look at a far distant object the lens becomes thinner. For nearby objects the lens thickens and becomes rounder for clear vision. The flexibility is possible because tFocus_in_an_eye.jpghe lens is somewhat jellylike. Ciliary muscles around the edge of the lens control its shape. These muscles can become fatigued, and they recover when eyes are closed.

Technical application:

optical lens technology

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human eye as a model for better wiping systems

220px-Heckscheibenwischer_kl eyelid_2Engineer and inventor Robert Kearns (1929-2005) lived in Detroit, a region surrounded by the auto industry. One misty, rainy day he drove his Ford Galaxie across town. He was irritated by the constant scraping and vibration of the windshield wipers on the semi-dry windshield. At this time, most wipers had just two settings, one for normal rain and the other for a heavy downpour. Kearns also had only one good eye, and the constant smearing motion of the wipers did not help his vision or driving concentration. What happened next is what the Wall Street Journal calls “the kind of inspiration that separates inventors from ordinary people.” Kearn simply asked himself whether windshield wipers could mimic the blinking of our eyes.

Technical application:

windshield wipers

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eye-lens camera contact lens and monitoring your body for health purposes

220px-Sony_DSC-H2_01First watch the video below!

Cameras have long mimicked  the optics of the eye. Both collect and focus light with a convex outer lens. However, cameras have a shortcoming: They typically focus the image onto a flat surface. Whether this surface is covered with film or a digital sensor, distortion results from the projecting of light from a curved lens onto the flat 120px-Eye_Central_Heterochromia_crop_and_lightersurface. The insertion of additional lenses reduces the distortion, but this adds to camera weight and cost. Our eye with its hemispherical shape has no such problem.

Technical application:

better optical technologies, contact lens

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Intestine – Fuel Tank

ooThis is an unusual example of practical designs found in nature. Automobiles have several new options for fuel including batteries, hydrogen gas, and natural gas. Natural gas is especially attractive because it is in good supply in the U.S., and emits only half the carbon dioxide of conventional fossil fuel. However, one challenge is to carry enough natural gas on board the vehicle for practical driving. Large, high pressure cylinders are expensive, bulky, and somewhat hazardous.

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bio-inspired spring to reach your tall targets

Cucumber_Image2_605.jpg.w300h171 CucumberVine3.jpg.w300h452It has long been known that many climbing plants produce unusual tendrils for grasping and climbing. When stretched tightly, the spiral-shaped fibers do not unwind to a flat ribbon like a typical spring shape such as a telephone cord. Instead, when stretched, sections of the fiber coil further in two opposite directions, tightening and strengthening the fiber.  This allows the plant to pull itself upward toward sunlight by grasping onto a branch or trellis.


Technical application:

machinery, robotics, and biomedicine

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Dog inspired drying machines

dogshakingPerhaps you have stood near a wet dog as it dries by shaking its fur. Watch out! An impressive amount of water is thrown off in all directions. The shaking technique for furry creatures including mice, dogs, and bears is studied by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. They find that larger animals tend to move their bodies at a frequency of 4-5 shakes per second. Mice and rats move more rapidly, up to 27 shakes per second. Whatever the size, each creature begins the shaking process with its head and then the process moves along the body. Mathematical formulas have been established for the animal shaking process based on size, nature of the fur, water surface tension, and other variables. The animals apparently know these technical details by instinct.

Technical application:

drying machines

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