Category Archives: asymmetry

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:

stabilizers

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scorpion “skin” for more abrasion resistance

ScorpionA species of North African scorpion does not mind getting sand blasted or whipped by desert winds. While other desert creatures burrow downward for protection, the scorpion scurries in the open and withstands abrasion. Studies reveal that its surface is covered with many hardened, dome-shaped bumps just a few microns in size. This armor coating deflects nearby air flow and reduces the force of wind and sand.

Technical application:

abrasion resistance

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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.

Technical application:

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Thorny Devil Lizard as Water Collector

Moloch_cc03.jpg.w300h199 moloch2.jpg.w300h160The thorny devil lizard, or thorny dragon, lives in the desert areas of central Australia. This lizard, just 4-6 inches long, looks ferocious with a body completely covered with thorny spines. Two additional large pointed scales on its head resemble curved horns.

How does this animal survive in a dry land where the temperature reaches 122⁰F (50⁰ C)?

Technical application:

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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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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.

Technical application:

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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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horestail as logarithm-chart

horestailPerhaps you recall seeing a reed-like plant growing near a pond or wetland. The plant stem has several telescoping sections which can be pulled apart and reconnected.  It is commonly called horsetail, snake grass, or puzzlegrass. Named Equisetum, this is the only living member of a family of plants that reproduce by spores instead of seeds. The horsetail is called a living fossil with similar fossils in Paleozoic rock layers dated at 100 million years old. In truth, all plants were created on Day 3 of the Creation Week just thousands of years ago.

Technical application:

logarithm chart

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inspired by a tree: bypassing problems will make complex systems more fail-safe

Vein_sceletonLook closely at many tree and plant leaves and you will see an intricate network of veins. Besides the channels branching outward from a central stem, you may also notice many smaller veins in random directions, connecting with each other in closed loops. This complex arrangement is unlike the simple outward geometry of tree branches and root systems. The structure provides protection for the leaf. Suppose there is damage from disease, insects, or wind so that a vein is broken. Nutrients and water can then take alternate paths across the leaf through adjacent veins. Even the larger, central vein of the leaf can be successfully bypassed. The multiple veins also allow for fluctuations in nutrient loads due to moisture and temperature changes. Similar loop network designs are observed in coral colonies, insect wings, and the blood vessels of our eye.

Technical application:

create safe complex systems

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Leave inspire for more flexible robots, grabbers and operation tools

Many plant blossoms open and close on a daily schedule and slowly follow the sun across the sky. Other plants display more vigorous behavior. Mimosa_pudica_leaf.jpg.w300h262The small leaves fold inward in just seconds and then slowly reopen. The active plant grows worldwide and the Latin term pudica  means shy, bashful, or shrinking. Other common names include sensitive plant or humble plant. The movement can be seen under the plant name in Wikipedia.

Technical application:

drilling applications, self healing, operations in the human body

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