Category Archives: continuous action

Nature’s Water Filter

waterfilterThe 2003 Nobel Prize was awarded in part to Peter Agre of Johns Hopkins for his discovery, around 1990, of a membrane protein that allows water to pass through cell walls. The discovery of aquaporin solved a longtime problem in biochemistry.

Technical application:

water filters

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shoals of fish will offer their secret for windfarms

fishsoal windfarmWind turbines are the Colossus of the modern landscape, their blades sweeping circles more than a football field in diameter. Critics call them unsightly and say that the rotating blades clobber unsuspecting birds.

John Dabiri of Caltech found a solution underwater. He built an experimental wind farm — the Caltech Field Laboratory for Optimized Wind Energy (FLOWE) — in which the location of turbines relative to each other takes advantage of the air flow among them.

Technical application:

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Gecko feet for car tires

geckoUsing design principles inspired by the nanoscopic hairs on the gecko, UC Berkeley researchers and colleagues have created a novel microfiber array which has very high friction but is not “sticky”.

gecko_tire

 

Technical application:

car tires, drive on solar panels

 

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