Category Archives: local properties

ultra-small lab equipment based on Bladderworts roots

Bladderwort1 Bladderwort2One of the smallest traps in the world is inspiring physicists in studies of fluids. Bladderworts are a type of plant that grows in standing water or wet soil, and sometimes in very rough conditions. A unique aspect of this plant is its underwater roots which include many microscopic bladder-like traps. The trap looks like a small bubble and is covered with tiny hairs and “trap-doors.” The plants capture tadpoles, protozoa, or even water fleas, depending upon the species. When the unsuspecting victim approaches the trap-door, it suddenly opens, sucks in the creature, and then shuts again, all in less than one-thousandth of a second. Bladderworts are among the smallest carnivorous plants in the world.

Technical application:

ultra thin pipettes

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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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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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Miracle Tree helps to get clean Water for a cheap price

Moringa_oleifera_drumstick_fruitIn today’s world more than one billion people lack access to clean drinking water. This leads to untold suffering and death from dysentery, typhoid, and other diseases associated with contaminated water sources. Children are especially victims of unsafe water. One solution to this serious problem comes from a tree which grows worldwide in both tropical and arid areas worldwide, called the miracle tree.

Technical application:

water filters

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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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Ice-free roads caused by sugar?

beet.jpg.w180h141 salzlorrySugar beets provide 30 percent of the world’s sugar. At refineries, the sugar is extracted and a liquid residue remains. In the upper Midwest, it was noticed that this residue, placed in holding ponds, did not freeze under wintry conditions. Chemical studies reveal a natural antifreeze chemical in the beets. This design feature protects the growing beets themselves from the cold, and also caught the attention of highway crews.

Technical application:

ice-free roads

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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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beaver teeths for sharp cutting-tools

beaver.jpgGerman engineers have applied the tooth sharpening ability of rodents to cutting tools.

Beavers, rats, rabbits and similar rodents depend on their teeth for survival. They are experts at gnawing, and their teeth are designed with a self-sharpening ability. Unlike our own, roSaw_bladedent teeth are covered with enamel on only the front side. Softer dentine is exposed on the back of the front teeth. As the rodent chews and wears down its teeth, it alternates grinding its lower incisors against either the front or the back of the upper incisors. As a result, the hard enamel slowly wears down the softer dentine and the teeth remain sharp. The teeth also continue to grow from the root, maintaining their length. The animals must continue to gnaw or their teeth will outgrow their mouth.

Technical application:

self shaping tools

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dandelion roots as substitute for common rubber

löwenzahn Continental has at the Commercial Vehicle IAA his future version of the tire presents: Sustainable, and especially less dependent on price fluctuations than the usual natural rubber, is the tire manufacturer on the commodity dandelion. On Tuescontinental_tireday the first test tire rubber from dandelions was presented.

Technical application:

substitute rubber products

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