Category Archives: losing material

sea anemone inspires for drug injection and medical needles

dn17985-1_300A sea anemone looks like an underwater flower with its colorful tentacles. However, this stinging “flower” must be handled with care. The tentacles are armed with tiny harpoon-like structures which can be fired outward. After they strike a passing fish, poison is pumped through an attached hollow thread to paralyze the prey. Some anemones and similar jellyfish are likewise a danger to a person who comes in contact.

Technical application:

There is wide potential application in replacing hypodermic needles in dentistry, skin anti-aging procedures, and diabetic insulin.

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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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will our lungs help to reduce carbon dioxid emissions on our planet?

lungsOur hard-working lungs clearly show intelligent planning. Within our lungs, countless tiny air sacks called alveoli exchange gases from the bloodstream, supplying fresh oxygen and removing carbon dioxide. The component membranes which allow separation and passage of the gases are about one thousand times thinner than a printed period. The total gas exchange area adds up to at least 70 time an adult’s total body surface area, or the size of a volleyball court. Specialized chemicals, especially carbonic anhydrase, help carry on the continuous gas exchange process.

Technical application:

Co2-filters

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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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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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Dromedary inspires for seawater-salt removal

DromedaryCamel.jpg.w180h221 The dromedary camel is at home in the hot Sahara Desert where temperatures can exceed 170°F (77°C). Special features of the camel’s nose allow it conserve precious moisture with each breath.

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Technical application:

seawater-salt removal, desert greening

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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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