The zebrafish lives in tropical waters and is a popular aquarium resident. This fish has clusters of hair cells spaced along its body. The hair follicles sense pressure changes and vibrations in water. This information helps the zebrafish navigate and avoid predators. The hairs are rooted in skin cells which have nerve connections with the brain. Studies show that when a hair cell is damaged, the zebrafish regenerates a replacement.
Continue reading Zebrafish hearing can inspire to heal hearing disorders at humans
A researcher at Caltech is developing new ways to power submarines and windmills using the lowly jellyfish. Jellyfish have a unique method of swimming through ocean water. Rather than using fins and flippers, they “pump” their body to produce ring-shaped pulses of water called vortex rings. These vortex rings are spinning, donut-shaped masses of water that the jellyfish uses as a launch pad to propel itself forward through the water. This type of swimming is much more efficient than pushing water backward in a single stream.
Continue reading a much more efficient impellent for submarines
Brazil’s Amazon waterways are home to the feared piranha. The razor-like teeth of these aggressive fish make quick work of most prey. However, large Arapaima fish share space with piranha, even in crowded ponds. Arapaima are one of the largest freshwater fish, reaching 300 pounds and a length of 8 feet (2.5 meters).
Piranhas have learned that the Arapaima’s armor-like protective scales cannot be overcome. These scales have a hard, mineralized shell-like surface which is anchored to underlying flexible muscle.
body construction, flexible ceramic
Continue reading airtight and flexible, the Arampaima skin
The eardrum is a marvel of engineering. As thin as tissue paper, it vibrates in response to the slightest changes in air pressure. If the eardrum surface moves inward a distance equal to the diameter of a single atom, one hundred millionth of a centimeter, a distinct sound is perceived. Clearly, a healthy eardrum is very sensitive. Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) was a professor of vocal physiology at Boston University. At this time, electronic communication was limited to the dots and dashes of Morse Code. In his research, Bell looked for ways to transmit the various frequencies or vibrations of the human voice.
Continue reading your phone, inspired by yourself
Many plant blossoms open and close on a daily schedule and slowly follow the sun across the sky. Other plants display more vigorous behavior. The 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.
drilling applications, self healing, operations in the human body
Continue reading Leave inspire for more flexible robots, grabbers and operation tools
Wind 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.
Continue reading shoals of fish will offer their secret for windfarms
The humpback whale has pronounced bumps or tubercles along the leading edge of its pectoral flippers (above left). A idealized model of the flipper (above upper right), which was tested in a wind tunnel, demonstrated that the tubercles enhanced hydrodynamic performance…
airblade, turbine, windmill
Continue reading walefin for optimized turbines