February 2012

Monthly Archive

Geckskin – Hold 700 Pounds on a Smooth Wall

Posted by on 18 Feb 2012 | Tagged as: biomimicry

Another biomimetic innovation – this one inspired by gecko feet – edges closer to commercial reality.

The key innovation by Bartlett and colleagues was to create an integrated adhesive with a soft pad woven into a stiff fabric, which allows the pad to “drape” over a surface to maximize contact. Further, as in natural gecko feet, the skin is woven into a synthetic “tendon,” yielding a design that plays a key role in maintaining stiffness and rotational freedom, the researchers explain. Continued at http://www.umass.edu

DIY Sensors

Posted by on 17 Feb 2012 | Tagged as: biomimicry, CleanWeb, innovation, sensors

A defining feature of life is that it senses: sound, smell, touch, temperature, humidity, light, motion, vibration, orientation. Most of us carry multiple sensors with us every day inside our smartphones. Sensors that know which way you’re holding the phone and re-orient the screen image for instance. Our automobiles contain dozens of sensors that make them more efficient and safer. And in the coming decade  you’ll find sensors showing up in all sorts of places. To get a glimpse into the (very near) future check out these Kickstarter projects:

And a few additional links:

And most important – take look into how nature does sensing: http://www.asknature.org/search?category=default&query=sense.

Helicopter Rotor Blades Inspired by Whales

Posted by on 03 Feb 2012 | Tagged as: biomimicry


First an inspiration for more efficient wind power, the Tubercles on the fins of humpback whales may now inspire a new generation of helicopter rotor blades:

When looking for ways to delay the onset of stalling in helicopters, researchers at Göttingen struck gold with humpback whales – which is somewhat surprising at first glance. “These marine mammals are renowned for their great speed and acrobatic skills,” says Holger Mai from the DLR Institute of Aeroelasticity. This is due to their unusually large pectoral fins, which have characteristic bumps along the front edge. “Research has shown that these bumps cause stalling to occur significantly later underwater and increase buoyancy.” Continued at http://www.dlr.de.