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The Evolution of the Bioinspired Robot

The Evolution of the Bioinspired Robot | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
To build a better robot, engineers are turning to an experienced problem solver—nature.
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This Little Seahorse Will Teach Us How To Build Better Robots

This Little Seahorse Will Teach Us How To Build Better Robots | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
It’s hip to be square if you’re a seahorse—or rather, it has certain adaptive advantages. Cylindrical tails may be much more popular in the animal kingdom, but the seahorse’s bizarre square-prism tail has far better mechanical properties.
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Biomimicry Wave Energy Device Ready To Leave The Nest

Biomimicry Wave Energy Device Ready To Leave The Nest | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"A new bio-inspired method of harvesting energy from the ocean has completed its shakedown on land, and now it’s finally ready for its first real test offshore. Called bioWAVE, the wave energy device won’t be venturing too far — Port Fairy in Australia is as far as it’s going — but we can hardly contain our excitement because we’ve been waiting 7 years for this moment."

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Cockroach Robot Squeezes Through Cracks

Cockroach Robot Squeezes Through Cracks | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"While researchers hope this robot won’t be crawling around your kitchen floor, they do think a new cockroach-inspired bot will be able to slip through tiny cracks to find people buried in the rubble of collapsed buildings. Dubbed “veloci-roach,” the crawling device uses sensors and locomotion like many other bio-inspired devices. But this one flips on its side to shimmy through spaces that would normally prove too small..."

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Advanced Fog Harvesting Material Pulls 5x More Water From Thin Air

Advanced Fog Harvesting Material Pulls 5x More Water From Thin Air | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Plants and certain animals like the fog beetle can survive in very arid regions because they’ve developed ways of absorbing minute amounts of water from the atmosphere. Learning from their example allowed us to develop fog harvesting technologies—basically giant nets that trap moisture in the foggy mist, and funnel all of the tiny droplets into a container where they add up to water we can drink. In 2013, scientists at MIT created an advanced fog harvesting material that enables these giant mist catchers to generate five times more water."

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Whale Tails Can Make for Efficient Seafaring

Whale Tails Can Make for Efficient Seafaring | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) are testing a model “whale tail” that can be attached to ships. NTNU is conducting these tests in the Marintek Towing Tank in cooperation with Rolls-Royce and the British companies Seaspeed and MOST. [...] The main goal of the whale tail is to help reduce fuel use by using wave energy to help the ship move forward."

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Moths' Method Of Flying Through Dark May Help Engineers Build Tiny Flying Robots

Moths' Method Of Flying Through Dark May Help Engineers Build Tiny Flying Robots | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Hawkmoths are able see in the dark, and now, researchers know how they do it. This ability allows them to track the movements of flowers blowing in the wind, even at night, as the insects hover in the air.

Manduca sexta, roughly the size of a hummingbird, were studied by researchers using infrared cameras as they traveled between mechanical flowers. As the team varied light conditions, they also altered the speed at which the artificial flowers swayed from side to side. They then recorded how well the proboscis (feeding probe) of the insects stayed within the target flower. The moths are able to slow down their brains while seeking nectar, improving their eyesight under conditions of low visibility, the study found. While their minds are working on reduced speed, the creatures are also able to maintain rapid flapping of their wings and maintaining complex flight characteristics."

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Cuttlefish's Shifting Colors Could Be Reproduced in 'Artificial Skin'

Cuttlefish's Shifting Colors Could Be Reproduced in 'Artificial Skin' | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
The shifting colors on the skin of cuttlefish and other cephalopods could lead to bio-inspired camouflage and signalling, researchers say.
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Building Cities Like Forests: When Biomimicry Meets Urban Design

Building Cities Like Forests: When Biomimicry Meets Urban Design | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"During the last century and a half, humans have created cities that ignore natural cycles such as the weather and surrounding conditions, and have developed urban areas that have little to do with life in the natural world. The control of resources and mastery of energy sources has allowed us to become carelessly independent from our natural environment—which has led to a downward unsustainable path, currently incapable of supporting the massive population growth predicted for the world’s biggest cities. [...] Nature is holding sustainable solutions to numerous city design and development problems we are currently facing—we just have to look deeper to see where the solutions are already being applied in the natural world."

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Nature Pitched as Source of innovation in Poor Countries

Nature Pitched as Source of innovation in Poor Countries | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Scientists in developing countries should look for inspiration in their unique environments instead of trying to replicate European and US methods, a meeting at the United Kingdom’s Royal Society has heard."

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Electronic Memory May Bring Bionic Brain One Step Closer

Electronic Memory May Bring Bionic Brain One Step Closer | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Using a matrix of nano-sized memristors, researchers working at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and the University of California, Santa Barbara claim to have constructed the world’s first electronic memory cell that effectively mimics the analog process of the human brain. By storing memories as multiple threads of varying information, rather than a collection of ones and zeroes, scientists believe that this device may prove to be the first step towards creating a completely artificial, bionic brain.   Working at the MicroNano Research Facility of RMIT, the researchers believe that the breakthrough not only carries them closer to reproducing key aspects of the human brain electronically, but could also one day assist in providing effective treatments for neurological conditions – such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases – by studying such diseases outside the body using artificial brains. Eventually, even cybernetic implants could conceivably be developed from this technology."

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New Nano Materials Inspired by Bird Feathers Play with Light to Create Color

New Nano Materials Inspired by Bird Feathers Play with Light to Create Color | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Inspired by the way iridescent bird feathers play with light, scientists have created thin films of material in a wide range of pure colors — from red to green — with hues determined by physical structure rather than pigments.

Structural color arises from the interaction of light with materials that have patterns on a minute scale, which bend and reflect light to amplify some wavelengths and dampen others. Melanosomes, tiny packets of melanin found in the feathers, skin and fur of many animals, can produce structural color when packed into solid layers, as they are in the feathers of some birds. 

“We synthesized and assembled nanoparticles of a synthetic version of melanin to mimic the natural structures found in bird feathers,” said Nathan Gianneschi, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego. “We want to understand how nature uses materials like this, then to develop function that goes beyond what is possible in nature."

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Battery Research: Bionics Reduces Filling Time

Battery Research: Bionics Reduces Filling Time | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"The latest development by engineers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT, Germany) is inspired by nature. To fill the porous electrodes of lithium-ion batteries more rapidly with liquid electrolyte, they use a physico-chemical effect that also provides for transport in trees. increases the throughput of battery production and reduces investment costs." 

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Glass Sponges Hold Internal Secrets to Structural Strength

Glass Sponges Hold Internal Secrets to Structural Strength | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Scientists often look to biology for inspiration and innovation, emulating the way that nature builds to advance human engineering. Creatures of the ocean's depths are some of the most mysterious and fascinating subjects for study, due to the challenges of collecting them from very deep waters and for their unique adaptations for colonizing the sea floor. One such group is the hexactinellids, a collection of predominantly deep-sea sponges that produce elaborate skeletal systems of glass. Known as glass sponges, over the years their skeletal systems and their constituent elements (called spicules) have served as useful model systems for the design and fabrication of robust and damage tolerance."

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Snake Skin Inspired Surfaces Smash Records, Providing 40 Percent Friction Reduction

Snake Skin Inspired Surfaces Smash Records, Providing 40 Percent Friction Reduction | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Snake skin inspired surfaces smash records, providing an astonishing 40% friction reduction in tests of high performance materials. These new surfaces could improve the reliability of mechanical components in machines such as high performance cars and add grist to the mill of engineers designing a new generation of space exploration robots."

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Biomimicry Inspires Eco-friendly Performance Apparel

Biomimicry Inspires Eco-friendly Performance Apparel | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

Designers of performance apparel are looking to nature for inspiration when developing their ranges - a process, known as "biomimicry. [...] Advocates of biomimicry point ot the fact that animals, insects, plants and other living organisms have survived and adapted in dynamic environments by evolving over billion of years, and many natural adaptations have proved to be more effective than manmade solutions.""

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Shape Means Strength, From a Boeing Dreamliner to a Bone Chair

Shape Means Strength, From a Boeing Dreamliner to a Bone Chair | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"If you ride in a car or plane today, you may be the unknowing beneficiary of planet-helping biomimetic design. Designers and engineers can reduce the size or weight of many vehicle parts for greater efficiency or cost savings. This shape optimization is a major task in engineering. Making things lighter, stronger and faster long has been a goal in manufacturing, but engineers are increasingly employing biologically inspired algorithms to design many objects around you. The better integration of three methods has fostered this still-growing tide of bio-inspired design objects: biologically inspired algorithms for analysis and shape iteration, computer aided design and additive manufacturing."

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Using Saharan Silver Ants as an Inspiration for Surface Cooling Coatings

Using Saharan Silver Ants as an Inspiration for Surface Cooling Coatings | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Yu’s team is the first to demonstrate that the [Saharan silver] ants use a coat of uniquely shaped hairs to control electromagnetic waves over an extremely broad range from the solar spectrum (visible and near-infrared) to the thermal radiation spectrum (mid-infrared), and that different physical mechanisms are used in different spectral bands to realize the same biological function of reducing body temperature. [,,,] Their discovery that there is a biological solution to a thermoregulatory problem could lead to the development of novel flat optical components that exhibit optimal cooling." 

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Seashells to Deliver New Drugs and Vaccines

Seashells to Deliver New Drugs and Vaccines | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
Mimicking nature, Australian scientists have developed a protective seashell-inspired capsule to preserve the active biological ingredients needed to create promising new drugs.
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Wind Turbines With Owl Wings Could Silently Make Extra Energy

Wind Turbines With Owl Wings Could Silently Make Extra Energy | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Moving silently through the air is not just for the birds. Wind farms inspired by the stealthy flight of owls could generate more energy without annoying those who live nearby, say researchers."

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NASA Is Considering The Use Of Soft Robotic Squids To Explore Europa

NASA Is Considering The Use Of Soft Robotic Squids To Explore Europa | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"NASA has chosen its next batch of proposals under its advanced concepts program, including the use of soft-robotic rovers for exploring gas-giant moons, and autonomous robots capable of crawling, hopping, and rolling around the surface of the Moon. [...] One of the more interesting proposals calls for a soft robotic squid/eel hybrid. The device would be equipped with a short antenna on its back to draw power from changing magnetic fields. The aquatic rover could be used to explore the subsurface oceans on Europa and Enceladus."

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CoCoRo Underwater Mini-Robots School Like Fish and Share Knowledge

CoCoRo Underwater Mini-Robots School Like Fish and Share Knowledge | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
The European Union CoCoRo research consortium has been developing three varieties of autonomous underwater robots that school together like fish. By doing so, the little bots can share and learn from each others' "knowledge" of their environment, acting as a collective cognitive system.
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Maricarmen Husson's curator insight, June 11, 5:35 PM

*A partir de abril de 2011, la Unión Europea CoCoRo (Colectivo Cognitive Robots) consorcio de investigación ha desarrollado tres variedades de robots submarinos autónomos que hacen escuela juntos como peces. De esta manera, los pequeños robots pueden compartir y aprender de "conocimiento" cada otros de su entorno, actuando como un sistema cognitivo colectivo que es más inteligente que cualquiera de sus partes individuales.

Los robots se comunican entre sí a través de una función de intermitente LED, utilizando la electrónica de a bordo, como los sistemas de visión por ordenador, brújulas y acelerómetros para encontrar su camino alrededor de los ambientes acuáticos.

Utilizando un algoritmo inspirado en el comportamiento de la agrupación de las abejas (no pescados!), Pueden buscar a otros de su especie y luego asentarse juntos alrededor de una ubicación de la base central, tomando conciencia del  creciente tamaño de su grupo a medida que lleguen más robots. Entonces pueden dejar ese grupo para ir por sus propias misiones, posteriormente, volver a compartir sus hallazgos con el grupo.

En un experimento, grupos de dos tipos de los robots - "Jeff" robots y robots "Lirio" - se pusieron en una piscina para localizar un avión estrellado simulado (en realidad un grupo de imanes, que se utiliza para simular campo electro-magnético del avión) . Mientras que los robots Lily patrullaban la superficie, el Jeffs fue más profundo.

Una vez que uno de los robots Jeff situados los imanes, lo que solía sus LEDs para indicar la otra Jeffs, que respondió mediante la recopilación de alrededor de ella sobre el "restos". Los robots Lily observaron este comportamiento desde arriba, y respondieron formando un racimo en la superficie en la misma ubicación.

Los robots también se han probado en el océano abierto en Italia, donde, según informes, fueron capaces de agruparse y patrullar a pesar de las olas, las corrientes y el agua salada corrosiva.

Aunque el proyecto CoCoRo concluyó en septiembre pasado, los investigadores apenas están empezando a conocer los resultados. Se espera que la tecnología podría finalmente encontrar su camino en los robots acuáticos escolares autónomos utilizados para el monitoreo ecológico, reconocimiento, u otras aplicaciones.

 

Algunos de los robots puede verse en acción, en el vídeo a continuación.

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Moth Eyes, Lotus Leaf Biomimicry To Boost Solar Efficiency

Moth Eyes, Lotus Leaf Biomimicry To Boost Solar Efficiency | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

The atomic structure of a moth’s eye and lotus leaves have inspired scientists to create a new glass coating that could increase the efficiency of solar panels by up to six per cent. “While lotus leaves repel water and self-clean when it rains, a moth’s eyes are antireflective because of naturally covered tapered nanostructures where the refractive index gradually increases as light travels to the moth’s cornea,” said Tolga Aytug, member of ORNL’s Materials Chemistry Group. “Combined, these features provide truly game-changing ability to design coatings for specific properties and performance.”"

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Robotic Arm Inspired by Octopus Tentacles Aimed at Helping Surgeons

Robotic Arm Inspired by Octopus Tentacles Aimed at Helping Surgeons | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Surgeries might be easier and safer due to a new invention by researchers from the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies in Italy, a robotic arm that was inspired by tentacles of an octopus. 

The robotic arm device moves by using its inflatable chambers, imitating the natural motion of an octopus twisting and elongating its tentacles in any direction it desires."

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A Robotic "Hand" Based on the Chameleon's Tongue

A Robotic "Hand" Based on the Chameleon's Tongue | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
Mechanical robot grippers are designed to grasp specific shapes. This is perfect for assembly lines, where every object is the same. But what if a more flexible solution were required? Think of a conveyor belt covered with random junk that needed to be sorted for recycling:

Imagine a robot hand that needs to pick up a can, a glass dish, a plastic bottle cap, a paper clip, et cetera, all on the fly.

 

Enter the FlexShapeGripper, which eschews metal claws for a silicone bag filled with fluid [...] Fascinatingly, the FlexShapeGripper was inspired by a lizard: the chameleon is able to catch a variety of different insects by putting its tongue over the respective prey and securely enclosing it. The FlexShapeGripper uses this principle to grip the widest range of objects in a form-fitting manner. Using its elastic silicone cap, it can even pick up several objects in a single gripping process and put them down together, without the need for a manual conversion." 

Miguel Prazeres's insight:

Check out the accompanying video.

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Low-reflection Wings Make Butterflies Nearly Invisible

Low-reflection Wings Make Butterflies Nearly Invisible | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"The effect is known from the smart phone: Sun is reflected by the display and hardly anything can be seen. In contrast to this, the glasswing butterfly hardly reflects any light in spite of its transparent wings. As a result, it is difficult for predatory birds to track the butterfly during the flight. Researchers of KIT under the direction of Hendrik Hölscher found that irregular nanostructures on the surface of the butterfly wing cause the low reflection. In theoretical experiments, they succeeded in reproducing the effect that opens up fascinating application options, e.g. for displays of mobile phones or laptops."

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