Biomimicry
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One Big Step Closer to Synthetic Spider Silk

One Big Step Closer to Synthetic Spider Silk | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
"Spider silk properties continue to amaze and astound, the more we learn. They are lightweight, and yet one of the toughest natural materials. They are virtually invisible to the human immune system, making spider silk a natural material for medical uses. Mankind already puts the magical threads to use, in applications as varied as weaving a golden cloak from natural spider silk to making dissolving tennis shoes out of a material invented while trying to mimic spider silk. But it could get much better. Scientists at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have sequenced the entire genome of the golden orb spider, one of the most productive of all spiders."
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Sound-Proof Metamaterial Inspired by Spider Webs

Sound-Proof Metamaterial Inspired by Spider Webs | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Spider silk is well-known for its unusual combination of being both lightweight and extremely strong—in some cases, stronger than steel. Due to these properties, researchers have been developing spider-silk-inspired materials for potential applications such as durable yet lightweight clothing, bullet-proof vests, and parachutes. But so far, the acoustic properties of spider webs have not yet been explored. Now in a new study, a team of researchers from Italy, France and the UK has designed an acoustic metamaterial (which is a material made of periodically repeating structures) influenced by the intricate spider web architecture of the golden silk orb-weaver, also called the Nephila spider."


Photo details: An orb-weaving spider (Nephila clavipes), by Ianaré Sévi [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

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North Face's New Jacket is Made From Synthetic Spider’s Silk

North Face's New Jacket is Made From Synthetic Spider’s Silk | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Spider's silk is as strong as steel, lighter than carbon fibre and tougher than Kevlar.  Several research groups are hoping harness these remarkable properties by creating synthetic versions of the material.

Now, North Face has partnered with one of these teams to create a jacket made from a fiber named 'Qmonos' – the Japanese word for spider."

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Spider-inspired Sensor Can Detect Human Speech and Pulse

Spider-inspired Sensor Can Detect Human Speech and Pulse | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"The wandering spider boasts one of the world’s most sensitive vibration detectors: It can pick up the slightest rustling of a leaf from several meters away. Now, scientists have developed similar sensors that can detect simple human speech. The technology could lead to wearable electronics for speech recognition, health monitoring, and more."

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Scientist Develops Cartwheeling Moroccan Spider-inspired Robot for Mars Mission

Scientist Develops Cartwheeling Moroccan Spider-inspired Robot for Mars Mission | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
Robot intended for rough terrain, like that on Mars, takes inspiration from a cartwheeling desert-dwelling spider. Dubbed Tabbot, the robot can walk or roll over the surface.
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Look out! Here Comes the Spider Web! Behind the Quest to Recreate This Powerful Silk.

Look out! Here Comes the Spider Web! Behind the Quest to Recreate This Powerful Silk. | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"A Japanese startup called Spiber said it has produced an artificial spider thread that it claims is equal to steel in tensile strength yet as flexible as rubber."

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Spider Webs Offer Biomimetic Inspiration for Dew Catchers in Developing Countries

Spider Webs Offer Biomimetic Inspiration for Dew Catchers in Developing Countries | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
With the help of a scanning electron microscope, Chinese scientists have figured out the secret architecture to spiders' webs that make them incredibly effective at catching dew.
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Scientists Create Biodegradable Computer Chips from Spider Silk!

Scientists Create Biodegradable Computer Chips from Spider Silk! | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

Spiders are capable of some amazing things – not the least of which is weaving strong-as-steel webs from silk. Now, scientists at the Institut de Physique de Rennes in France have found a way to incorporate this amazing material into biodegradable computer chips. Some say that this unprecedented combination of natural materials and advanced technology could yield medical devices that can be implanted safely and then remain in the body indefinitely.

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Bird-friendly Glass Makes UK Debut

Bird-friendly Glass Makes UK Debut | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

Glass manufacturer looks to biomimicry for design inspiration. A lookout tower in Lindisfarne is the first UK building to use a new glazing designed to save the lives of birds. Each year millions of birds die by crashing into glazed buildings but Ornilux – a new glazing developed by German manufacturer Arnold Glas – is intended to make the lookout tower and visitor centre at Lindisfarne bird-friendly.

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Robot Spider Will Find You After A Disaster

Robot Spider Will Find You After A Disaster | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"After a disaster, this robotic spider can shuffle into tight spaces for assessing damage or for search & rescue."

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Spider Silk: Nature's Bio-superlens

Spider Silk: Nature's Bio-superlens | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Extending the limit of the classical microscope's resolution has been the holy grail of microscopy for over a century. Physical laws of light make it impossible to view objects smaller than 200nm – the smallest size of bacteria – using a normal microscope alone. However, superlenses that enable us to see beyond the current magnification have been the goal since the turn of the millennium.
After a team at Bangor University's School of Electronic Engineering used a nanobead-derived superlens to break the perceived resolution barrier, the same team has achieved another world first. The team, led by Dr Zengbo Wang, and in colloboration with Professor Fritz Vollrath's silk group at Oxford University's Department of Zoology, has used a naturally occurring material – dragline silk of the golden web spider – as an additional superlens, applied to the surface of the material to be viewed, that provides an additional 2-3 times magnification. This is the first time that a naturally occurring biological material has been used as a superlens."

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Spider Silk Inspires Creation of ‘Liquid Wire’

Spider Silk Inspires Creation of ‘Liquid Wire’ | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
Scientists have discovered a previously unknown property of spider silk, and used it to create a remarkable new “hybrid” material. The new bio-inspired thread, which acts like both a solid and a liquid, could lead to a host of new materials and technologies.
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Good Vibrations: Spider Signal Threads Reveal Remote Sensing Design Secrets

Good Vibrations: Spider Signal Threads Reveal Remote Sensing Design Secrets | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"When you look at a spider web in the garden, one thing is often noticeably absent: the spider. This may be because it is lurking away from the web in a 'retreat', where it can monitor web vibrations through a proxy known as a signal thread. A new Oxford study published in Journal of the Royal Society Interface looks in more detail at the composition and structure of these signal threads, which spiders can use to tell whether they've caught new prey. [...] 'Learning from nature, signal threads could provide inspiration for the development of new remote sensing technologies."

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Spiders Spin Possible Solution to 'Sticky' Problems

Spiders Spin Possible Solution to 'Sticky' Problems | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Researchers at The University of Akron are again spinning inspiration from spider silk — this time to create more efficient and stronger commercial and biomedical adhesives that could, for example, potentially attach tendons to bones or bind fractures. The Akron scientists created synthetic duplicates of the super-sticky, silk “attachment discs” that spiders use to attach their webs to surfaces. These discs are created when spiders pin down an underlying thread of silk with additional threads, like stiches or staples..."

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Get Excited – Spider Silk Finally Looks Ready for Commercialization

Get Excited – Spider Silk Finally Looks Ready for Commercialization | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
Materials scientists have been eyeing spider silk as a potential supermaterial for years, but the stuff is notoriously difficult to produce in quantities. Now, recent breakthroughs in the production of synthetic spider silk could see this remarkable substance commercialized, and publicly available, sooner than expected.
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You Won't Want To Meet This 3D Printed Spiderbot Alone At Night

You Won't Want To Meet This 3D Printed Spiderbot Alone At Night | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
The creepily-lifelike T8 spiderbot from Robugtix dramatically uses bio-inspiration for it's 3D printed form and mechanics. The robot is due for release in September.
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From Spiders, a Material to Rival Kevlar

From Spiders, a Material to Rival Kevlar | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"A Japanese startup claims it has cracked the knotty problem of commercializing the production of spider thread, which, gram for gram, is stronger than nylon and even many metals. As one of nature's super-substances -- tougher than Kevlar yet significantly more elastic -- scientists have been trying to recreate it in significant quantities in labs but failed for over a decade. By using synthetic biology techniques and a new spinning technology, Spiber Inc. says it is now able to produce many hundreds of grams of synthetic spider silk protein where past efforts have produced less than a few grams over a day. One gram of the special protein produces about 9,000 meters (29,527 feet) of silk."

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Engineering Spider Silk

Engineering Spider Silk | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

Spider silk has drawn much attention from engineers in the past 20 years for its toughness and elasticity, properties which may be utilized in applications such as suspension bridge wires, bulletproof vests, and medical adhesives. There remains, however, a mystery behind the production of spider silk. Scientists are intensively studying this process in order for engineers to replicate the silk in synthetic form. 

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Spider Hairs Biomimicry for Hydrophobic Surfaces

Spider Hairs Biomimicry for Hydrophobic Surfaces | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

Engineering researchers have created what they say is a “nearly perfect hydrophobic interface” by mimicking spiders. By using plastic to reproduce the shape and patterns of the minute hairs that grow on the bodies of spiders, the researchers have created one of the most water-phobic surfaces yet.

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Bird-Friendly Glass Designed With Help From Spiders

Bird-Friendly Glass Designed With Help From Spiders | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Arnold Glas has developed Ornilux, a spider-web inspired glass that reduces bird strikes into windows by an estimated 75 percent."

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