One of my Madagascar Giant Day Geckos (Phelsuma madagascariensis grandis) laid eggs overnight and started off the breeding season 2013 for my reptile collection (in case you didn't know, I like reptiles and have a few of them). Day Geckos have a fascinating mechanism of egg laying! They usually lay in clutches of two and their eggs are calcified. However when the eggs first are laid they are soft and pliable because the egg hasn't hardened yet. These Geckos live up in trees and lay one egg a time into their hind feet and then roll the egg to give it its round shape, after which they attach it to something, usually hiding the egg in a sheltered place.
Not necessarily a new biomimetic hot topic, but what if we could utilize artificially created calcium eggs? Think of Jurassic Park (Big Reptiles!!!), though unless you read the book you won't get my reference (the movie sucks, sorry)
In a follow up to last weeks blog post about the pioneering utilization of 3D printers I would like to share this story from WIRED.com. If you would like to read more about how somebody might end up with this amazing 3D printable material called Osteofab™, starting from CT scans all the way through manufacturing, follow this link here.
All you Trekkies out there...replicators are finally here. Well, at least the earliest prototype! If you are unfamiliar what a replicator is in the Star Trek universe, essentially it generates almost anything you desire out of thin air (Essentially reconstituting atoms and what not, you get the drift).
Anyways, I'm talking about 3D printers. In recent years 3D printing technology has skyrocketed to the point of where we are considering sending 3D printers onto the moon to build moon bases out of moon dust. The applications of this new technology is so diverse that anything from manufacturing cars, customized parts for machines, toys,and etc is possible!
For scientists, 3D printing allows for cost efficient and relatively fast assembly of complex 3D structures which can be used in a wide array of research (ex. prosthetic research). Using traditional assembly methods, something as complex as the prosthetic limb on the left would have taken a long time. Depending on what material is used in the 3D printer, the material properties could be altered to mimic biomaterials of all sorts (cartilage, bone, etc).
Which brings me back to Biomimetics!
Discovery.com reported on the 23rd of February about some cool research performed at Brown University. Scientists at the Breuer and Swartz Labs used 3D printers to build a robotic bat-wing, directly mimicking the wing of a fruit bat. This robotic model is used to study the energetics and aerodynamics of winged flight. The story states some interesting facts about the aerodynamics of wing flapping, namely that while the down-stroke generates lift, the up-stroke does not and has the opposite effect...if wings were completely stiff and didn't bend or move. Bats bend their wings in the up-stroke motion and the robotic bat wing showed a decrease of force pushing downwards by 50% if bent in the up-stroke. In the future this research could culminate in the creation of a robot which utilizes flapping wings for flight instead of static wings and propellers or jet engines for propulsion. If you would like to read up on this research, here is the link to Discovery.com's article.
Do you want a 3D printer yet? I do.
Earl Grey, hot (Mandatory Star Trek reference, and no, it can't print Earl Grey tea...yet!)
Until next time!
Welcome to my Blog on the WWW. I’m sure many of you are familiar with the show where the title for this blog came from (hint…Futurama), but I’m new to the blogosphere! This is all new to me…and NO, of course I’m not overwhelmed. I’m still trying to figure out how this blogging thing works! So be prepared and enjoy my highly opinionated entries about the newest interdisciplinary field you probably haven’t heard much about… yet (See what I did there?). I’m of course talking about B & B!
You will be getting an earful from me every week about the wonderful world of B & B, while hopefully enjoying my absurd sense of humor. I believe that a little bit of humor goes a long way of making anything scientific more interesting and hopefully, more enjoyable and memorable to a broad audience, no matter if you have a scientific background or not.
Let’s get back to B & B! What is it? No, it is not Bed & Breakfast. I’m talking about Biomimetics and Bioinspiration! Biomimetics might sound odd to you, but Bioinspiration sounds just like what it is: seeking inspiration from biology, or nature! Biomimetics is slightly different, as we seek to mimic, or copy something we see in nature. Biologist and Engineers have come together in this brand new field to work together to improve existing designs or to come up with something completely new!
Before I sign off for the day, I will give you one example of B & B which you use daily, but had no idea that this particular design was borrowed (or stolen) from Mother Nature. I riddle you this: What do reflectors (ex. Like reflectors on the road which divide the lanes) and the tapetum lucidum have in common? Well, one was inspired from the other. The tapetum lucidum is a reflective layer of guanine crystals in the eye of many vertebrates. A mate by the name of Percy Shaw was inspired by reflective cat eyes to engineer these reflectors for the road in the 1930s. So perhaps next time when you hang out with your pets, who knows, maybe you will come up with a new and revolutionary design. Be creative!
Until next time!