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Biological Systems Provide Infinite Design Inspiration

first_imgIt’s not likely engineers and biologists will run out of inspiration from biology anytime soon.  The source is infinite.We start with a quote from a commentary in PNAS by Michael H. Bartl about work on “butterfly inspired photonics” that applies to all bio-inspired research.  The word “design” is key to the story:Biological systems have been an infinite reservoir of inspiration ever since humans started to develop tools and machinery. Just as early scientists and engineers attempted to mimic birds and fish in the development of flying machines and submarines, today, new technologies find their inspiration from biology, such as gecko feet, antireflective eye lenses, iridescent insects, and water-repellant surfaces. Incorporating biological systems and concepts into technological design can happen in several ways: inspiration, mimicking, and replication. In the latter, entire organisms or body parts are directly used, and their structural features are replicated into another compound. Examples include 3D photonic crystals from iridescent beetle scales or antireflective microlens arrays from insect eyes. In contrast, in bioinspiration and biomimicry, a biological function or activity—rather than the organism itself—is converted into an artificial, human-made material or device. In PNAS, England et al. report an optical micrograting array inspired by a photonic structure found in iridescently colored butterfly wings. The authors demonstrate a micrograting array that not only mimics the unique diffraction properties of the biological structure with reversed color-order sequence, but also can be designed to tune these optical properties.Here’s more news about some of the latest applications coming out of biomimetics research.  The first examples show that robotics is especially keen on biological solutions.Inchworm robot :  “Robot that moves like an inchworm could go places other robots can’t” (PhysOrg).  Made in South Korea, it’s “simple, lightweight, and quiet.”  It may be useful for “rescue and reconnaissance missions, but also as a potential material for smart structures and wearable devices.”Muscle bots : “‘Muscles’ Triggered by Electricity Could Power Tiny Robots” (Live Science). Fibers that expand and contract like muscles could lead to electronics that could automatically rewire themselves—even though the force in the  artificial material is 1,000 times weaker than the power of human muscle.Downhill gecko robots : “What Goes Up Must Come Down: Biologists at UC Riverside show that geckos alter foot orientation during downhill locomotion” (UC Riverside). No one has really figured out how geckos move downhill till these scientists studied it.  They found that the forelimbs act as brakes, the hind limbs as stabilizers.  “The research has applications in robotics, specifically in how robots can be designed to move up and down complicated surfaces.”  Incidentally, geckos on the Australasia side of the Wallace Line grow about twice as big, PhysOrg reports, but scientists as yet do not know why, other than differences in predators.Bird bots :  “Running robots of future may learn from world’s best two-legged runners: birds” (Oregon State U). “Although birds are designed primarily for flight, scientists have learned that species that predominately live on land and scurry around on the ground are also some of the most sophisticated runners of any two-legged land animals.”  They’re even better than humans at leaping over obstacles without losing their speed or focus.  “The running robots of the future are going to look a lot less robotic,” robotics expert Jonathan Hurst said. “They will be more fluid, like the biological systems in nature. We’re not necessarily trying to copy animals, but we do want to match their capabilities.”Sparkling silver fish LED reflectors :  “Mechanism behind nature’s sparkles revealed” (BBC News). The silvery colors seen in schools of sardines and herring are due to disordered arrays of nanoscopic crystals in the scales that exploit light.  This is also true in unrelated species, like beetles, butterfly wings and birds.  Dr. Nicholas Roberts likes looking at nature for ideas we  never thought of; this is why he finds science exciting.  “He added that the structures could be copied to produce highly reflective surfaces to, for example, manufacture reflectors to make LED lights more efficient.”Why sea turtles are plump : “Plump turtles swim better: First models of swimming animals” (University of Wisconsin-Madison).  Modeling a biological system often precedes application.  Engineers at U of Wisconsin were surprised to find that plump turtles swam better than lean ones.  “We can literally design animals now and ask how are they going to function, just like a car or a rocket ship,” researcher Warren Porter said.Bird feather anti-turbulence : “Feathers in flight inspire anti-turbulence technology” (RMIT University).  Inspiration from feathers has “great potential for all sizes of aircraft and could not only reduce the effects of turbulence on passengers but also reduce loads on plane wings, leading to lower fatigue and hence longer life.”Ant electronics : “Ant behavior might shed insight on problems facing electronics design” (PhysOrg). “The swarm-intelligent framework at the heart of [Michael] Hsiao’s approach [at Virginia Tech] is based on long-term research he has conducted using algorithms that simulate the methods used by ant colonies to find the most efficient route to food sources.”Beetle wing deployable structures : “Asymmetric hindwing foldings in rove beetles” (PNAS).  “Rove beetles are known to fold their wings in the most complicated and sophisticated ways that have right–left asymmetric patterns. This asymmetric folding can confer both high deployment capability and high storage efficiency, and therefore has a great deal of potential for engineering applications.”  Examples include “design possibilities for all deployable structures, from space structures to articles of daily use.”Beetle anti-counterfeit ink : “Longhorn beetle inspires ink to fight counterfeiting” (PhysOrg). The longhorn beetle can shift its color from red to black and back again.  Inspired by this feat, Chinese researchers have designed “responsive colloidal photonic crystals” into ink that would make money difficult to counterfeit.  And it’s not just for cash: designing controllable, responsive optical properties “is of great promise for developing advanced responsive … devices such as anticounterfeiting devices, multifunctional microchips, sensor arrays, or dynamic displays.”DNA cancer-fighting package : “Bio-inspired ‘nano-cocoons’ offer targeted drug delivery against cancer cells” (PhysOrg).  At U of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “Biomedical engineering researchers have developed a drug delivery system consisting of nanoscale “cocoons” made of DNA that target cancer cells and trick the cells into absorbing the cocoon before unleashing anticancer drugs.”Parakeet drones : “Bird brains may help drones fly and avoid crashing” (PhysOrg). Starlings fly in formation, but so do budgerigars or budgies (what American consumers call parakeets). “Birds have a remarkable ability to fly through complex environments with incredible speed, rarely colliding.” That inspired tests with budgies in tunnels to see how they avoided objects. The study “has the potential for helping the design of navigation and guidance systems for autonomous drones – especially when you have a flock of delivery drones” like those Google and FedEx want to use to deliver packages to customers.  The article includes the famous video clip of a peregrine falcon at high speed and a goshawk navigating rapidly and flawlessly between trees in the forest.Protein carbon capture : “Inspired by nature, scientists design protein-esque molecules to lock up carbon dioxide” (PhysOrg).  Seashells capture dissolved carbon dioxide in the water through the use of specialized proteins.  Engineers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are using rational design to make “peptoids” (highly stable protein-like molecules), then “are studying the ability of peptoids to assemble into porous materials and mimic protein membranes in filtering out desired targets, such as carbon dioxide.”A-peeling food storage : “The Elixir of Life for Produce: Reducing waste by extending the life of produce” (National Geographic).  The Apeel Corporation is taking cues from the peelings of fruits and vegetables that reduce spoilage.  Keeping produce fresh twice as long would appeal to anyone with food in the frig.  With their new products Apeel, Edipeel and Florapeel coming to market, “Who says bioengineering isn’t romantic?” the article quips.Dog bomb sniffers : “Billions Have Been Spent on Technology to Find IEDs, but Dogs Still Do It Better” (National Geographic). Here’s a nature feat that engineers have not been able to copy yet.  As you remember soldiers on Veteran’s Day, don’t forget their canine companions.  “These working dogs have saved countless soldiers’ lives—and helped prevent PTSD.”  (Note: PhysOrg reports that fruit flies are also good bomb sniffers.)These are things the “Bioneers” have a jump on (see 10/29/05).  You’re missing out because you didn’t think of it first.  But don’t be dismayed; if there is truly an “infinite reservoir of inspiration” in biological systems, you can start looking around your yard right now for a creature to learn about.  Then find out how it solved a real world problem, figure out the principles, create an invention, obtain a patent, start a company, and make a lot of money – while helping humanity.  Did Darwinism ever give you that kind of inspiration?  (Answer: no.  It inspired things like genocide and world wars.)  Design science is on a roll, improving the world.  Nowhere is the contrast between the good fruit of good science and the evil fruit of bad science more apparent than in the contrast between evolution and biomimetics.  “You will know them by their fruits” Francis Bacon said.  Guess where he got that proverb. 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South Africa’s Dungeons surf spot unleashes world class waves

first_imgSituated at the foot of the Sentinel Mountain outside Hout Bay, Western Cape, the Dungeons has for years been a popular, but challenging surfing spot for both locals and globetrotting surfing adventurers.[Monday Mind Surf] Starving for the next swell? Fill up on this sweet Dungeonsslab- https://t.co/VJS5pZUnFo pic.twitter.com/OPMRJDnC8u—Zigzag – SA Surf Mag (@Zigzagsurf) August 29,2016Voted as one of the must-surf ‘big wave’ destinations by numerous international surfing experts, the Dungeons’ distinctive giant swells are few and far between, but always worth the wait.Thisis a barreling Dungeons set!! (Found at http://t.co/33qXyKVYEL) #surf #barrel #getLifted #surfing #surfingPhoto pic.twitter.com/2bs9RtTWwu—HomeGrownClone (@homegrownclone) August27, 2014The big waves usually occur more frequently during the South African winter, generated from Southern Hemisphere ocean storms known as the Roaring Forties. This year, the pinnacle of the Dungeons’ power was on 24 August with local and international surfers, some of whom wait months on the shoreline for the big wave season, fully prepared to take on the legendary wave.The Dungeons was first ridden in 1984 by Cape Town surfers Pierre de Villiers and Peter Button. Ten years later, the advancement of surfing equipment such as lighter boards and better wetsuits allowed others to tackle this mythical Cape of Storms beast.Wave swells of over 14m due to the combination of wind conditions and the reef layouts have been recorded at Dungeons.The more common 3m to 4m waves, however, are not for the fainthearted. Sportswriter Steve Barilotti calls the Dungeons “a deadly prima donna of a wave, not to mention a favourite feeding ground for Great White (sharks)”.Upclose and knarly Dungeons later today thanks Shaun Thompson for invite going tobe great the surf is huge pic.twitter.com/siTsbTBpQk—Wayne Roberts (@WaynoRoberts) April 23,2016Sharks attacks took place in the past when surfers swam through the dark and deep channel to get to the breaks, but these days they are safely towed using jet- skis to get to where the big waves are at their best.While the sharks still pose an obstacle, it is the waves themselves that has built a legendary and deadly status.Wipe-outs are common, even amongst the most seasoned surfers. Yet if negotiated successfully, the Dungeons’ payoff is said to be indescribable. Beginning with a harrowing near-vertical take-off atop of a swell, surfers can tackle one or more churning bowl sections, with rides lasting for up to 300m before tapering off into the deep-water channel.Untitled – Dungeons – Cape Town – South Africa, 2014 © Grier Fisher @GrierF #surf #sport #fotodelgiorno pic.twitter.com/v5neKPsBdf— Fotodel Giorno (@Foto_del_Giorno) September 21, 2015Masters of the Dungeons include South Africa’s Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker and Jeremy Johnson, who spend months preparing at other locations for a single session in the Dungeons. Despite the dangers, the spot proves inescapable for surfers keen to prove their mettle.American Greg Long, widely regarded as the best big wave surfer in the world, is the only surfer in history to score a perfect 10-pointer ride on the Dungeons at the Red Bull Big Wave Africa event in 2008.Source: EWN SouthAfrica.info reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SouthAfrica.info materiallast_img read more

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Corn Harvest Cab Cam – 2016 Ohio State Nitrogen Trials

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest At the same time that farmers are taking off corn and soybean fields around the Buckeye State, researchers at The Ohio State University are working through their field trials to collect data that will assist farmers in making better operating decisions in the future. The Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins found Andrew Klopfenstein, Project Coordinator with Ohio State’s Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department, as data was being collected from a nitrogen trial in a Pickaway County corn field.last_img read more

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