EDI­TO­RIAL

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - NEWS -

Idly watch­ing a spi­der spin a very im­pres­sive web, I won­dered if arach­nids are the great­est en­gi­neers and man­u­fac­tur­ers in na­ture. So, as you do th­ese days, I Googled it and was re­minded about Biomimet­ics, the im­i­ta­tion of na­ture for the pur­pose of solv­ing com­plex hu­man prob­lems. Ex­am­ples are the study of how to turn spi­der webs – stronger by weight than steel, yet highly flex­i­ble – into bul­let­proof vests; the wrinkly skin of a prune as ba­sis for the de­sign of a Smart Mor­phable Sur­face (Smorph) that can al­ter aero­dy­namic prop­er­ties at dif­fer­ing wind speeds; and the use of metal ox­ide mi­cro­spheres based on the abil­ity of moths to col­lect as much light as pos­si­ble in their eyes. Self-re­pair­ing bridges may be the out­come of study into the in­nate abil­ity of ants to con­nect with each other’s feet at a force of 400 times their body weight to cre­ate a raft or float­ing bridge. A King­fisher’s stream­lined beak led to a nose re­design of bul­let trains, and the de­sign of wa­ter tanks, hy­dra­tion packs and fire hoses are likely to be im­proved be­cause of the study of the flow rate of uri­na­tion and the length of the ure­thra, from ele­phants to cats. Not to for­get run­ning shoes in­spired by geck­oes and ro­bots based on kan­ga­roos…

P.S. To those of you who were of­fended by my ‘preachy’ De­cem­ber edi­to­rial, I do apol­o­gise.

Jane War­wick

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.