Hydroceramic Walls Could Cool Buildings By Sweating Like Human Skin

Our reliance on air conditioning, however magical an innovation, has become a serious environmental burden. Which is why researchers in Barcelona designed a material they say can naturally cool rooms by about 5 degrees Celsius, using a moisture-absorbing polymer that "sweats" much like our own body. » 10/23/14 5:40pm 10/23/14 5:40pm

This Is the Closest We've Ever Come to Recreating Shark Skin

Shark skin is famously sleek and dragless, the envy of swimsuit designers. Perhaps less famous is what shark skin's oddly rough surface looks like up close: an eerie matrix of microscopic tooth-like scales. Now, scientists are 3D printing artificial shark skin in hopes of unlocking its swimming secrets. » 5/21/14 5:40pm 5/21/14 5:40pm

To Make Glass Stronger, Etch It With Microscopic Cracks

To anyone who has ever dropped a wine glass or broken a window, you might have a thing or two to learn from mollusks. A new technique inspired by natural materials such as mollusk shells or tooth enamel can make glass 200 times stronger. Weirdly enough, it works by weakening the glass with microscopic cracks. » 1/28/14 6:40pm 1/28/14 6:40pm

Future Windows Could Use a Biomimetic Vascular System to Save Energy

Windows, our source of life-giving sunlight indoors, are a menace to your electrical bill. In the summer, windows bleed cold and in the winter they ooze heat. To save energy, researchers want to give window panes a circulatory system that could pump in cool, liquid relief when they get too hot. » 7/30/13 3:39pm 7/30/13 3:39pm

How Nature Is Inspiring a New Breed of Robotic Design

Some of our greatest inventors have looked to nature for inspiration. So it's no coincidence that the earliest known designs for what would eventually become the modern airplane were all based on birds. Or why we may one day have nearly indestructible armor inspired by seahorses. This type of design, called… » 7/30/13 12:00pm 7/30/13 12:00pm

Using Super Slow Motion to Study the Biomechanics of Flight

DARPA's hummingbird drone might be terrifying, but it's pretty remarkable that we've been able to create a bot that mimics that kind of agility. Researchers at Stanford armed with high-speed cameras are studying the minutiae of bird flight frame-by-frame to see if we can't one day make these bots even nimbler. That's… » 7/03/13 11:21am 7/03/13 11:21am

Buildings Based On Human Bone Structure Could Be the Future of Cities

Biomimicry borrows design solutions from the embedded intelligence within animals' bodies—chiefly from other species. But occasionally, it also borrows from within the human body. For example, a new study from MIT suggests that buildings of the future could be built with super-strong materials based on the structure… » 6/18/13 4:11pm 6/18/13 4:11pm

Clog-Free Inkjet Printer Inspired by the Human Eye

"The eye and an ink jet nozzle have a common problem: they must not be allowed to dry while, simultaneously, they must open," explains Jae Wan Kwon, associate professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Missouri. Kwon, with the help of MU engineering doctoral student Riberet Almieda, solved the… » 7/18/12 7:40pm 7/18/12 7:40pm