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Engineering Materials
Video: Worm Hooks Inspire Better Bandages
5/17/2013

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The parasitic worm Pomphorhynchus laevis hooks tiny sharp barbs on its proboscis into the intestinal walls of its fish host, and then swells its proboscis to lock the needles in place.
  (Source: Sebastian Baldauf)
The parasitic worm Pomphorhynchus laevis hooks tiny sharp barbs on its proboscis into the intestinal walls of its fish host, and then swells its proboscis to lock the needles in place.
(Source: Sebastian Baldauf)

< Previous   Image 2 of 4      Next >

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CLMcDade
User Rank
Gold
Wet and dry
CLMcDade   5/17/2013 11:20:21 AM
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 Nice article Ann.  Yet another product approach inspired by nature's handiwork. 

I am curious about one thing, which is the role that moisture plays in turning the gripping ability on and off. Controlling moisture to the bandage in an organic environment seems, well, uncontrollable given sweat, blood, mucous, etc.  How do they get the bandage dry on demand so that it releases?

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Wet and dry
Ann R. Thryft   5/17/2013 12:37:21 PM
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Clinton, the mechanics aren't wet vs dry, but engorged with fluid so hooks interlock with intestinal walls/wound tissue, vs not engorged so they disconnect from same. You're right, in this environment everything is wet, so getting something dry is not possible, hence, this clever design.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Wet and dry
Cabe Atwell   5/17/2013 4:36:59 PM
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Gross!

Like a plunger with Velcro. Going to be even harder to pull off? Great...

C

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Wet and dry
Ann R. Thryft   5/23/2013 12:05:14 PM
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Cabe, good analogy of a plunger with Velcro. it's only hard to pull off while the hooks are engorged with fluid. And I agree--it's gross! But that's part of the fun.



Cabe Atwell
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Blogger
Re: Wet and dry
Cabe Atwell   5/30/2013 12:12:53 AM
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Reminds me of Cyberpunk type "wetware" medical tech. Next step, interfacing the bandage with the user's nervous system.

C

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: Wet and dry
Ann R. Thryft   5/30/2013 12:55:11 PM
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I've read some of the same cyberpunk sci-fi, Cabe. The nervous system interface would be both wild and appropriate technology for this application.



Cabe Atwell
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Blogger
Re: Wet and dry
Cabe Atwell   6/10/2013 7:53:46 PM
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In all seriousness, EEG connections could benefit from piercing the skin.

C

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Wet and dry
Ann R. Thryft   6/11/2013 12:45:14 PM
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I agree, and very good point. Not just EEG, but other types of diagnostics as well.

Cabe Atwell
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Blogger
Re: Wet and dry
Cabe Atwell   6/11/2013 4:16:56 PM
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After watching the video again, it looks like the "swellable" needles may hurt.

What is the depth they take?

C

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: Wet and dry
Ann R. Thryft   6/11/2013 8:24:55 PM
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Cabe, can you rephrase the question? What depth are you asking about?

Charles Murray
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Re: Wet and dry
Charles Murray   5/17/2013 6:22:11 PM
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Ann, I'm curious whether the hooked patch would cause pain for a patient.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Wet and dry
Ann R. Thryft   5/23/2013 12:06:29 PM
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Chuck, I know it seems counterintuitive, but the tiny plastic hooks are so small and flexible/soft that they're supposed to be painless. The whole point of the device is adhering to wounds while not causing pain and then being easy to take off when not engorged with fluid.



Cadman-LT
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Wet and dry
Cadman-LT   5/18/2013 12:46:25 AM
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Ann, I am with Cabe...gross....that kinda stuff just creeps me out!

far911
User Rank
Silver
Re: Wet and dry
far911   5/19/2013 8:56:35 AM
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Using germs to kill germs? Sounds pretty ironic. I doubt many people would be willing to use this.

Rob Spiegel
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Both Cool and Gross
Rob Spiegel   5/17/2013 11:58:27 AM
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Wow. They have to look pretty hard for examples in nature to find this parasite's ability to hook onto fish intestines. Fascinating story, Ann. By the way, I recently found out that a hearty 60 percent of species on earth are parasitic, while only 40 percent are non-parasitic. 

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Hooks inspire better bandages.
William K.   5/20/2013 9:48:12 PM
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This product shows once again that we can learn from nature. The challenge is knowing enough to understand where to look.

 

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