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)
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?
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.
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.
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.
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