Top, a schematic shows the design of the liquid-infused dynamic material. The bottom two photographs show the dry and lubricated elastic substrates. (Source: Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering)
This is fascinating stuff and is sure to bring countless number of uses. Having an open-air event and being able to control the air flow is quite handy. A good air flow when its sunny and a resistive material when its raining, and being able to do this any time at will is just magical.
Yes, this is definitely something that it's probably better to watch it in action to understand its impact. My Internet was wobbly yesterday when I tried to view the video. I'll give it a go again today and I'm sure I also will be impressed!
This stuff seems quite strange to me. It almost looks like an organic material like a "skin" of some sort. I expect the real challenge will be to mechanically manipulate large, industrial-size bits of the material to get the desired effect. I found myself wondering if there are any systems in nature that emulate this effect?
Scott, that's an interesting question. The biological inspiration for this material system was human tears on the surface of the eye. As the press release says, "The new material was inspired by dynamic, self-restoring systems in Nature, such as the liquid film that coats your eyes. Individual tears join up to form a dynamic liquid film with an obviously significant optical function that maintains clarity, while keeping the eye moist, protecting it against dust and bacteria, and helping to transport away any wastes..." http://wyss.harvard.edu/viewpressrelease/109/
Hmm. Seems like a bit of a stretch to me. The eyelid is a mechanical liquid dispersal system, it's not changing the physical surface of the eyeball in order to change the flow of liquid. Still, it's a unique bit of research and sometimes these find valuable uses down the line.
It would seem the material could be adapted for use in shoes as a better means of traction when traversing on inclines. More pressure on the down step could potentially stretch the material giving it better grip.
Cabe, that's another clever observation: sounds like an intriguing application for this material, assuming it has enough adhesion to take all that weight (instead of just the weight of the liquid). If it does, hiking boots would be a good app. I've scrambled down too many scree-filled hillsides, managing to not fall over by walking like a crab and using a stick. Better gripping shoes would have helped.
Well not exactly, far911. There's no self-learning here. The adaptability is not inherent in the system itself, once designed and created, but in the material's design. Engineers can use different materials that respond to different stimuli for different effects, as the article states.
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The first photos made with a 3D-printed telescope are here and they're not as fuzzy as you might expect. A team from the University of Sheffield beat NASA to the goal. The photos of the Moon were made with a reflecting telescope that cost the research team £100 to make (about $161 US).
The increased adoption of wireless technology for mission-critical applications has revved up the global market for dynamic electronic general purpose (GP) test equipment. As the link between cloud networks and devices -- smartphones, tablets, and notebooks -- results in more complex devices under test, the demand for radio frequency test equipment is starting to intensify.
Much of the research on lithium-ion batteries is focused on how to make the batteries charge more quickly and last longer than they currently do, work that would significantly improve the experience of mobile device users, as well EV and hybrid car drivers. Researchers in Singapore have come up with what seems like the best solution so far -- a battery that can recharge itself in mere minutes and has a potential lifespan of 20 years.
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