Biolocomotion: Ants “Walking” on water

As I was checking my email i found this very amazing picture of ants , and since my biomimetics class got me to think  about applications of biological phenomenons in other fields and ways to learn from it; I wondered how do these tiny little insects perform this task and in what might it be used. 

At time of flood ants have adapted a way in which they can survive . The ants bind together and form a spherical ball that floats on the water and moves on a constant motion using capillary forces. This movement also allows the formation of an angular motion that plays a role in keeping all the members of the floating colony together and prevent them from drowning .

This very fascinating and perfectly calculated motion might be used and mimicked in robotics . what do you guys think?

Work cited:

Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics . Walking on Water: Biolocomotion at the Interface.John W.M. Bush and David L. Hu

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Industrial design and biomimetics: Climbing robots based on gecko`s principle

Mark Cutkosky a mechanical engineer and his group are trying to make robots that climb smooth vertical surfaces. the group is using silicon rubber as pads on the robots feet, with applying the same principle that gecko uses to climb, directional adhesion. this bioinspirred design can be used as surveillance cameras or even small cleaning robots for building windows.

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biomimetics in industrial design: Bone tissue engineering

Bone tissue engineering

What is it: Using highly porous biodegradable matrices in the shape of the desired bone, with cells and signaling molecules (e.g., protein growth factors), then culturing and implanting the scaffolds into the defect to direct the growth of new bone.

The goal: Create bone tissue that can be used to repair skull defects (scaffolding)

The challenge: Find the perfect stiffness and porous structure that memics the bone and generates strains and stimulates the bone cells to form new bone.

The issue: Most of the bone substitute such as calcium sulphate breakdown too quickly to support bone cell attachment and  bone growth

Some of the Bio-materials suggested to use:

  1. Corals: Showed a support of osteogenic cell attachment (the process of laying down new bone material by cells ), growth and differentiation. However Coral alone can not support effective bone healing.
  2. Algae: Coralline algae deposit calcium carbonate, in the form of calcite. researches convert it to calcium phosphate .

The future direction of this field: this field of study is moving from mimicking the porous structure and collagen fiber composite chemistry of the bone in a microscale level to trying to find naturally occurring porous structures which can either be used directly as scaffolds or to provide templates for producing new biomaterials.

Work cited:

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Does it always go back to biomimicking nature?.

As we were presenting today an overall view about energy , and ways to have a more sustainable energy sources; I thought about plants. Plants harvest the sunlight and store it as a form of energy (ATP) (maybe the idea of using solar energy was inspired by plants? just a thought..). Than I thought about all the equations of photosynthesis, respiration and fermentation that  we learned about so many times; it always included energy at the end.

Photosynthesis equation: 6 CO2 + 6 H2O+ photons  C6H12O6 + 6 O2

Fermentation equation: C6H12O6 → 2C2H5OH + CO2 + Heat

Respiration equation: C6 H12 O6+ O2→ Co2+ H2O+ Heat

It seems that photosynthesis does exactly what is needed to generate energy. if there is a solution to mimicking the process in which each of these biological aspects works; and then combine them together.



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Body heat?

While discussing a final project in class about bio-mimetic solutions for energy . A classmate suggested filling our walls with mice that serve as a heating generator to the building/ apartment. we laughed all about the idea, but why not? . We can probably use some other method that is more building friendly and that can adapt to living between the walls, without actually being of harm or discomfort to the building/ habitants. Maybe this idea does not seem very realistic , but still it might be possible?.

A more real method that started getting attention is the use of human body to generate heat in apartments and offices. the company that owns Stockholm central station installed heat exchangers that allow the absorption of the heat produced by the big crowds that use the station every second. how it works? bbc video explains it better.

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Assignment 2

Part 1:

  • Habitat description :

In the middle of my backyard stands a big tree; its leaves are still refusing to fall.Birds come occasionally to visit it and stand on its branches for a while. Crickets take the green grass as their home; they start chirping whenever I decide to sleep. I sometimes enjoy seeing some of the worms struggling getting back into the soil when I pull them out of it .

Part 2:

 Function          1st organism 2nd organism  
 Packaging   bees  Corn
 Water purification trees
 Water Availability  trees  Grass
 Transportation of materials  bees  Birds
 Protection from Biota  birds  worms
 Cleaning  Rats  microbes
 Absorbing  grass trees
 Communication flows  bees birds
 Feedback systems  Trees  Birds
 Protection from abiotic factors  cricket  birds
  • Bees: are flying insects known for pollination , they perform there tasks very efficiently . they also have a great social system.

  • Trees: trees consist of many parts in which some of it have the ability to absorb water and nutrients through the soil. and photons through the leaves. it also uses negative and positive feedback systems to perform many functions.

  • Corn: is a grain that shows a high efficient type of packaging pattern.

Part 3 is on ryan’s blog.






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Water pollution is one of the issues that are facing earth. consequently, this is increasing the extinction of marine species. i think marine life needs to get more attention because it contains many secrets that we are still not aware of. it might help improving our lives by providing a great example of a community that demonstrates a high level of efficiency in living.
After the class brainstorming i notices that many of the students in the class are concerned about energy loss and recycling
This article hopefully will help with the brainstorming it is about: Microbial fuel cell produces hydrogen from wastewater without wasting energy

this video shows how marine mammals survive underwater . it is really fascinating.

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