After the bionic kangaroo, the robot penguin and the mechanical seagull, Festo – the German company specialized in automation – added another creature to the family: the bionic ant. These robotic insects are learning to work together, like real ants do. Maybe in the future they could clean up our offices or work in factories.
Spider silk has always been a material that amazes scientists for different applications, from electronics to re-growing bones. Add to the list of possible uses a new and exciting one: in the future, it might be possible to grow a new heart in the laboratory using spider silk.
Medical practices of the future could become much more efficient with the help of nanotechnology. During a recent experiment, an international team of scientists used nano-sized needles in order to promote production of new blood cells. If successful, this technology could be applied to the human body to repair damaged organs and nerves.
Nowadays 3D printing is increasingly used for medical purposes and body upgrades to design devices, implants, and a variety of customized prosthetics, from a 3D printed face, to a skull, and even organs.
In the future we may look at the world with new – artificial, 3D printed – eyes. Italian research studio MHOX is working on EYE, a 3D bioprinted sight augmentation. The project envisions the removal of the natural visual system and its replacement with a digitally designed 3D printed one. The original retina would be replaced by a new artificial network, able to offer enhanced vision, WiFi connection and the possibility to record video and take pictures.
Certain natural disasters such as earthquakes and Tsunamis often trap high numbers of people under unstable rubble, making search-and-rescue operations very difficult. Cyborg cockroaches might be of critical help for these disasters.
North Caroline State University carried out a study in 2012, where researchers attached electrodes to the antennae of Madagascar hissing cockroaches to steer them. Currently, the team is working on tiny backpacks attached to the back of cockroaches, to transform these critters into moving networks of sensors.
English artist Imogen Heap, with an army of artists, musicians, scientists and technologists, developed the Mi.Mu gloves: “A new and flexible approach to the control of music and visuals with intuitive human movement.”
Take a look at the video for an exclusive interview with Imogen Heap and an illustration of how the gloves work. Story via The Mi.Mu Gloves
We live in a world that is already designed! An inspiring topic about recent developments in biomimicry, American natural sciences writer Janine Benyus gave a talk on how nature influenced our future.
She provides heartening examples of ways in which nature is already playing a part in determining the products, technology and systems we build. Video via TED.
Bugs are one of the most frequently imitated living species in science. Even the word “bug” is borrowed to describe software or hardware defects, spying devices or cult automobiles, such as the Volkswagen Beetle. The latest mimicry of these fascinating creatures has been developed by Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard. Researchers Javier Fernandez and Donald Ingber are inspired by the exoskeletons of bugs in order to produce sturdy, biodegradable plastics.
Satellite images of Earth at night evoke ambiguous feelings: While on a ground level our cities appear as purely cultural artifacts, a traveler from outer space might just as well marvel at them as beautifully glowing organic fungi-like structures that sprouted on our planet. Less than a millennium ago, the Earth at night was all dark. Today it is all glowing and blossoming.
Scientists think the laws governing the structure of galaxies in outer space are the same laws underlying the growth of cities. Henry Lin and Abraham Loeb at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics have used models for showing how galaxies evolve based on matter density to propose a unifying theory for scaling laws of human populations.