Above is a three-millimeter long maggot launching itself into the air for a distance of up to 36 times its body length. Researchers from Duke University and their colleagues studied how these larvae of gall midges leap between plants with the greatest of ease, even rivaling some jumping insects with legs. Their research could have applications in soft robotics and adhesives. From the Journal of Experimental Biology:
They store elastic energy by forming their body into a loop and pressurizing part of their body to form a transient ‘leg’. They prevent movement during elastic loading by placing two regions covered with microstructures against each other, which likely serve as a newly described adhesive latch. Once the latch releases, the transient ‘leg’ launches the body into the air. These discoveries integrate three vibrant areas in engineering and biology – soft robotics, small, high-acceleration systems, and adhesive systems – and point toward a rich, and as-yet untapped area of biological diversity of worm-like, small, legless jumpers.
(via Scientific American)
The Perseid meteor shower peaked last night (8/13) but you’ll still be able to spot them streaking across the sky through August 24. The meteors are particles left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle. From NASA’s Perseids page: How to Observe Perseids If it’s not cloudy, pick an observing spot away from bright lights, lay on […]
Researchers at the University of Exeter say pesky seagulls at holiday vacation spots tend to be deterred somewhat from stealing your food when you just stare at them. Yep, maintaining hostile eye contact with a gull may deter them from snarfing your french fries.
Artificial tongue’s nanoscale “tastebuds” can sort real whisky from counterfeits more than 99% of the time
In Whisky tasting using a bimetallic nanoplasmonic tongue (Nanoscale/Royal Society of Chemistry), a team from U Glasgow’s School of Engineering describe their work on an “artificial tongue” lined with “tastebuds” that sense “plasmonic resonance” (the absorption of light by liquids) to produced highly detailed accounts of the profiles of Scotch whiskys, which can be used […]
Big companies take on big projects. When they do that, they need a project manager to lay out a roadmap for the entire team – and they’re typically willing to pay a big paycheck to the person who can fill those shoes. So what does it take to become a project manager? If you don’t […]
Your phone doesn’t have to be the only smart piece of tech in your pocket. We regularly take pens, lighters, and wallets for granted, but here are 10 portable items that improve on those everyday bits of gear and others just like them. TEC Accessories The Orbiter™ Pinstripe Magnetic Fidget Device Tired of that same […]
The secret’s out. Increasingly, people are relying on hemp-derived cannabidiol, or CBD, as a way to not just deal with pain but everyday stress. Admittedly, it can be hard to find a reliable source of the stuff in a still-unregulated marketplace. But here are a few top picks, a roundup of tasty (and largely natural) […]