Case Wester Reserver University researchers are developing a new plastic inspired by sea cucumber skin that could lead to safer brain implants or even clothing that hardens into armor with the flick of a switch. Sea cucumbers have skin that can switch between soft and rigid in seconds thanks to enzymes that bind the proteins fiber, and others that cause those binds to release. The new material is triggered by water but doesn't soak up the liquid like sponges or cardboard. From New Scientist:
"We have the elastic polymer, so that's the mimic for the sea cucumber skin, and then we put in the cellulose whiskers," (Stuart) Rowan says. "You can get these from paper pulp, but we got ours from another little sea creature called a tunicate."
When dry, the cellulose fibres keep the material rigid by forming a scaffold held together by hydrogen bonds. But water molecules are better at forming such bonds, so when wet, the fibres lose their grip on one another and bond to the water molecules instead...
The rigid material could easily be inserted into brain tissue, before softening into its floppy state. That would reduce the problems with inflammation solid electrodes can cause.
Rowan says they're now working on versions of the material that switch stiffness in response to a pulse of electricity.
Today a future without schools. Instead of gathering students into a room and teaching them, everybody learns on their own time, on tablets and guided by artificial intelligence. Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon | RedditIn this episode we talk to a computer scientist who developed an artificially […]
Where are our petabyte drives? Brian Hayes takes us through the reasons storage is “stuck” in the low terabytes. The tl;dr is that we got such exceptional capacity growth in the late 90s and early 00s we don’t need much more right now, so the focus since then has been on SSDs, networking, interfaces, etc, […]
Amélie Lamont, a former staffer at website-hosting startup Squarespace, writes that she often found herself disregarded and disrespected by her colleagues. One comment in particular, though, set her reeling — and came to exemplify her experiences there.
Looks like all of your potential employers are hiring candidates with programming skills (which you don’t have). With all of the languages out there today, it’s tough to know where to start.With the Complete Front-End to Back-End Coding Bundle, you can beef your resume up in all the right places, no confusion necessary. This package of […]
Those of us who love music wish we could listen to it 24/7. But it’s impossible when we’re trying to converse with our friends, or when are swimming in the local pool.That is, until now. The KOAR Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headset, now 48% off, has changed the audio game.Made with lightweight titanium memory metal, this headset boasts patented bone conduction technology to transport sound […]
It’s one thing to enjoy dinner at home and a nice glass of Cabernet Sauvignon with your best friend, Netflix, but it’s another thing entirely to make that meal from scratch and get that wine delivered right to your doorstep.But what if we told you there’s a way to make this possible? To keep your social life, […]