This is a microscopic image of a porcupine quill. Harvard medical researcher Jeffrey Karp and his colleagues are studying the quills to determine whether they might inspire a new design in hypodermic needles. According to their paper published today in PNAS, the barbs on the quill enable it to slide in smoothly but keep it in place, characteristics that would be useful in, say, an IV drip. (Smithsonian)
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.