Friday, February 26, 2016

From Mother Nature

Due to the increase in the production of bio-inspired and biomimetic products, the collaboration between engineers and biologist has become very important. However, in the academic world these relationship are not very strong due to the inconsistency to how engineer, biologist and industrial designers see these different terms and the accuracy of the role that biologist, in particular, play in the design of these products. However, scientist overcome these differences and work together to help people. Engineers and biologist work together to create bio-inspired materials/products that will help people that for instance have lost a limb and/or are disable in any way. These robotic models allow the scientists to compare different designs with living organisms and test the role of morphological features under controlled conditions and seeing the effects before using it for the public.

The reason for creating these biologically inspired models are either problem based, or solution based. Problem based being design with the objective of exploring a particular problem. And solution based are uses biological and physiological process for useful application. Scientists apply the knowledge they have of an organism and they create a prototype that will complete the same task. Biological adhesives allow attachment of organisms or animals to surfaces. Bio-inspired adhesives provide solutions to contemporary engineering and biomedical adhesive requirements.

MIT researchers and colleagues have created a waterproof adhesive bandage inspired by gecko lizards that may soon join sutures and staples as a basic operating room tool for patching up surgical wounds or internal injuries. Gecko-like adhesives have been around for a while, but there have been significant challenges to adapt this technology for medical applications. For use in the body, this adhesive must be adapted to stick in a wet environment and be constructed from materials customized for medical applications. Such materials must be biocompatible, meaning they do not cause inflammation; biodegradable, they dissolve over time without producing toxins; and elastic, so that they can conform to and stretch with the body's tissues.

MIT researchers met these requirements by building their medical adhesive with a "biorubber" invented by Karp, Langer and others. Using micropatterning technology. They shaped the biorubber into different hill and valley profiles at nanoscale dimensions. After testing them on intestinal tissue taken from pigs, they selected the stickiest profile, one with pillars spaced just wide enough to grip and interlock with the underlying tissue.

Whether or not this product will successfully work with humans without causing any damages or infection is still to be determine. But using nature inspire products for medical benefits may save many lives without future problems.

Posted by Yerkely Gomez (1)


  1. As we decipher the genes behind some of natures innovations, i believe we will begin to see even more useful techniques and utilities developed from a model in nature. There is a biolab i read an article on that is attempting to use plankton that harvest light to harvest energy in a new way. Similar to solar power, the plankton sit in a water filled tube and absorb sunlight all day and produce their form of energy which is being converted to the energy we could use.

    - Chris Richard (Group 3)

  2. Daredevil is a perfect example of neuroplasticity, not because his abilities are realistic, but because we are willing to suspend our disbelief of his abilities in that The human brain has been known to "break the rules" as far as neuroplasticity goes. The brain is not fully understood because it is so complex and malleable. So in our search for answers to some of the biggest mysteries of the brain, we create superheroes like daredevil who's character models the mysticism of neuroplasticity.