Issues with Genetic Control of Insects

•December 6, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Recently I presented on Biocontrol of weeds. On the other side of things, biocoporations, such as Monsanto, work to create genetically modified plants that can produce toxins, protecting them from many pests. In the same way that biocontrol can lead to rapid evolution, this same thing can occur with GMC.

Check out this Article by NPR, Insect Finds Crack In Biotech Corn’s Armor


Carbonic Anhydrase Production

•December 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

O-chem taught me something interesting! In the human body, the enzyme Carbonic Anhydrase rapidly converts carbon dioxide and water to bicarbonate and protons. This is done to remove carbon dioxide from the blood stream, maintaining a healthy pH. Furthermore, this process allows for the removal of carbon dioxide from tissues.

Researchers are working to synthesize this enzyme for commercial use in factories. The goal is to produce a version of Carbonic Anhydrase that can be used in factories to convert carbon dioxide from factories into bicarbonates that can be successful disposed of, reducing greenhouse gases. The biggest obstacle that needs to be overcome is heat resistance. Carbonic Anhydrase denatures at high temperatures, such as the heated environment of a factory output.

Salamanders, Caterpillars, and the Wheel….

•November 15, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Bryozoan and Nakagin Capsule Hotel

•November 6, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So in class the other day we discussed the Nakagin Capsule Hotel. I could not help but draw comparisons between this building and Bryozoans. Individuals form large colonies. What most interesting about these colonies is that when individuals are added to they colony, they become specialize. Some zooids are responsible for feeding, while others are utilized for reproduction and protection. All of the individual Bryozoa link their nervous systems together, allowing them to feed as a group. This form of electrical interconnectedness is an interesting blueprint for such this as module building construction or small robotics.

Philodendron Curling

•November 6, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So this is something I have seen thousands of time, but never through the lens of biomimetics. Philodendron, a very popular houseplant, produces leaves in a very interesting way. Newly developing leaves grow along the stem of the previous leaf. The small leaves are encased in a small layer of tissue. The leaf develops curled inside this housing. As it grows, the leaf begins to uncurl and emerge. It is a very interesting example of how nature finds very effective means of packaging. It would be interesting to see how this means of folding relates to the way humans roll flat materials, such as sails, which need to be rolled in a very specific way to enable efficient unfurling.

Biomimetics In Industrial Design

•October 30, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Lotus Leaf Carpets- Wilhelm Barthlott and other researchers have worked to mimic the self-cleaning nature of certain leaves, such as the lotus leaf, to develop materials that are ‘self-cleaning.’ One of the most fascinating, and obviously practical focuses of their research has been self-cleaning carpeting that will maintain cleanliness.

PAX Volute Pump- This amazes me. Unlike conventional centrifugal pumps, a pump designed by Susie Lee uses natural principles to move water with a pump that does not cavitate. This pump is less noisy, and consumes 20-40% less energy to operate than traditional pumps. These pumps can be used in waterways without disturbing (killing) fish as they move through them. The Volute Pump is currently being funded as a research opportunity for air conditioning, wind turbines, and marine propulsion.

CAMP Woodpecker Ax- This newly designed ax mimics the curvature of the spine of a woodpecker. The positioning of the curved handle under that head of the ax mimics natures greatest hammerer. CAMP’s new ax is more efficient and more balances than previous tools, resulting in a new Best Seller for CAMP.


•October 26, 2011 • Leave a Comment