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The Lie: Evolution


Thank God for Insects (Benefits of Bugs)

Compiled by Karl C. Priest January 11, 2009


Insects are incredible and inspirational. All arthropods are awesome. Spiders are super. Worms are wonderful. There are many miracles for you to monitor if you ditch Darwinism and seize science.

There is a tiny parasite insect that takes the life out of evolutionism. See the section about Xenos peckii, at the bottom.


Go straight to the most recent item (unless it is under beetles)

Biomimetics: Design by Nature

biomimetics—applying designs from nature to solve problems in engineering, materials science, medicine, and other fields.

Entries about biomimicry (from bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate) is a new discipline that studies nature's best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems.] contain comments that fit BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA!, Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation, and Helping Evolutionists Get It Right. When mankind tries to understand and copy the works of the Creator he cannot avoid using words that make him unwillingly and perhaps unknowingly) identify themselves as being fools: The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. (Psalms 14:1a KJB) For it surely is a “heart” not a “head” matter. Karl)

Insects offer an embarrassment of design riches. (emphasis added) Glowworms produce a cool light with almost zero energy loss (a normal incandescent bulb wastes 98 percent of its energy as heat), and bombardier beetles have a high-efficiency combustion chamber in their posterior that shoots boiling-hot chemicals at would-be predators. The Melanophila beetle, which lays its eggs in freshly burned wood, has evolved (Karl’s comment: Bunk! Leave out “evolved” and you remove the propaganda and it changes nothing about the FACTS.) a structure that can detect the precise infrared radiation produced by a forest fire, allowing it to sense a blaze a hundred kilometers away. This talent is currently being explored by the United States Air Force. (

Note: There is likely an abundance of examples of amazing insects of which I am unaware.

There are several examples in my article "Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation" and some may be duplicated in that article and this one. (Please let me know of any duplicates below.)

Insects are, in my opinion, God’s choice to demonstrate His omnipotent artistic and engineering abilities. Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo refers to God’s creation as a demonstration of “vast originality”. Dr. Mastropaolo points out that, “All reproduced organisms are never identical. Even identical twins are not identical.” My presentation (Insects: Incredible and Inspirational) reveals some of the incomprehensible fantastic facts about insects that are not on this webpage. Also, the presentation, discloses the importance of insects to the survival of all forms of life (including humans) on the earth.

What about the pesky, dirty fly? There are more similarities between humans and fruit flies than you might first think. We share about 60 per cent of our genes with them* - and scientists at Cambridge University are taking a close look at the insects to see if new things can be learned about our own bodies. (

Separate pages are provided for FLIES, BEETLES, and ANTS.

Below, in no particular order (new ones added after the Importance of Insects section), are facts (from real science**) that overwhelming support the statement that we should “Thank God for Insects”.

“Vast originality represents a vast intelligence, not evolution, because endless originality requires infinite wisdom for the most difficult of intellectual tasks.” (Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo)


Someone asked me if there was any insect that was put here just to torment mankind. Although some insects (mosquitoes and roaches, for example) are great pests (dangerous in the case of mosquitoes) they all have a part in the balance of creation. Roaches recycle and mosquitoes pollinate and are part of the food chain. My questioner asked about bedbugs.

I am not sure what bedbugs did in the original perfect creation that God called “good.” However, bedbugs have some benefits.

Pedanius Dioscorides a famous Greek physician, botanist, pharmacologist and surgeon attributed at least 11 medicinal virtues to bed bugs! Such as applying bed bugs mixed with tortoise blood to wounds. She also wrote that In Chinese medicine, the 1789 book entitled “Recipes for Restoring Life” and the 1590 book “A system of Pharmacopoeia” called for the following bed bug concoctions:

“Bedbugs used for the treatment of lip-turning furuncle. Pound seven bedbugs thoroughly with some cooked rice and apply the paste on the lesion. It will effect a quick cure.”

“For Stinking and gangrenous ulcers, pound some bedbugs with Shui Lung Ku ( a mixture of oil and lime used for filling cracks in a boat), mix with sesame oil and apply locally.

“In case of chronic ulceration with a gaping wound, apply locally some bedbugs, the heads of which should be removed.”

Bugs in the System: Insects and Their Impact on Human Affairs by May R. Berenbaum, 1996 by Addison Wesley, Cambridge, MA

From an August 2011 article I found:

The advantage of studying bed bugs, he said, is that we share many components of our immune system. As a result, scientists can learn much from manipulating the bugs' sex lives to study the consequences on lifespan and offspring production - some of these trade-offs could be relevant to humans.

Note: Bedbugs are basically harmless, but an infestation is irritating. They were under control until liberals banned ertain insecticides.

What about termites and roaches? See below, and say, “Praise God for those critters!”


Importance of Insects

Without insects, our lives would be vastly different. Insects pollinate many of our fruits, flowers, and vegetables. We would not have much of the produce that we enjoy and rely on without the pollinating services of insects, not to mention honey, beeswax, silk, and other useful products that insects provide…Insects are very important as primary or secondary decomposers. Without insects to help break down and dispose of wastes, dead animals and plants would accumulate in our environment and it would be messy indeed…They are the sole food source for many amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Insects themselves are harvested and eaten by people in some cultures. They are a rich source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, and are prized as delicacies in many third-world countries. In fact, it is difficult to find an insect that is not eaten in one form or another by people…And insects make our world much more interesting. ( Insects perform a vast number of important functions in our ecosystem. They aerate the soil…Burrowing bugs such as ants and beetles dig tunnels that provide channels for water, benefiting plants.


Dragonflies use vision, subtle wing control to straighten up and fly right

(Dragonflies) are an early innovator of aerial flight. (BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA!) Now, a group led by Jane Wang, professor of mechanical engineering and physics in the College of Arts and Sciences, has untangled the intricate physics and neural controls that enable dragonflies to right themselves while they're falling…"Insects are the most abundant species and were the first to discover aerial flight.” (BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA!). The combination of kinematic analysis, physical modeling and 3D flight simulations now gives researchers a noninvasive way to infer the crucial connections between an animal's observed behaviors and the internal procedures that control them. These insights can also be used by engineers looking to improve the performance of small flying machines and robots. "Flight control on the timescale of tens or hundreds of milliseconds is difficult to engineer.”
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

Butterflies point to micro machines

Tiny machines that fly like insects will soon be a reality. That is the confident prediction of scientists who have just studied the remarkable aerobatics of the butterfly…The results of the experiments, they say, represent a major advance in our understanding of flight mechanics on the small scale, and will be invaluable to engineers trying to build "micro air vehicles"…."They would make an entertaining toy but if you put a camera on them then the [security agencies] could send them into small spaces such as caves to see what was going on."…Dr Thomas has spent 12 years studying insect aerodynamics. The wind tunnel used in the butterfly experiments took three years to construct and fine tune…"The fluttering of butterflies is not a random, erratic wandering, but results from the mastery of a wide array of aerodynamic mechanisms,"…It is known that insect wings produce 10 times the amount of lift achieved by aircraft wings (per unit of area)…Building tiny planes that were just scaled-down versions of the real thing would never get off the ground…It is only by mimicking the insect world that micro air vehicles will get airborne efficiently. And while miniaturisation experiments are progressing fast, engineers confess they still have much to learn from the animal world.

65 Million-Year-Old Evolutionary Arms Race: Moths’ Extraordinarily Sophisticated Wing Design [ Karl’s comment:Leave of the title through the colon (:) and nothing changes.]

Ultra-thin, super-absorbent and extraordinarily designed to detract attention, the wings of moths could hold the key for developing technological solutions to survive in a noisy world…. The findings could significantly bolster the efforts of material scientists, acousticians and sonar engineers to design bio-inspired sound absorbers with exceptional deep-subwavelength performance… Dr. Holderied added: “The promise is one of much thinner sound absorbers for our homes and offices, we would be getting close to a much more versatile and acceptable sound absorber ‘wallpaper’ rather than bulky absorber panels.”
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

We should be eating more insects and using their waste to grow crops, says plant ecologist

Researchers already knew that insects are an excellent source of protein for humans, but they didn't expect to learn that they have such a positive impact on plants…When added to soil, the exuviae and frass promote both plant growth and health. Insect feces are rich in nitrogen, a nutrient that is pivotal to plant growth but is scarce in most soils; therefore, it is often added to crops in synthetic fertilizer. The insect exoskeletons are rich in chitin, a polymer that is difficult for most organisms to digest.

Applying the butterfly principle

For their new technology, scientists in the group of Andrew deMello, Professor of Biochemical Engineering, drew inspiration from butterflies. The wings of the species Cynandra opis, native to tropical Africa, are decorated with brilliant colours. These are produced by extremely intricate regular surface structures in the size range of the wavelength of visible light. By deflecting light rays, these structures either amplify or cancel out individual colour components of the light. Led by deMello, the researchers have succeeded in replicating the surface structures of Cynandra opis, as well as other modified structures, using a nano-3D printing technique. In this way, they created an easy-to-use principle for the production of structures that generate structural colours…As part of the study, the scientists produced a miniature image of multi-hued structural-colour pixels measuring 2 by 2 micrometres. Such tiny images could one day be used as a security feature on banknotes and other documents. Because the colours can be produced with transparent material, it would also be possible to manufacture colour filters for optical technologies… And finally, the scientists point out that structural colours could replace the pigments used today in printing and painting. Structural colours have certain advantages over conventional pigments: they last longer because they do not fade when exposed to light, and in most cases they have a better environmental footprint.
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

Butterfly Blueprints

There are many problems that humans haven’t solved that butterflies and moths already have BWAHAHA. That is a non-science True Believer in Evolutionism statement....Their variety and beauty are testimony to the power of (evolution) Insert “the Creator, as are their countless hidden features, some visible only with the most powerful microscopes.

Today, scientists around the world are studying these natural treasures. Discovering secrets that can be adapted and applied to make our world more sustainable….As champions of evolution, they’ve been at it for tens of millions of years. BWAHAHA. That is a non-science True Believer in Evolutionism statement. Butterflies emerged around the same time as flowering plants. Throughout their long history they have diversified and developed amazing (adaptations) Insert “designs”. like powerful poisons, silk thread, stationary flight, transparent materials, temperature regulation, astonishing colors and patterns, and defenses against bacterial infections. They have so much to teach us

Researchers have been inspired by incredible nanoscopic structures in the wings and bodies of butterflies, enabling the creation of innovative technologies that may one day save lives and even help combat climate change. Butterflies and moths have many aspects of their morphology, of their physiology, that we could use for bio-inspired design, for sure. There are many things, many problems humans haven’t solved that butterflies and moths already have. BWAHAHA. That is a non-science True Believer in Evolutionism statement. The use of butterfly and moth features dates back at least 5,000 years, when the species known as Bombyx mori was first domesticated, in China, for its ability to produce a phenomenally resilient and versatile material: silk… To the scientists, silk is an incredibly versatile, environmentally friendly material. What begins as a colorless liquid, this gel-like solution, can be either flexible and soluble or as tough as Kevlar. Luciana d’Amone is exploring medical applications. Fibroin has an advantage over synthetic materials, like plastics, because it’s compatible with the human body…

The attributes, the functional attributes that silk has, that gives value to some of the application of the silk, is the fact that silk can be implanted without an inflammatory response in the human body. It can be eaten, it can be consumed. In the lab, they are finding that the fibroin material can be made to be rigid and tough or flexible, like a film, making it an ideal material as an implant in reconstructive surgery…I n liquid form, the fibroin in silk is also being combined with chemicals that react in the presence of bacteriological or viral threats. The result is an ink that can change color when exposed to dangerous substances in the environment…

It’s the morpho’s iridescent blue that intrigues Serge and other researchers the most. They want to understand how (nature) Insert “the Creator”. produces a color that looks so unnatural… The surprising new insight into structural color has inspired researchers to control light and produce color, without chemicals or paint, in all sorts of other materials…Inspired by this morpho butterfly, we can also imprint some of these tiny micro-nanostructures onto a material surface and give them very unique properties. Using an infrared laser with very short bursts of light, they are able to sculpt nano-sized structures, measured in billionths of a meter, into metals…These discoveries have the potential to revolutionize solar power. Chunlei’s team found that applying these nanostructures to a solar panel improved its efficiency by 130 percent…

Butterflies use a variety of defense mechanisms. Although some boldly wear the signs of toxicity, others prefer to pass unseen. They melt into the surrounding colors of their natural environment… This anti-reflective property is interesting for different types of applications, like smartphones, for instance. In the summer, when the sun is shining, it’s hard to read, and it would be nicer to have an anti-reflective screen. And also for solar cells, it would be interesting to have less reflection and have more collection of the solar energy…

Thanks to its nanometric structure, the morpho’s wing doesn’t just rid itself of water drops, it breaks them down into a multitude of smaller drops that flow more easily off of the surface. In his Rochester lab, Chunlei is exploring possible engineering applications for this extremely hydrophobic material. In one of his experiments, he starts by laser-etching a metallic surface with a nanoscale pattern, inspired by the morpho wing. He’s hoping to create the same water-repelling effect… Fabricating a ship’s hull using this design would have an obvious benefit, but Chunlei believes it could also help us adapt to climate change. And, as our ocean levels continue to go up in the future, a lot of cities will have to be built on top of the ocean. And if we can deploy this in simple metal for the construction of the floating city, then the city will never sink…In California, researchers work on combining transparency and the opposite of hydrophobicity, “extreme water absorption.” What’s at stake is not rising water but glaucoma, a group of eye conditions that can cause blindness. Radwanul Hasan Siddique at Caltech is working to create a tiny implant that would work inside the eye to help detect this devastating condition…

The butterfly just has to open and close its wings to regulate its temperature. In fact, it’s the master of its own temperature. Finding new ways to concentrate sunlight is important for humans, too, in the search for cheap and efficient replacements for fossil fuels. In her lab at the University of Exeter, Katie Shanks is adapting the cabbage white’s reflective nanostructures to solar panels, working to increase their output while reducing their size…

All of the butterflies and lots of other things in nature have had to do this as they’ve developed and evolved. And they’ve tweaked themselves to suit their surroundings. BWAHAHA. That is a non-science True Believer in Evolutionism statement.

In fact, some researchers believe that the silk moths have some of the most highly developed sense of smell in the living world. Males are thus able to detect a female from over six miles away, an extraordinary feat, which scientists working on the detection of explosives or toxic gases would love to harness. Valerie Keller and her team are part of a program for protecting civilian populations…We drew inspiration from them. In fact, we are trying, in fact, to do bio-inspiration by making a synthesis, in the lab, that enables us to duplicate this architecture you see in nature. Mechanically duplicating the anatomical genius of the Bombyx is not an easy task. Valerie Keller’s team is creating a forest of sensilla, via a chemical reaction on a titanium base…

We can come up with stationary detectors, but then we can go on basing them on the butterfly. That is, we can start to make the detectors fly. And the idea came to us to implant these detectors on drones, so that the military or civil security people can detect dangerous compounds. It can be war toxins or sarin gas or other extremely dangerous compounds, because when the person feels the first symptoms of gas like that, it is already too late. Drone surveillance of large urban areas could save major populations from terrorist gas attacks. The amazing evolutionary tricks BWAHAHA. That is a non-science True Believer in Evolutionism statement. of butterflies and moths are not limited to their wings, nor their antennae. Unlike many insects, they don’t have what might be recognized as a mouth.

Most of the butterflies and moths we think of have a sucking mouth part, like a proboscis, that is, kind of, coiled out like a straw. It, kind of, extends outwards, with this cranial sucking pump, and it sucks up nectar from flowers… When the butterflies probe the flower, the pollen grains start to get stuck in those grooves. The butterflies then release saliva from the tip of the proboscis and that starts to glue things together. It makes sense that the butterfly would have enzymes that are really optimized for getting into those little nooks and crannies and digesting the protein, because pollen is about 20 percent protein…By extracting this cocoonase enzyme to reproduce its dissolving properties on a large scale, Adriana hopes to alleviate potentially serious medical conditions like blood clots…

Migrating monarchs also use magnetic fields to guide their flight orientation…The evidence is in: monarchs are genetically programmed to align with the magnetic field…

Butterflies and moths are inspiring scientists and engineers to create remarkable inventions.
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that  Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation. For some laughs, see BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA!.

Peeking into a chrysalis, videos reveal growth of butterfly wing scales

MIT engineers have captured the intricate choreography of butterfly scales forming during metamorphosis…The new visualizations also could serve as a blueprint for designing new functional materials, such as iridescent windows and waterproof textiles…"Butterfly wings control many of their attributes by precisely forming the structural architecture of their wing scales," says lead author Anthony McDougal, a research assistant in MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering. "This strategy might be used, for example, to give both color and self-cleaning properties to automobiles and buildings. Now we can learn from butterflies' structural control of these complex, micro-nanostructured materials."… Researchers have tried to replicate the optical and structural properties of butterfly wings to design new solar cells and optical sensors, rain- and heat-resistant surfaces, and even paper currency patterned with iridescent encryptions to discourage counterfeiting. Knowing what processes butterflies harness to grow their scales could help to further direct this kind of bioinspired technology development.
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.


In my research at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, I study the brains of one of these larger insects, the dragonfly. I and my colleagues at Sandia, a national-security laboratory, hope to take advantage of these insects' specializations to design computing systems optimized for tasks like intercepting an incoming missile or following an odor plume. By harnessing the speed, simplicity, and efficiency of the dragonfly nervous system, we aim to design computers that perform these functions faster and at a fraction of the power that conventional systems consume…Dragonflies successfully capture up to 95 percent of the prey they pursue, eating hundreds of mosquitoes in a day.

The physical prowess of the dragonfly has certainly not gone unnoticed. For decades, U.S. agencies have experimented with using dragonfly-inspired designs for surveillance drones…

Being at Sandia, I immediately considered defense applications, such as missile defense, imagining missiles of the future with onboard systems designed to rapidly calculate interception trajectories without affecting a missile's weight or power consumption. But there are civilian applications as well. For example, the algorithms that control self-driving cars might be made more efficient, no longer requiring a trunkful of computing equipment. If a dragonfly-inspired system can perform the calculations to plot an interception trajectory, perhaps autonomous drones could use it to avoid collisions…

Dragonflies could also teach us how to implement "attention" on a computer…

The dragonfly isn't the only insect that could inform neural-inspired computer design today. Monarch butterflies migrate incredibly long distances, using some innate instinct to begin their journeys at the appropriate time of year and to head in the right direction…And what if the efficiency of insect-inspired computation is such that millions of instances of these specialized components can be run in parallel to support more powerful data processing or machine learning?...

Perhaps insects will inspire a new generation of computers that look very different from what we have today. A small army of dragonfly-interception-like algorithms could be used to control moving pieces of an amusement park ride, ensuring that individual cars do not collide (much like pilots steering their boats) even in the midst of a complicated but thrilling dance.
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.
This nonsense and non-science was in the article: “It is possible that biological dragonflies have evolved additional tools to help with the calculations needed for this prediction.”

Honeybees use social distancing to protect themselves against parasites

Honeybees increase social distancing when their hive is under threat from a parasite, finds a new study led by an international team involving researchers at UCL and the University of Sassari, Italy…"Honeybee colonies provide an ideal model for studying social distancing and for fully understanding the value and effectiveness of this behaviour."

Revealing the secrets of ground beetle wing casings

Nature provides us with thousands of examples of effective materials that have already been finely tuned to exhibit a wide range of properties from color to strength. It therefore makes sense for researchers to study real samples as inspiration for new developments rather than starting with a blank page. The eye-catching optical effects of certain species of butterfly and beetle, such as the ground beetle, are excellent examples…"Our POM observations, where we simultaneously used transmitted and reflected light, revealed a particular effect known as a Maltese cross in the inner layer of the wing casing"…"We hope that this new insight will contribute to the development of a variety of biomimetic materials with enhanced performance based on natural phenomena."
The first sentence is very worthy of BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA!  

Engineers may learn from bees for optimal honeycomb designs

Perfect hexagonal structures inspired by honeycombs in bee nests are widely used to build everything from airplane wings, boats, and cars, to skis, snowboards, packaging and acoustic dampening materials .

Moth wingtips an ‘acoustic decoy’ to thwart bat attack

Wider implications might include improved man-made anti radar and sonar decoy architectures."

Pygmy Mole Crickets Use Oar-Like Paddles to Jump Off Water's Surface

Experts suggest that the makeup of the pygmy mole cricket's legs could be used to build small aquatic robots. "If we want to make small robotic vehicles that move under water, this is how we would have to design propellers or oars," Burrows said in a statement. "We would also have to use a material as good as resilin to impart elasticity, restore shape, and reduce drag."
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that  Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

Venomous caterpillar has strange biology

Dr Walker's research found the caterpillar has venom toxins with a molecular structure similar to those produced by spiders, wasps, bees and ants. The research also unlocked a source of bioactive peptides that may have uses in medicine, biotechnology or as scientific tools…"We found that the venom is mostly peptides and shows stunning complexity, containing 151 different protein-based toxins from 59 different families."… Some peptides already produced in the laboratory as part of Dr Walker's research showed very high potency, with potential to efficiently kill nematode parasites that are harmful to livestock, as well as disease-causing pathogens. "Our research unlocks a new source of bioactive peptides that may have use in medicine, through an ability to influence biological processes and promote good health," he said.

Honeybees' hairy abdomens show how to save energy, reduce wear on materials

Now, researchers reporting in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces have found that tiny hairs reduce friction from these motions, saving energy for the industrious insects' daily activities while reducing wear and tear. This knowledge could help researchers design longer-lasting moving parts.

Dorsal navigation found in a flying insect

People -- who get lost easily in the extraordinary darkness of a tropical forest -- have much to learn from a bee that can find its way home in conditions 10 times dimmer than starlight…Understanding how Megalopta navigates may be of interest for military applications. Now, most drones use GPS to navigate, but GPS and satellites can be jammed or destroyed.

Robots with insect brains

It is an engineer's dream to build a robot as competent as an insect at locomotion, directed action, navigation, and survival in complex conditions.

Scientists Engineered “Cyborg Grasshoppers” to Sniff out Bombs

A far tinier, far more futuristic critter might replace dogs as the preferred explosive detection animal: cyborg grasshoppers. With funding from the U.S. Office of Naval Research, scientists at Washington University in St. Louis have found a way to hack into the insects' sense of smell, in the hopes of using the bugs to detect explosives…While the human sense of smell starts with our noses, grasshoppers use receptor neurons in their antennae to detect odors in the air. Each antenna can contain 50,000 neurons, and whenever they detect a scent, they send an electrical signal to a part of the insect's brain called the "antennal lobe."

'Bug brain soup' expands menu for scientists studying animal brains

By mashing up brains from various insect species, neuroscientists introduce a practical technique for quantifying the neurons that make up the brains of invertebrate animals…Using a surprisingly simple technique, researchers in the University of Arizona Department of Neuroscience have succeeded in approximating how many brain cells make up the brains of several species of bees, ants and wasps…Published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the study marks the first time the new cell counting method has been applied to invertebrate animals and provides a robust and reproducible protocol for other research groups studying the brains of invertebrate animals…These findings beg the question of how many brain cells nature needs to make a functioning brain.
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

Russian Engineers Supersized a Dragonfly With This Over-the-Top Flapping Wing Plane

(I)t demonstrates that Mother Nature’s designs can be supersized to one day revolutionize air travel. This isn’t the first time we’ve managed to reverse-engineer how airborne creatures like insects and birds take to the sky. In fact, mechanical ornithopters (aircraft that fly using a flapping wing mechanism) are so common that people have been building elastic-powered versions out of balsa wood and paper for years… The Russian-built ornithopter is proof that a flapping wing approach to flight isn’t only an option for tiny insects or birds whose skeletal structure and bodies are designed to be as lightweight as possible… Using the movements of an aircraft’s wings to generate lift opens up some incredible potential for maneuverability, as anyone who’s watched a dragonfly as it darts around…
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

Dragonflies perform upside down backflips to right themselves

High speed cameras and CGI technology have revealed the inbuilt righting mechanisms used by dragonflies when they are thrown off balance. The findings add to current knowledge of how insects fly and keep stable in the air. They could also help to inspire new designs in small aerial vehicles like drones, which can be useful for search-and-rescue attempts and building inspection. Our colourful sunny-day companions can glide, fly backwards, and travel up to 54 km/h when hunting prey or escaping predators -- but like any flying creature, they can be thrown off balance and even find themselves upside down…

(D)ragonflies most frequently perform upside down backflips, known as 'pitching', to right themselves from upside down positions in the air. They also found that dragonflies perform the same righting maneuver whilst unconscious, suggesting the response has a large component of passive stability -- a flight mechanism like that which lets planes glide when their engines are switched off. The research reveals how the shape and joint stiffness of the dragonflies' wings provide passive stability and could inform designs for small drones

"Engineers could take inspiration from flying animals to improve aerial systems. Drones tend to rely heavily on fast feedback to keep them upright and on course, but our findings could help engineers incorporate passive stability mechanisms into their wing structure."
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation. A good title for this report would be “Dragonfly Designs Defy Darwinism.” Also see Fantastic Flight.

Butterfly wing clap explains mystery of flight

The fluttery flight of butterflies has so far been somewhat of a mystery to researchers, given their unusually large and broad wings relative to their body size. Now researchers at Lund University in Sweden have studied the aerodynamics of butterflies in a wind tunnel. The results suggest that butterflies use a highly effective clap technique, therefore making use of their unique wings. This helps them rapidly take off when escaping predators… During the upward stroke, the wings cup, creating an air-filled pocket between them. When the wings then collide, the air is forced out, resulting in a backward jet that propels the butterflies forward. The downward wingbeat has another function: the butterflies stay in the air and do not fall to the ground…That the wings are cupped when butterflies clap them together, makes the wing stroke much more effective. It is an elegant mechanism that is far more advanced than we imagined, and it is fascinating…"The shape and flexibility of butterfly wings could inspire improved performance and flight technology in small drones," he continues. In addition to studying the butterflies in a wind tunnel, the researchers designed mechanical wings that mimic real ones. The shape and flexibility of the mechanical wings as they are cupped and folded confirm the efficiency.
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

How insects activate muscles to adapt to limbs removed

Adaptability explains why insects spread so widely and why they are the most abundant animal group on earth. Insects exhibit resilient and flexible locomotion, even with drastic changes in their body structure such as losing a limb. A research group now understands more about adaptive locomotion in insects and the mechanisms underpinning it. This knowledge not only reveals intriguing information about the biology of the insects, but it can also help to design more robust and resilient multi-legged robots that are able to adapt to similar physical damage…"Our results will pave the way for the further understand of the leg coordination mechanism in insect locomotion," said professor Dai Owaki. "It may also aid design principles for a decentralized controller that enables flexible and adaptive walking in an insect-like-six-legged robot."
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

Robot designers mimic cockroach antennae

Like a cockroach's own wriggly appendage, the artificial antenna sends signals to a wheeled robot's electronic brain, enabling the machine to scurry along walls, turn corners and avoid obstacles. The work is important because most robotic vehicles that are sent into dangerous locations rely on artificial vision or sonar systems to find a safe path… After joining the faculty at Johns Hopkins, he assigned undergraduate Owen Y. Loh to build a more complex antenna to permit more advanced experiments with a cockroach-inspired robot. In the fall of 2003, Loh began studying cockroach biology and working up designs for a robot antenna based on the insect model. "I liked the idea of combining biology and robotics," he said.
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

Phasing of dragonfly wings can improve aerodynamic efficiency by removing swirl

Dragonflies are dramatic, successful aerial predators, notable for their flight agility and endurance. Further, they are highly capable of low-speed, hovering and even backwards flight… in terms of engineering, the findings presented here may be particularly valuable. Any energetic benefit from four-winged flapping would be of great interest in the field of biomimetic aircraft design (Stafford 2007) because flapping-winged aircraft are challenged by the high power requirements of flapping flight (Ellington 1999). Appropriately phased four-winged flapping, analogous to dragonfly flight, may thus present one aerodynamic trick to reduce these power requirements and improve the endurance of the next generation of flapping micro air vehicles.

Smellicopter: An obstacle-avoiding drone that uses a live moth antenna to seek out smells

Researchers are interested in developing devices that can navigate these situations by sniffing out chemicals in the air to locate disaster survivors, gas leaks, explosives and more. But most sensors created by people are not sensitive or fast enough to be able to find and process specific smells while flying through the patchy odor plumes these sources create. Now a team led by the University of Washington has developed Smellicopter: an autonomous drone that uses a live antenna from a moth to navigate toward smells. Smellicopter can also sense and avoid obstacles as it travels through the air…" Nature really blows our human-made odor sensors out of the water," said lead author Melanie Anderson, a UW doctoral student in mechanical engineering…Another advantage to Smellicopter is that it doesn't need GPS, the team said. Instead it uses a camera to survey its surroundings, similar to how insects use their eyes.
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

Wasp egg-laying organ inspires new tool to reduce trauma in minimally invasive surgery

A new tissue-transport device which was inspired by the egg-laying organs of parasitic wasps could greatly advance the field of minimally invasive surgery (MIS), according to a new study in Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology. The prototype, developed by researchers at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, could allow MIS techniques to be used in previously hard-to-reach areas of the body and vastly reduce the trauma from surgery, and therefore recovery time, of patients…"The wasp ovipositor is so thin that it can't actually fit any muscles within it, so we knew it was a clever mechanical solution worth studying to see if we could recreate it," explains lead author Dr. Aimée Sakes of the Bio-Inspired Technology Group at Delft University of Technology, led by Prof Dr. Paul Breedveld.
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

New study sheds light on how mosquitoes wing it

(M)osquitoes’ abnormally long, narrow wings and distinctive flight behaviour set them apart from other insects. Not only that, but when flapped, these wings move back and forth approximately 800 times each second - far faster than any other insect of comparable size…mosquitoes’ abnormally long, narrow wings and distinctive flight behaviour set them apart from other insects. Not only that, but when flapped, these wings move back and forth approximately 800 times each second - far faster than any other insect of comparable size…(M)osquitoes enhance their flight forces using two novel aerodynamic mechanisms that make use of rapid and exquisitely controlled wing rotations. In addition to generating lift by leading-edge vortices, which are rotational, bubbles of low pressure created along the edge of the wing, mosquitoes use two novel aerodynamic mechanisms to make them fly; trailing edge vortices and rotational drag…Understanding the mechanisms that enable mosquitoes and other flying insects to fly in their unique way, could support the development of aerodynamic innovations such as tiny scale flying tech, like piezoelectric actuators.
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

Why is it so hard to squash a cockroach?

By mimicking the combination of rigid and flexible parts that gives insect exoskeletons and wings their resilience, biomechanicists are making robots tougher. “Bend but not break is a lot of what happens in these insects,” says Harvard University roboticist Robert Wood. “We’re trying the same thing to see if we can have similar robustness in our robots.” Until recently, most engineers designed for a tough-and-tumble world by making machines stiff and sturdy or agile enough to avoid danger… “Nature has come up with a tactic that we don’t have,” says David Hu, a mechanical engineer at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. “Crumple … and then keep on going.”… Both the roach exoskeleton and the insect wings are inspiring robot design… Mountcastle has joined forces with Jayaram—now also a Harvard postdoc—and Wood to refit hinged wings to an insect-sized flying robot called Robobee. “Designing [it] was not trivial; they are not simple, linear hinges,” Mountcastle said at the Portland meeting. The group hopes begin testing the new design in the real world by spring. Hu applauds the insect-inspired designs.
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

Black butterfly wings offer a model for better solar cells

A team of researchers with California Institute of Technology and the Karlsruh Institute of Technology has improved the efficiency of thin film solar cells by mimicking the architecture of rose butterfly wings. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group explains their inspiration for studying the butterfly wings and the details of their improved solar cells… Intrigued by the butterfly design, the researchers created similar structures in their lab using sheets of hydrogenated amorphous silicon sheets… The design, the team found, allowed for picking up roughly twice as much light as previous designs.,architecture%20of%20rose%20butterfly%20wings.
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that  Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

Awesome Ears: The Weird World of Insect Hearing

Evolution made insect ears many times over, resulting in a dazzling variety of forms found in spots all over the body

Copiphora gorgonensis… has ears uncannily like ours, with entomological versions of eardrums, ossicles and cochleas to help it pick up and analyze sounds. Katydids—there are thousands of species—have the smallest ears of any animal, one on each front leg just below the “knee.” But their small size and seemingly strange location belie the sophisticated structure and impressive capabilities of these organs: to detect the ultrasonic clicks of hunting bats, pick out the signature songs of prospective mates, and home in on dinner.

One Australian katydid has capitalized on its auditory prowess to capture prey in a very devious way: It lures male cicadas within striking distance by mimicking the female part of the cicada mating duet—a trick requiring it to recognize complex patterns of sound and precisely when to chip in… Awesome? Absolutely…Amazing though katydid ears are, he tells me, they’re just one of many with astonishing capabilities: Evolution has made so many attempts at shaping ears, the result is a huge diversity of structures and mechanisms. Most are hard to spot, if not invisible, and in many cases insects produce and sense sounds so far beyond our own range that we overlooked their abilities entirely… Sensory biologists, acoustics experts and geneticists are working together to pin down how they all work…

When insects first appeared some 400 million years ago, they were deaf, Göpfert tells me. These ancestral insects went on to diversify into more than 900,000 species, and while most remain as deaf as their ancestors, some gained the means to hear. Of the 30 major insect orders, nine (at last count) include some that hear, and hearing has evolved more than once in some orders at least six times among butterflies and moths… All told, insect ears arose more than 20 separate times, a sure-fire recipe for variety. (Karl’s comment: This is a typical ignorant inserted only to pay homage to True Believers in Evolutionism anti-science dogma)—Location is the most obvious difference between one insect’s ears and another’s: There are ears on antennae (mosquitoes and fruit flies), forelegs (crickets and katydids), wings (lacewings), abdomen (cicadas, grasshoppers and locusts) and on what passes for a “neck” (parasitic flies). Among moths and butterflies, ears crop up practically anywhere, even on mouthparts. The bladder grasshopper has an abundance of ears with six pairs along the sides of its abdomen. Praying mantises have a single, “cyclopean” ear in the middle of their chest.

This anywhere-goes approach might seem a little weird but there’s a simple explanation: In every case where an insect ear evolved, the starting point was an existing sensory organ: a stretch detector that monitors tiny vibrations when neighboring body segments move. Those detectors occur throughout the insect body but evolution typically only modified a single pair—apparently, almost any pair—to perceive the airborne vibrations generated by sound.

From there on, each new attempt to forge ears went even further in its own direction as other structures were co-opted and reconfigured to capture, amplify and filter sound, extract the relevant information and convey it to the nervous system. In mosquitoes and fruit flies, sound causes fine antennal hairs to quiver. Most other hearing insects have “eardrums”: thin, membranous patches of exoskeleton that vibrate when sound waves hit. Some eardrums are backed by air-filled acoustic chambers, others by fluid-filled ones. The number and arrangement of sensory cells that detect and decode those vibrations—and the neurons that send the signals to the brain—also vary from ear to ear. So while some moth ears function with just one or two neurons (making moths the most rapid responders), a male mosquito’s ear has around 15,000 (making it exquisitely sensitive)…

Katydids solved the problem (again, in a unique way) by enlarging a breathing tube that runs from a pore in the side of the chest to the knee… The katydid’s remarkable ears haven’t yet (2018) given up all their secrets, But what drove evolution to turn stretch receptors into ears in the first place, and so bring sound to the insect world? That’s a question still on many entomologists’ minds. A reasonable guide is how insects use their ears today, but it’s only a guide, since an ear originally acquired for one purpose might easily have been co-opted over the eons to serve another. One thing’s certain: As biologists investigate more insect groups in greater detail, some long-held notions may bite the dust…

(T)he katydid sound-producing apparatus can be traced back through the fossil record (Karl’s comment: Where is the proof?) to an early type of ancestor that lived 250 million years ago, well before bats did. So the prevailing theory up till now has been that the evolution of katydid ears took some turns. (Karl’s comment: Better said, “the design of katydid ears reveals lots of variety.) The ears’ initial function was to enable katydids to hear one another, and later on, the thinking goes, those ears were co-opted to serve as bat detectors… But is that story right? To get at the answer, scientists needed to know what katydids were hearing in the distant past, and that meant taking a close look at katydid fossils. The fossilized ears are not themselves very informative: They are rare and their structure hard to make out. (Karl’s comment: BWAHAHAHA!)
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation. There is much material for BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA! too. “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Mark 4:9 and Matthew 11:15.


Hopkins researchers study the movement of cockroaches to teach robots to navigate uneven surfaces… By chasing cockroaches through an obstacle course and studying their movements, the Johns Hopkins engineers discovered that animals' movement transitions corresponded to overcoming potential energy barriers and that they can jitter around to traverse obstacles in complex terrain…"Our findings will help make robots more robust and widen their range of movement in the real world," says physicist Chen Li, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and the paper's senior author.

With mobile robots on the verge of integrating into society, it's important that they can move through the world around them with ease and efficiency, says Li. While some mobile robots like self-driving cars and robot vacuums are already excellent at navigating flat surfaces and transitioning between movements, many critical uses—such as searching and rescuing in rubble, inspecting and monitoring buildings, and space exploration—require robots to physically interact with their terrain to traverse, rather than simply avoid, obstructions.

What Termites Can Teach Engineers

We humans like to congratulate ourselves for our ingenuity. Yet nature’s passive designs often outperform our expensive, energy-hungry technologies. And while engineers and architects can improve their designs by mimicking the natural world, nature always has another lesson to teach. That has certainly been the case for termites and air conditioning. The story begins in 1992, when Zimbabwean architect Mick Pearce received a commission to build Eastgate Centre, a two-building office complex and shopping mall, in the country’s capital city of Harare. Pearce, however, wanted to do more than just build a new building. He wanted to eliminate the huge heating and cooling plants a 340,000 square feet development typically needed…“I saw David Attenborough climbing inside the chimney of a termite nest in Nigeria,” he said, and he realized that evolution had already solved the problem…

Below the chimneys, the termites farmed fungi for food. While the termites relied on soil’s thermal storage capacity to help keep temperatures stable, Pearce realized that the termites also had to breathe. It was an elegant design. The hot air generated by the nest and its fungus farm, which had higher concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane, exited through the chimney through convention. As the hot air left, it pulled in fresh air from the surface through moist foraging tunnels, which added water vapor to the stream. The chimney, warmed by the sun, heated the air exiting through it, adding an extra push to the convection cycle…

In the building that Pearce and multidisciplinary engineering firm Arup Group designed, each floor had air ducts running underneath it… Pearce’s designed also used several other tricks inspired by nature.

Mimicking moth eyes to produce transparent anti-reflective coatings

The eyes of moths have a biological nanostructure that grants them anti-reflective properties. Though researchers have managed to mimic this structure to produce anti-reflective coatings, current techniques are not easily scalable. Now, researchers have devised a strategy to produce large area moth-eye transparent films that greatly reduce reflectance and improve transmittance. These films could be used to better the visibility of screens and enhance the performance of solar panels.

There is a huge number of human problems that scientists and engineers have solved by drawing ideas directly from mechanisms found in other lifeforms……(Moth) eyes have a periodic nanometric structure that makes the eye surface graded, as opposed to polished. This causes most incident light to bend at the surface and therefore, be transmitted through the eye instead of being reflected off it. This nanoscale arrayed structure is so effective that researchers have tried to mimic it using other materials to create anti-reflective coatings with varying degrees of success…This study showcases how to expand the uses of biologically inspired structures by making their fabrication more easily scalable. Let us hope these technological advances help us preserve nature so that we can keep obtaining useful ideas from other species.

The Scoop on Termite Poop: Five Cool Facts

Some of the microorganisms living inside termites have never been seen anywhere else. Some of those exotic microbes could be helpful to humans as well. In one example, a cancer researcher found that a particular microorganism in a termite’s hindgut, roughly equivalent to a human’s colon, produces more centrin than any other creature known. Centrin is a protein that is related to cell division, and studying how centrin works has helped researchers pinpoint its role in runaway cell division—in other words, cancer. Scientists are also looking at how termite microbes produce hydrogen from digested wood. The microbes could be harnessed by humans to power hydrogen fuel cells, a type of battery that emits only water.

Honeybee venom contains chemical that kills breast cancer cells in minutes, study shows

Dr. Ciara Duffy says honeybee venom destroys multiple types of breast cancer, even the hard to treat triple-negative variety. Her study in the journal npj Precision Oncology finds the venom not only eradicates these cancers, it also breaks up a cancerous cell’s ability to reproduce. It also contains a compound called melittin which researchers say helps this natural remedy stop the disease with remarkable speed.

Silk offers homemade solution for COVID-19 prevention

Next to a single-use N95 respirator or surgical mask, UC found the best alternative could be made by a hungry little caterpillar. Silk face masks are comfortable, breathable and repel moisture, which is a desirable trait in fighting an airborne virus. Perhaps best of all, silk contains natural antimicrobial, antibacterial and antiviral properties that could help ward off the virus…Studies have shown that copper, in particular, can kill bacteria and viruses on contact. And that's where the little caterpillars have their own superpower, Guerra said. "Copper is the big craze now. Silk has copper in it. Domesticated silk moths eat mulberry leaves. They incorporate copper from their diet into the silk…"Cotton traps moisture like a sponge. But silk is breathable. It's thinner than cotton and dries really fast."

The RoboBee flies solo

In the Harvard Microrobotics Lab, on a late afternoon in August, decades of research culminated in a moment of stress as the tiny, groundbreaking RoboBee made its first solo flight…. “This is a result several decades in the making”… “Over the life of this project we have sequentially developed solutions to challenging problems, like how to build complex devices at millimeter scales, how to create high-performance millimeter-scale artificial muscles, bioinspired designs, and novel sensors, and flight control strategies,” said Wood. “Now that power solutions are emerging, the next step is onboard control. Beyond these robots, we are excited that these underlying technologies are finding applications in other areas such as minimally-invasive surgical devices, wearable sensors, assistive robots, and haptic communication devices – to name just a few.”
(Karl’s comment: Be sure to compare their design with the Creator’s bee.)

Next-generation cockroach-inspired robot is small but mighty

This itsy-bitsy robot can’t climb up the waterspout yet but it can run, jump, carry heavy payloads and turn on a dime. Dubbed HAMR-JR, this microrobot developed by researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Harvard Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, is a half-scale version of the cockroach-inspired Harvard Ambulatory Microrobot or HAMR. ( One of the big questions going into this research was whether or not the pop-up manufacturing process used to build previous versions of HAMR and other microbots, including the RoboBee, could be used to build robots at multiple scales — from tiny surgical bots to large-scale industrial robots.

Nanostructures modeled on moth eyes effective for anti-icing

Researchers have been working for decades on improving the anti-icing performance of functional surfaces and new work investigates a unique nanostructure, modeled on moth eyes, that has anti-icing properties. Moth eyes are of interest because they have a distinct ice-phobic and transparent surface. The researchers fabricated the moth eye nanostructure on a quartz substrate that was covered with a paraffin layer to isolate it from a cold and humid environment…Ice accumulation on energy transmission systems, vehicles and ships in a harsh environment often leads to massive destruction and contributes to serious accidents.

Insects Showcase Unexpected Ways to Make Water-Repellent Surfaces

Nature is always full of surprises and counterexamples. Every time we understand something, nature shows us that there’s a whole other thing that we missed,” says David Hu, a biomechanics professor at Georgia Tech who was not involved in the work… To find out why the insect surfaces were structured this way, Wong’s group made synthetic nanostructures mimicking what they saw under the microscope with varying sizes and densities… What they found is that the water droplets bounced a couple of milliseconds faster away from the surfaces with tightly packed nanoscale structures than from the surfaces with the spread-out, larger microscale structures, says Lin Wang, a graduate student who led the project in Wong’s lab. A couple of milliseconds may not sound like much, but for an insect that is flying in the rain, shaving off that time “is actually a big deal,” he says. It could be the difference between hitting the ground and continuing flight… Kolle says that these biological surfaces are interesting because they typically serve many functions. For example, butterfly wings are covered with scales whose colors signal to woo potential mates and to scare predators; the wings also need to repel water, help with thermoregulation, and of course, enable flight. Now that the water repelling properties of insects are better understood, the next big question is how the different functions are balanced when they need to be optimized together, Kolle says.
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation. “Nature” is a True Believer in Evolutionism substitute for “God.—Karl

Design of insect-inspired fans offers wide-ranging applications

(R)esearchers have recreated the complex, highly compact folding mechanisms found in the wings of earwigs with an origami-inspired geometrical method, which has potential applications across different fields of engineering. The hind wings of earwigs fold automatically under small leathery forewings when the animal is not in flight, employing a specialized folding pattern that reduces surface area ten to 15 times or more depending on the species. This is the most compact wing folding found in insects and gives earwigs unparalleled ground mobility for a flying insect. With the wings protected and their abdomens fully flexible, earwigs are able to wriggle into the soil and other narrow spaces, as well as use their characteristic rear pincers.

Despite the outstanding potential for engineering of the earwig wing and its unique properties, a method for designing their complex folding patterns had not been resolved, hindering practical applications. "The method to design our earwig-inspired fan is based on the flat-foldability in the origami model, a mathematical theorem that explains how crease patterns may be folded to form a flat figure," explains lead author Dr. Kazuya Saito, an engineer from Kyushu University's Faculty of Design who specializes in bioinspired deployable structures. "Our earwig fan can be designed using classic drawing techniques, but we have also developed and released software that can automatise the process depending on the application requirements."

The geometrical requirements for the new design method were informed by tomographic imaging in folded earwig hind wings. Researchers predict that their earwig-inspired fan will see multiple applications for folding structures, of variable sizes and materials, into highly compact shapes that can be efficiently transported and deployed. These may include daily-use articles such as fans or umbrellas, as well as multiple structures for use in architecture, mechanical engineering, and the aerospace industry, such as drone wings, antennae reflectors, or energy-absorbing panels.

Bioinspired technologies keep offering some of the most efficient and sustainable ways to meet many of the challenges of the future.
Karl’s note: The following snip is scientifically useless, and only used to display homage to the religion of evolutionism. The tie in to evolutionism and design as well as a reverence to Nature as if Nature is a god-like creator are both worthy of BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA!
On the other hand, the research provides new insights into evolutionary biology, as the new design method can also recreate the wing-folding mechanism of 280 million-year-old earwig relatives…"Nature has consistently been an everlasting source of inspiration," says Prof Zhong You, from Oxford University's Department of Engineering Science and co-author of the work."
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

Once Is Enough For Long-Term Memory Formation in Bees

With their tiny brains and renowned ability to memorize nectar locations, honeybees are a favorite model organism for studying learning and memory. Such research has indicated that to form long-term memories—ones that last a day or more—the insects need to repeat a training experience at least three times. By contrast, short- and mid-term memories that last seconds to minutes and minutes to hours, respectively, need only a single learning experience. Exceptions to this rule have been observed, however. For example, in some studies, bees formed long-lasting memories after a single learning event.

Insect wings hold antimicrobial clues for improved medical implants (April 6)

Some insect wings such as cicada and dragonfly possess nanopillar structures that kill bacteria upon contact… Using a range of advanced imaging tools, functional assays and proteomic analyses, a study by the University of Bristol has identified new ways in which nanopillars can damage bacteria. These important findings, published in Nature Communications, will aid the design of better antimicrobial surfaces for potential biomedical applications such as medical implants and devices that are not reliant on antibiotics.
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

Study reveals unique physical, chemical properties of cicada wings (April 14)

Biological structures sometimes have unique features that engineers would like to copy. For example, many types of insect wings shed water, kill microbes, reflect light in unusual ways and are self-cleaning. While researchers have dissected the physical characteristics that likely contribute to such traits, a new study reveals that the chemical compounds that coat cicada wings also contribute to their ability to repel water and kill microbes… While preliminary, the new findings offer insight into the interplay of structure and chemistry in determining function, Alleyne said. By dissecting these characteristics, the researchers hope to one day design artificial structures with some of the same surface traits. Finding materials that shed water and kill microbes, for example, would be useful in many applications, from agriculture to medicine, she said… The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, National Science Foundation and the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology supported this research.
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

Antibacterial effects of nanopillar surfaces are mediated by cell impedance, penetration and induction of oxidative stress

Some insects, such as dragonflies, have (The word “evolved” is omitted because it is totally useless to the science. Karl) nanoprotrusions on their wings that rupture bacteria on contact. This has inspired the design of antibacterial implant surfaces with insectwing mimetic nanopillars made of synthetic materials… The unique bactericidal properties of cicada and dragonfly wings have drawn significant research interest7–10, as the physical nature of bacterial killing could provide an effective strategy to prevent biofilm formation, and infection of indwelling and implantable devices, while negating the current need to use materials impregnated with antibiotics… Elucidating the mechanisms that govern bacterial cell death on nanotextured materials is essential for improving antibacterial performance. This, in turn, will guide the design of nextgeneration biomaterials that effectively inhibit biofilm growth, without reliance on antibiotics… This study has highlighted several key findings that have important implications for the development of antimicrobial nanotopographies for biomedical applications… Better understanding of this mechanism could prove invaluable for improving the antibacterial performance of nanotextured materials… It is also evident from this study that multiple experimental approaches should be exploited to robustly assess all aspects of bacterial physiology, so as to obtain a comprehensive assessment of the antibacterial properties of nanotextured materials. This will reduce experimental bias toward a single mechanism of action, and provide a more complete and accurate understanding of the antimicrobial mechanism of nanotopographies.
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

Armor on butterfly wings protects against heavy rain

The research showed how microscale bumps, combined with a nanoscale layer of wax, shatter and spread these drops to protect fragile surfaces from physical damage and hypothermia risk. There already exists a large market for products that use examples from nature – known as biomimicry – in their design: self-cleaning water-resistant sprays for clothes and shoes, and de-icing coatings on airplane wings. Findings from this study could lead to more such products in the future… “[Getting hit with] raindrops is the most dangerous event for this kind of small animal,” he said, noting the relative weight of a raindrop hitting a butterfly wing would be analogous to a bowling ball falling from the sky on a human.
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

Sea skaters are a super source of inspiration

Tiny sea skaters, as insect ocean pioneers, may hold the secret to developing improved water repellant materials… Faced with crashing waves, ultraviolet radiation, rain, salt water, and predatory birds and fish, insects need a specialized set of adaptations to survive in the ocean… The wax secreted by the insect is of great interest to the team's materials scientists, who are exploring new approaches for liquid repellent technologies. The insect's hair structures are also informing the design of new materials. " Inspired by the mushroom-shaped hairs of Halobates, my group is developing greener and low-cost technologies for reducing frictional drag and membrane fouling," says Mishra.
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

Drones become even more insect-like

Humans have long drawn inspiration from nature in the creation of new technologies…Nakata et al. (1) exemplify the bioinspired design methodology through their investigation of the sound- and airflow-sensing capabilities of the southern house mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus and subsequent creation of a small quad-copter drone with an autonomous collision avoidance system based on the same sensing principles. The sensor displays compelling advantages in weight, power, and deployability over existing technology.
Karl’s note: The first two lines of the summary are omitted here because they are scientifically useless, and only used to display homage to the religion of evolutionism. Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

Armor on butterfly wings protects against heavy rain

Micro-bumps and a nanoscale wax layer on fragile butterfly wings shatter and spread raindrops to minimize damage… The research showed how microscale bumps, combined with a nanoscale layer of wax, shatter and spread these drops to protect fragile surfaces from physical damage and hypothermia risk. There already exists a large market for products that use examples from nature -- known as biomimicry -- in their design: self-cleaning water-resistant sprays for clothes and shoes, and de-icing coatings on airplane wings. Findings from this study could lead to more such products in the future.
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

High-protein diets help insects to fight against blood parasites

Scientists studying insects have identified a crucial biological mechanism responsible for increasing their survival against blood parasites. The finding, in which a high protein diet is linked to increased survival, could be a key stepping-stone to discovering how diet could help us fight parasitic blood infections… Although this study focused on caterpillars and their parasites, the findings could offer a possible avenue of research on humans and blood conditions.


Some butterflies have ultra-black wings that rival the blackest materials made by humans, using wing scales that are only a fraction as thick. Duke researchers have figured out how they make ultra-thin substances that soak up all the light…The butterflies they study are 10 to 100 times darker than charcoal, fresh asphalt, black velvet and other everyday black objects. As little as 0.06% of the light that hits them is reflected back to the eye. That approaches the blackest black coatings made by humans to help solar panels absorb more energy from the sun, or that line telescopes to reduce stray light. Yet they achieve this light-trapping effect using wing scales that are only a few microns deep, just a fraction as thick as the blackest synthetic coatings…Ultimately, the findings could help engineers design thinner ultra-black coatings that reduce stray light without weighing things down, for applications ranging from military camouflage -- for stealth aircraft that can’t be seen at night or detected by radar -- to lining space telescopes aimed at faint, distant stars.
Karl’s note: Look at the full article and note the evolutionism wasted ink.

Pretty as a peacock: The gemstone for the next generation of smart sensors

Scientists have taken inspiration from the biomimicry of butterfly wings…(by developing) colour-changing, flexible photonic crystals that could be used to develop sensors that warn when an earthquake might strike next. The wearable, robust and low-cost sensors can respond sensitively to light, temperature, strain or other physical and chemical stimuli making them an extremely promising option for cost-effective smart visual sensing applications in a range of sectors including healthcare and food safety…Among their many potential applications are:
-Time-temperature indicators (TTI) for intelligent packaging…
-Finger print analysis…
-(H)ighly sensitive point-of-care testing devices for respiratory viruses…
-(B)ody sensors which could help improve technique in sports players…
-Healthcare safety
(Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.)

To make ultra-black materials that won't weigh things down, consider the butterfly

The butterflies they study are 10 to 100 times darker than charcoal, fresh asphalt, black velvet and other everyday black objects. As little as 0.06% of the light that hits them is reflected back to the eye. That approaches the blackest black coatings made by humans to help solar panels absorb more energy from the sun, or that line telescopes to reduce stray light. Yet they achieve this light-trapping effect using wing scales that are only a few microns deep, just a fraction as thick as the blackest synthetic coatings… Butterfly wings may look smooth to the naked eye. Up close it's a different story. Magnified thousands of times, butterfly wings are covered in scales with a mesh-like surface of ridges and holes that channel light into the scale's spongy interior. There, pillar-like beams of tissue scatter light until it is absorbed…This 3-D architecture is so good at swallowing light that the ultra-black scales still looked black even when coated with gold… But what makes butterflies interesting, the researchers say, is they rival the best light-trapping nanotechnology, using structures that are only a fraction as thick. Ultimately, the findings could help engineers design thinner ultra-black coatings that reduce stray light without weighing things down, for applications ranging from military camouflage -- for stealth aircraft that can't be seen at night or detected by radar -- to lining space telescopes aimed at faint, distant stars.
(Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.)

Bees recognize that six is more than four

Writing in iScience, zoologists have shown that insects have the cognitive abilities to perform so called numerosity estimation, allowing them to solve simple mathematical problems…According to Nawrot, this model also helps the neural networks of an artificial intelligence to learn: 'A lot of money has already been invested into training artificial neural networks to visually recognize the number of objects. Deep learning methods in particular enable counting by the explicit or implicit recognition of several relevant objects within a static scene', Nawrot added. 'However, these model classes are expensive because they usually have to be trained on a very large number of patterns in the millions and often require cloud computing clusters. Our honeybee-inspired approach with a simple model and learning algorithm reduces this effort many times over.

Deaf moths evolved (have) noise-cancelling scales to evade predators

Using scanning electron microscopy, the team from Bristol's School of Biological Sciences discovered that the thorax scales of the moths Antherina suraka and Callosamia promethea looked structurally similar to fibres that are used as noise insulation, so wanted to explore whether the thorax scales of moths might be acting in some way to absorb the ultrasonic clicks of bats and dampen the echoes returning to the bat, offering the moths a type of acoustic camouflage…Dr Thomas Neil, Research Associate from Bristol's School of Biological Sciences and lead author, said: "We were amazed to see that these extraordinary insects were able to achieve the same levels of sound absorption as commercially available technical sound absorbers, whilst at the same time being much thinner and lighter. "We are now looking at ways in which we can use these biological systems to inspire new solutions to sound insulating technology and analyse the scaling on a moth's wing to explore whether they too have sound absorbing properties."

Mirrored chip could enable handheld dark-field microscopes

Engineers have developed a small, mirrored chip that helps to produce dark-field images, without dedicated expensive components. The chip is slightly larger than a postage stamp and as thin as a credit card. When placed on a microscope's stage, the chip emits a hollow cone of light that can be used to generate detailed dark-field images of algae, bacteria, and similarly translucent tiny objects…The design for this third layer was inspired by the microscopic scale structure in the wings of the Papilio butterfly. "The butterfly's wing scales feature really intriguing egg crate-like structures with a Bragg mirror lining, which gives them their iridescent color," Chazot says. The researchers originally designed the chip as an array of miniature laser sources, thinking that its three layers could work together to create tailored laser emission patterns.
(Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.)

Glimpse into ancient hunting strategies of dragonflies and damselflies

A paper recently published in Current Biology, led by University of Minnesota researchers, shows that despite the distinct hunting strategies of dragonflies and damselflies, the two groups share key neurons in the circuit that drives the hunting flight…These findings could inform where to mount cameras on drones and autonomous vehicles, and how to process the incoming information quickly and efficiently.

Beating the heat in the living wings of butterflies

A new study from Columbia Engineering and Harvard identified the critical physiological importance of suitable temperatures for butterfly wings to function properly, and discovered that the insects exquisitely regulate their wing temperatures through both structural and behavioral adaptations (read: designs--Karl)…"Each wing of a butterfly is equipped with a few dozen mechanical sensors that provide real-time feedback to enable complex flying patterns," Yu says. "This is an inspiration for designing the wings of flying machines: perhaps wing design should not be solely based on considerations of flight dynamics, and wings designed as an integrated sensory-mechanical system could enable flying machines to perform better in complex aerodynamic conditions."

Moths' flight data helps drones navigate complex environments

The flight navigation strategy of moths can be used to develop programs that help drones to navigate unfamiliar environments, report researchers…To understand how real moths plan their route, the researchers mounted 8 hawk moths (Mantuca sexta) on metal rods connected to a torque meter. In front of each moth they projected a moving forest scene created from beams of light for the moth to navigate. They captured data from the moth flight and built a mathematical model to describe the moth trajectory through the virtual forest. The flight data were translated into a decision-making program that could be used to control a drone.

When stuck in water, bees create a wave and hydrofoil atop it

When a bee lands on water, the water sticks to its wings, robbing it of the ability to fly. However, that stickiness allows the bee to drag water, creating waves that propel it forward. In the lab, Roh and Gharib noted that the generated wave pattern is symmetrical from left to right. A strong, large-amplitude wave with an interference pattern is generated in the water at the rear of the bee, while the surface in front of the bee lacks the large wave and interference… "The motion of the bee's wings creates a wave that its body is able to ride forward," Gharib says. "It hydrofoils, or surfs, toward safety."… Roh and Gharib, who work in Caltech's Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies (CAST), have already started applying their findings to their robotics research, developing a small robot that uses a similar motion to navigate the surface of water. Though labor-intensive, the motion could one day be used to generate robots capable of both flying and swimming.

Sounds of mosquito mating rituals could lead to quieter drones

Mosquitoes flap their wings not just to stay aloft but for two other critical purposes: to generate sound and to point that buzz in the direction of a potential mate, researchers at Johns Hopkins University have discovered. Their findings about the aerodynamics of mosquito wings could have implications for building quieter drones… His team's research shows that "everything about mosquitoes seems perfectly adapted (Read “designed.”) for accomplishing this sound-based communication." "Thus," the paper states, "understanding the strategies and adaptations (Read “design features.”) employed by insects such as mosquitoes to control their aeroacoustic noise could eventually provide insights into the development of quiet drones and other bioinspired (Read “Created.”) micro-aerial vehicles."…Unlike other flying insects their size, Mittal said mosquitoes have adapted their anatomy and flight physiology to solve the "complex multifactorial problem" of trying to fly and flirt at the same time.
(Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation. The last one fits BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA!)

A filament fit for space—silk is proven to thrive in outer space temperatures

The interdisciplinary team examined the behaviour and function of several animal silks cooled down to liquid nitrogen temperature of -196 C. The fibres included spider silks but the study focused on the thicker and much more commercial fibres of the wild silkworm Antheraea pernyi …It would appear that this study has far-reaching implications by suggesting a broad spectrum of novel applications for silks ranging from new materials for use in Earth's polar regions to novel composites for light-weight aeroplanes and kites flying in the strato- and meso-sphere to, perhaps, even giant webs spun by robot spiders to catch astro-junk in space .

Scurrying roaches help researchers steady staggering robots

To walk or run with finesse, roaches and robots coordinate leg movements via signals sent through centralized systems. Though their moving parts are utterly divergent, researchers have devised handy principles and equations to assess how both beasts and bots locomote and to improve robotic gait… Now, researchers have leveraged the bug's superb scurrying skills to create a cleverly simple method to assess and improve locomotion in robots.

Mosquito eye inspires artificial compound lens

Anyone who's tried to swat a pesky mosquito knows how quickly the insects can evade a hand or fly swatter. The pests' compound eyes, which provide a wide field of view, are largely responsible for these lightning-fast actions. Now, researchers have developed compound lenses inspired by the mosquito eye that could someday find applications in autonomous vehicles, robots or medical devices.

Leaping larvae! How do they do that without legs?

Attaching its head to its tail to form a ring, a 3-millimeter larva of the goldenrod gall midge squeezes some internal fluids into its tail section, swelling it and raising the pressure like an inner tube. When the adhesive bond between the head and tail can no longer hold, the tension is sprung, launching the worm into a high, tumbling flight that will carry it 20 to 30 body-lengths away in a tenth of a second at speeds comparable to a jumping insect with actual legs. The direction of flight is somewhat random and the worm-like larva bounces a bit on landing, but it's apparently none the worse for wear…But this "hydrostatic legless jumping," as it's known by a team of Duke researchers who studied the launches with ultra-high-speed cameras, is about 28 times more energy efficient (and a heck of a lot faster) than crawling like a regular old caterpillar…The latching mechanism formed by "adhesive microhairs" between each segment of the worm is apparently new, and the calculations about how much more efficient jumping is than crawling may be of interest to the field of soft robots.

What do dragonflies teach us about missile defense?

Research is examining whether dragonfly-inspired computing could improve missile defense systems, which have the similar task of intercepting an object in flight, by making on-board computers smaller without sacrificing speed or accuracy… Chance specializes in replicating biological neural networks -- brains, basically -- which require less energy and are better at learning and adapting than computers. Her studies focus on neurons, which are cells that send information through the nervous system. " I try to predict how neurons are wired in the brain and understand what kinds of computations those neurons are doing
(Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.)

Simulation explores how insects glean compass direction from skylight

Neural mechanisms could inspire designs for new skylight-based navigation tools for robots. A computational simulation suggests that insects may be capable of using the properties of light from the sky to determine their compass direction with an error of less than two degrees…Several insects, including honeybees, locusts, and monarch butterflies, use the position of the sun to guide their travel. Even when the sun is not visible, these insects can sense the polarization of light in the sky and use it to estimate the sun's position…" This highly accurate insect compass could potentially be copied for development of a component in a cheap and self-contained positioning system," Gkanias says. "Such a system could serve as an alternative to GPS for navigation of outdoor robots."
(Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.)

Insects feel persistent pain after injury, evidence suggests

The study in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances offers the first genetic evidence of what causes chronic pain in Drosophila (fruit flies) and there is good evidence that similar changes also drive chronic pain in humans. Ongoing research into these mechanisms could lead to the development of treatments that, for the first time, target the cause and not just the symptoms of chronic pain. If we can develop drugs or new stem cell therapies that can target and repair the underlying cause, instead of the symptoms, this might help a lot of people," said Associate Professor Neely, whose team of researchers is studying pain at the Charles Perkins Centre with the goal of developing non-opioid solutions for pain management.

New superomniphobic glass soars high on butterfly wings using machine learning

Glass for technologies like displays, tablets, laptops, smartphones, and solar cells need to pass light through, but could benefit from a surface that repels water, dirt, oil, and other liquids. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering have created a nanostructure glass that takes inspiration from the wings of the glasswing butterfly to create a new type of glass that is not only very clear across a wide variety of wavelengths and angles, but is also antifogging.
(Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.)

Going the distance: Brain cells for 3D vision discovered: Neurons in insect brains that compute 3D distance and direction found.

In stunning images captured under the microscope for the first time, the neurons were found in praying mantises… The Newcastle team intend to further develop their research to better understand the computation of the relatively simple brain of the praying mantis with the aim of developing simpler algorithms for machine and robot vision.

WVU Researchers discover chemicals in cicadas similar to those found in hallucinogenic mushrooms

These psychoactive compounds were just two of (about) 1,000 compounds found in these cicadas. Kasson said the compounds are important to the pharmaceutical industry, and in medicine. “Right now, we have some evidence that supports that these pathways maybe that make these compounds, are novel. If that’s the case, there could be other intermediate compounds that have pharmaceutical utility. So it’s possible that understanding these interactions with insects, actually will lead to discovery with regard to pharmaceuticals,” said Kasson.

Beewolves use a gas to preserve food

Food stored in warm and humid conditions gets moldy very quickly und thus becomes inedible or even toxic. To prevent this, we use refrigerators and freezers as well as various other methods of preservation. Animals do not have such technical appliances and therefore need to find other ways to preserve food. The European beewolf Philanthus triangulum, a solitary wasp species whose females hunt honey bees, has…a successful method of food preservation…Bioassays showed that beewolf eggs emit a gas that efficiently kills mold fungi….Which mechanism the eggs deploy is the subject of current investigations. The results may not only be interesting for basic research, but also for possible applications in human medicine.

Bees can link symbols to numbers, study finds

We know bees get the concept of zero and can do basic math. Now researchers have discovered they may also be capable of connecting symbols to numbers…It's a finding that sheds new light on how numerical abilities may have evolved over millennia (BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA!) and even opens new possibilities for communication between humans and other species…(T)he results have implications for what we know about learning, reversing tasks, and how the brain creates connections and associations between concepts. "Discovering how such complex numerical skills can be grasped by miniature brains will help us understand how mathematical and cultural thinking evolved in humans, and possibly, other animals." Studying insect brains offers intriguing possibilities for the future design of highly efficient computing systems…" When we're looking for solutions to complex problems, we often find that nature has already done the job far more elegantly and efficiently," he said. "Understanding how tiny bee brains manage information opens paths to bio-inspired solutions that use a fraction of the power of conventional processing systems."
(First red bold added to show the useless part that is only worthy of BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA!)
(Second red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation. Evolutionism dogma noted.)

Discovery of RNA transfer through royal jelly could aid development of honey bee vaccines

Researchers have discovered that honey bees are able to share immunity with other bees and to their offspring in a hive by transmitting RNA 'vaccines' through royal jelly and worker jelly. The jelly is the bee equivalent of mother's milk: a secretion used to provide nutrition to worker and queen bee larvae. The findings suggest new ways to protect bees against viruses and the deadly Varroa mite that have been responsible for the recent dramatic decline in honey bee populations. Since around one third of the human diet globally is dependent on honey bee pollination, we need solutions urgently to help maintain flourishing bee colonies, for our food security and sustainability…Dr Maori added: "Honey bees have evolved a type of 'glue' that binds RNA into granules, making it more stable and so able to be shared with other bees. If we can harness this technology, we might be able to use it to develop new 'vaccines' that could be used in agricultural settings, in particular to help immunise bees against the devastating losses being suffered by their colonies. "It is possible that this honey bee protein may even have applications, too, for new vaccines and medicines for humans."
(Red bold added to show the useless part that is only worthy of BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA!)

The architectural design of smart ventilation and drainage systems in termite nests

Many animals and plants have developed advanced physical structures and operational skills, which have inspired a number of design innovations. Among them, termite nests have long been investigated for ventilation and thermoregulation. Their structure maintains a stable temperature throughout the year and permits self-sustainable CO 2 exchange with the atmosphere for ventilation. These self-sustaining temperature and ventilation properties have been a key motivation for designing eco-friendly buildings.
(Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.  Evolutionism dogma noted.)
The above is not the same paper as the below.

Morphogenesis of termite mounds

Termite mounds are the result of the collective behavior of termites working to modify their physical environment, which in turn affects their behavior. During mound construction, environmental factors such as heat flow and gas exchange affect the building behavior of termites, and the resulting change in mound geometry in turn modifies the response of the internal mound environment to external thermal oscillations. Our study highlights the principles of self-organized animal architecture driven by the coupling of environmental physics to organismal behavior and might serve as a natural inspiration for the design of sustainable human architectures.
(Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.)

Froghoppers jump from smooth plant surfaces by piercing them with sharp spines

Attachment mechanisms of climbing animals provide inspiration for biomimetics, but many natural [adaptations-NOT] designs are still unexplored…When accelerating for jumps, froghoppers produce traction by piercing plant surfaces with sharp metal-enriched spines on their hind legs, deforming the cuticle plastically and leaving behind microscopic holes, like a biological nanoindenter…P iercing may represent a widespread attachment strategy among plant-living insects, promising inspiration for novel robotic grippers and climbers.
(Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.  Evolutionism dogma noted.)

Who's listening? Mosquitoes can hear up to 10 meters away

Until now, scientists believed that organisms required eardrums for long-range hearing, and that the feathery antennae with fine hairs that mosquitoes and some insects use to hear only worked at close distances of several centimeters (a few inches). A series of experiments has now provided neurophysiological and behavioral evidence that Aedes aegypti mosquitoes…can hear specific frequencies as far away as 10 meters (32 feet) or more…(T) he results…open the door for developing highly sensitive directional microphones and hearing aids that use fine hairs that sense the speed of air particles as they are jostled by passing soundwaves.

How bees stay cool on hot summer days

Honey bees live in large, congested nest cavities, often in tree hollows with narrow openings. When it gets hot inside the nest, a group of bees crawl to the entrance and use their wings as fans to draw hot air out and allow cooler air to move in. The question is, how do bees self-organize into these living ventilating units? Researches…have developed a framework that explains how bees use environmental signals to collectively cluster and continuously ventilate the hive….(B)ees have (evolutionist propaganda omitted and replaced with: the ability) to harness and exploit flows and forces and collectively solve physiological problems such as mechanical stabilization, thermoregulation and ventilation on scales much larger than the individual…"In everything from large HVAC systems to the fans that cool our computers, bioinspired, self-organizing systems may be able to adapt and respond to specific demands better than current systems."

Bees can count with small number of nerve cells in their brains, research suggests

Bees can solve seemingly clever counting tasks with very small numbers of nerve cells in their brains…In order to understand how bees count, the researchers simulated a very simple miniature 'brain' on a computer with just four nerve cells--far fewer than a real bee has…(T)he researchers propose that this clever behaviour makes the complex task of counting much easier, allowing bees to display impressive cognitive abilities with minimal brainpower. Previous studies have shown bees can count up to four or five items, can choose the smaller or the larger number from a group and even choose 'zero' against other numbers when trained to choose 'less'…This finding demonstrates that the intelligence of bees, and potentially other animals, can be mediated by very small nerve cells numbers, as long as these are wired together in the right way. The study could also have implications for artificial intelligence because efficient autonomous robots will need to rely on robust, computationally inexpensive algorithms, and could benefit from employing insect-inspired scanning behaviours.
(Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.)

Engineers repurpose wasp venom as an antibiotic drug

The venom of insects such as wasps and bees is full of compounds that can kill bacteria… After performing a systematic study of the antimicrobial properties of a toxin normally found in a South American wasp, researchers at MIT have now created variants of the peptide that are potent against bacteria but nontoxic to human cells… The researchers have begun creating additional variants that they hope will be able to clear infections at lower doses.
(Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism.)

How do flying bees make perfect turns?

If you've ever lost your balance standing on a bus that takes a sharp turn at speed or felt your car skid when you drive around a corner too fast, you've experienced the effects of centrifugal force. Turning while simultaneously moving forwards creates a force that pulls the turning object away from the direction of the turn. The faster you're going and the sharper the turn, the more centrifugal force you experience, and the more likely you are to lose control…The study by PhD student Mr Mahadeeswara Mandiyam and Professor Srinivasan at the Queensland Brain Institute, UQ, used a high-speed-multi-camera system to capture video footage of bees… he high speed videos were analysed mathematically to study the flight behaviour of bees in the cloud. Professor Srinivasan and Mr Mandiyam hoped to better understand the complex manoeuvre of maintaining a desired flight trajectory while turning without disruption from centrifugal force. The bees' speed, acceleration, and sharpness of turn were all computed using vector calculus to investigate how bees maintain control while turning…  They hope to use a greater understanding of bee flight behaviour to incorporate in aerial robots and ground vehicles with advanced flight control and navigational abilities. "Our main goal is to see how bees avoid collisions… This understanding can be used in robotics, and also applies to aircraft, as well as ground vehicles…"We can apply our knowledge of how bees perform coordinated turns to these situations to avoid sideslips in aerial and ground vehicles."

Bioluminescent substance discovered in Brazilian cave worm larva

Identification of the first luciferin-producing insect belonging to the order Diptera in the Neotropics paves the way for researchers to investigate other biochemical functions of the molecule in these organisms...In addition to captivating people who find bioluminescent species at night, the light-emitting substances they produce are widely used for research in medicine, biotechnology, manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals. Genetic engineering to mark specific cells with bioluminescent substances allows them to be easily observed under a microscope, for example. "Bioluminescent substances are used to mark cancer cells, test sperm viability, and detect pathogens and even heavy metals in water samples," said Viviani, who chairs the International Society for Bioluminescence & Chemiluminescence (ISBC). Once it has been fully characterized, the new luciferin may also be used in analytical applications, including as an indicator of specific cells. "We don't yet know all its potential applications, but its chemical composition has peculiarities that could lead to many other uses," Viviani said.

How wasp and bee stinger designs help deliver the pain

Next time you're stung by a wasp or a honeybee, consider the elegantly designed stinger that caused you so much pain. Researchers found that the stingers of the two species are about five times softer at the tip than at the base to make it easier to pierce skin. The stingers are harder closer to the insect's body so they don't bend too much, or break…"Wasps and bees don't want to create too much pain to start with, and we believe the softer tip makes it less likely that you'll notice the initial insertion," said Bharat Bhushan, Ohio Eminent Scholar and Howard D. Winbigler Professor of mechanical engineering at The Ohio State University…"If you felt the pain right away, you would react and swat the insect away before it finished injecting its venom."…

"When you really study these stingers, you see how elegant and mechanically durable they are.”… "Other words might come to mind first," he said with a laugh. "But when you're looking at it from an engineer's perspective, the stingers really are elegantly designed."…

In both species, the stingers have two serrated lancets (think needles) that project from the end of the stinger. The lancets move back and forth to pierce the skin. A channel between the two delivers venom. Imaging showed the stingers had hollow spaces to reduce weight while maintaining strength. "It is a clever design to optimize the mechanical properties of the stingers without being too heavy.”…

As an engineer who has made a career of designing products inspired by nature, Bhushan has a practical reason. He believes scientists can design a better, painless microneedle for medical purposes by mimicking some of the design elements of bees, wasps and mosquitos.

For example, he thinks needles should be designed to be softer at the tip to lessen the pain at insertion -- just like the insects' pointy parts. Health care practitioners could even use this study's findings on the best angle for stinger insertion to guide their use of a new microneedle.

"We're trying to put what we learned about insect stingers to productive use by imagining the design of a better microneedle," Bhushan said.
(Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism.)

Shaking the swarm

A team of Harvard University researchers spent months shaking and rattling swarms of thousands of honey bees to better understand how bees collectively collaborate to stabilize structures in the presence of external loads…"Our study shows how living systems harness physics to solve complex problems on scales much larger than the individual…We demonstrated that bees can harness the physicality of the environment solve a global mechanical stability problem by using local sensing and action" This research follows earlier work by the group that showed how bees can also collectively maintain the temperature of a cluster using local sensing and actuation to prevent overheating or overcooling. Bee swarms form when a queen bee strikes out with a large group of worker bees to form a new colony. While scouts look for a new nest location, the colony forms a living, breathing structure, made of their own bodies, on a nearby tree branch. These clusters maintain their structure and stability for days in the presence of wind, rain and other external loads… This research could have broader implications for how we think of control algorithms and collaborative machines. "When we build machines or materials, we use simple control algorithms that are top down, where you have a centralized command that controls all of the moving parts in the machine," said Peters. "But in this system, the bees are achieving this coordinated change in shape without a central controller. Instead, they are like a set of distributed agents with their own controllers and they have to find a way to coordinate without explicit long-range communication. By studying these types of systems, it could inspire new ways of thinking about distributed control of systems as opposed to traditional centralized control."
(Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.)

A cyborg cockroach could someday save your life

A tiny neuro-controller created by researchers at the University of Connecticut could provide more precise control of futuristic biobots, such as cyborg cockroaches that are already being tested for use in search and rescue missions inside collapsed buildings. Scientists have spent the better part of the past decade exploring ways to tether live insects to miniaturized computer hardware so they can manipulate an insect's movement. Such possibilities are of interest to the U.S. Department of Defense, search and rescue teams, and others. Success has been limited and numerous technological challenges continue to exist. This is mainly due to the tremendous difficulty building robotic systems at such small scale and the challenge interfacing electronic hardware with the insect's biological nerve tissue to initiate movement. The neuro-controller micocircuit developed at UConn is part of a tiny electronic 'backpack' that can be attached to the insect with its wires connected to the insect's antennae lobes. By sending slight electrical charges to neural tissue in either the insect's left or right antenna lobe, operators can trick the insect into thinking it has detected an obstacle, causing it to move in another direction. A charge sent to the right antenna makes a cockroach move left. Likewise, a charge to the left antenna makes it move right.
(Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.)

Eating crickets can be good for your gut, according to new clinical trial

A new clinical trial shows that consuming crickets can help support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and that eating crickets is not only safe at high doses but may also reduce inflammation in the body… "There is a lot of interest right now in edible insects," Stull says. "It's gaining traction in Europe and in the U.S. as a sustainable, environmentally friendly protein source compared to traditional livestock." More than 2 billion people around the world regularly consume insects, which are also a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats… Raising insects for protein not only helps protect the environment, but also offers a more healthful option than meat in many wealthy countries with high-meat diets… "Most of the insects consumed around the world are wild-harvested where they are and when they are available," says Stull, who has eaten insects -- including caterpillars, cicadas, grasshoppers and beetle larvae -- all over the world. "People love flying termites in Zambia, which come out only once or twice a year and are really good; they taste like popcorn and are a crunchy, oily snack."

Looking to mosquitoes for a way to develop painless microneedles

A mosquito can insert a needle-like probe into your skin and draw blood for several minutes without you even noticing. Researchers at The Ohio State University believe we can learn from nature's design of the mosquito to create a painless microneedle for medical purposes…W e can use what we have learned from mosquitoes as a starting point to create a better microneedle… They identified four keys to how the insects pierce us without pain: use of a numbing agent; a serrated design to the "needle"; vibration during the piercing; and a combination of soft and hard parts on the proboscis. We can incorporate all of these elements into a microneedle design...Bhushan has long used nature as a guide to creating better products, including high-tech surfaces inspired by butterfly wings…"We used our engineering background to characterize the parts of the mosquito to figure out how they may contribute to painless piercing,.."We have the materials and knowledge to create a microneedle like this," Bhushan said.
(Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.)

Cockroach milk is packed full of nutrients, tastes like cow's milk, experts say

According to 2016 research, milk found from the Australian native Pacific beetle cockroach was found to contain protein sequences packed with essential amino acids, proteins, fats, and sugars…Where can you get your hands on this special beverage? South African company Gourmet Grubb reportedly sells Entomilk, a milk that comes from sustainably farmed insects.  They also make ice cream with insect milk in case you're looking for something a little more sweet. Recently, Canada's largest grocer, Loblaw Companies Ltd., started picking up cricket powder at local grocery stores.

Researchers mimic comet moth's silk fibers to make 'air-conditioned' fabric

Fabrics made from silkworm fibers have long been treasured for their beautiful luster and refreshing coolness. Columbia Engineering researchers have discovered that fibers produced by the caterpillars of a wild silk moth, the Madagascar comet moth (Argema mittrei), are far superior in terms of brilliance and cooling ability. Not only do the comet moth's cocoon fibers have outstanding cooling properties, they also have exceptional capabilities for transmitting light signals and images. Fabrics made from silkworm fibers have long been treasured for their beautiful luster and refreshing coolness. Columbia Engineering researchers have discovered that fibers produced by the caterpillars of a wild silk moth, the Madagascar comet moth (Argema mittrei), are far superior in terms of brilliance and cooling ability. Not only do the comet moth's cocoon fibers have outstanding cooling properties, they also have exceptional capabilities for transmitting light signals and images…"The comet moth fibers are the best natural fibrous material to block sunlight we've ever seen. Synthesizing fibers possessing similar optical properties could have important implications for the synthetic fiber industry," said Yu, an expert in nanophotonics. "Another amazing property of these fibers is that they can guide light signals or even transport simple images from one end to the other end of the fiber. This means we might be able to use them as a biocompatible and bioresorbable material for optical signal and image transport in biomedical applications."

These bioinspired fibers could be used for making ultra-thin summer clothing with "air conditioning" properties. Just a few layers of the fibers could make a totally opaque textile that is a fraction of a sheet of paper in thickness. Yet it wouldn't become translucent when the wearer sweats, which is a common problem with conventional textiles. While sweat reduces the opaqueness of common fabrics by reducing the number of fiber-air interfaces that reflect light, it would not affect the nanoscale air voids embedded in the bioinspired fibers. In addition, ultra-thin apparel made of the "porous" fibers would promote cooling through a combination of sweat evaporation, air flow between the microenvironment of the human body and the exterior, and radiation of body heat to the external environment. "Thus, your clothes could give you the ultimate cooling experience through the collective effect of evaporative, convective, and radiative cooling," through the collective effect of evaporative, convective, and radiative cooling."

Butterfly wings inspire light-manipulating surface for medical implants

Early testing suggests that the nanopillar-equipped implant reduces biofouling tenfold compared to previous designs, thanks to this anti-biofouling property. Being able to avoid biofouling is useful for any implant regardless of its location in the body. The team plans to explore what other medical implants could benefit from their new nanostructures, which can be inexpensively mass produced.
(Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism. See the next entry for more.)

Why a Robot Can't Yet Outjump a Flea

When it comes to things that are ultrafast and lightweight, robots can't hold a candle to the fastest-jumping insects and other small-but-powerful creatures…In a study published April 27 in the journal Science, researchers describe a new mathematical model that could help explain how these and other tiny organisms generate their powerful strikes, chomps, jumps and punches. The model could also suggest ways to design small, nature-inspired robots that come closer to their biological counterparts in terms of power or speed…A short-legged insect called the froghopper, for example, has a bow-like structure called the pleural arch that acts like a spring. Latch-like protrusions on their legs control its release, allowing them to leap more than 100 times their body length despite their short legs. A person with that much power could jump nearly two football fields…While traditional mathematical models of performance take into account the inherent physical tradeoffs of muscle -- which can contract forcefully, or quickly, but not both -- they fail to factor in the tradeoffs inherent to springs and latch-like mechanisms as well…The model has major implications for engineers. It suggests that robots can’t yet outjump a flea in part because such quick, repeatable movements require components to be exquisitely fine-tuned to each other.

But the model gives researchers a tool to design small, fast-moving robots with more precisely matched components that work better together to enhance performance, said Sarah Bergbreiter, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland who makes jumping robots the size of an ant. “If you have a particular size robot that you want to design, for example, it would allow you to better explore what kind of spring you want, what kind of motor you want, what kind of latch you need to get the best performance at that size scale, and understand the consequences of those design choices.”
(Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism.)

World's oldest insect inspires a new generation of aerogels

A team of international scientists have created a new form of highly-efficient, low-cost insulation based on the wings of a dragonfly. The material, known as an aerogel, is the most porous material known to man and ultralight, with a piece the size of a family car weighing less than a kilogram… Now a team of experts led by Newcastle University, UK, has managed to cheaply replicate the process by mimicking the way in which the dragonfly dries out its wings…Publishing their findings today in the academic journal Advanced Materials, the team say the next step will be to scale up the process to create larger panels that can be used to insulate our homes and buildings…"The potential of this discovery in terms of reducing energy use and therefore our energy bills is really exciting… Their wings are a porous, layered structure similar to an aerogel and are so strong and light they can carry the insect up to 30 miles in an hour. "A dragonfly's wings are an ultralight aerogel -- making up less than 2% of the insect's total body weight -- and yet they are so strong they can carry the insect thousands of miles across oceans and between continents."… "Just like a dragonfly's wings, our aerogel material is made up of ultra-thin layers of silica which means we can create a stronger structure. The next step will be to scale up the process to produce panels of the insulation that can be used in homes and buildings to help reduce our energy use and ultimately, our bills."
(Bold red font added to show the hypocrisy of the headline written by a True Believer in Evolutionism.)

New camera inspired by butterfly eyes improves image-guided cancer surgery

By mimicking the intricate visual system of a butterfly, researchers have created a camera that provides surgeons with both a traditional color image as well as a near-infrared image that makes fluorescently labeled cancerous cells visible even under bright surgical lighting. The new camera is designed to help surgeons remove all the cancerous cells without damaging healthy tissue, making it less likely that the cancer will spread and reducing the need for multiple surgeries…”(W)e looked to nature's visual systems for inspiration”… The design uniquely solves the sensitivity problem by allowing each pixel to take in the number of photons needed to build up an image.

Earwigs and the Art of Origami

Every child knows about origami. The skill of this oriental art lies in folding a flat sheet of paper into different -- and in some cases highly complex -- structures. Examples of origami also exist in the natural world. The wing of an earwig is a perfect illustration: its elaborate design is far more ingenious than any humanmade structure. When open, the earwig wing expands ten times larger than when closed -- one of the highest folding ratios in the animal kingdom. The large wing area allows the insect to fly, while the compact way the wings retracts enables the creature to tunnel underground without damaging its wings. The wing design has another unique feature; however, in its open, locked state the wing remains stiff with no need for muscle power to provide stability. With just one "click," the wing folds into itself completely, without muscular actuation. Researchers at ETH Zurich and Purdue University have been studying the secret of the earwig's origami-like wings and have created an artificial structure that functions on the same principle. Their paper has just appeared in the journal Science… One potential application might be foldable electronics. Another area is space travel: solar sails for satellites or space probes that could be transported within a very small space and then unfurled to their full size at their place of use. Self-locking bioinspired origami structures like the earwig wing would save space, weight and energy, as they do not require any actuators or additional stabilisers. ETH researchers can also imagine more mundane uses, such as foldable tents, maps or package inserts.
(Bold red font added to show the hypocrisy of the headline written by a True Believer in Evolutionism.)

Discovered mode of drinking in mosquitoes carries biomedical implications

In addition to the biomedical implications of mosquito-borne disease transmission, the researchers also envision the possibility of mimicking the mosquito's two-pump system in a microfluidic device that could be used to deliver targeted drug therapy within the human body. "For these types of tiny devices, you might never have stumbled upon that functional design unless it's something you can see in nature."

Insects could help us find new yeasts for big business

Yeasts are tiny fungi -- but they play key roles in producing everything from beer and cheese to industrial chemicals and biofuels. And now scientists are proposing a new approach that could help these industries find new yeasts for use in their manufacturing processes.

Heat shock system helps bug come back to life after drying up

The larva of the sleeping chironomid, Polypedilum vanderplanki -- a mosquito-like insect that inhabits semi-arid areas of Africa -- is well known for being able to come back to life after being nearly completely desiccated, losing up to 97 percent of its body's water content…"One potential application of this finding will be in preserving cells outside the body in a dry state, if we can active the HSF gene. We now have a good understanding of how it works in this insect, so we will want to investigate if this is true for other organisms as well."

Digestive ability of ancient insects could boost biofuel development

Published in Nature Communications , the research reveals that the ability of some insects (firebrats) to efficiently digest cellulose could be exploited for industrial processes, such as the production of sustainable low carbon fuels to cut greenhouse gas emissions associated with fossil fuel use.

Honeybees and Web Hosting: What They Have in Common

Now, technology engineers have taken the study of bees’ work ethics one step further to come up with a system that has revolutionized the way things are done in the web hosting industry, to the tune of an estimated $50 billion. According to Thomas Seeley, a bee expert at Cornell University, industries like web hosting should copy the way honeybees forage and adopt their methods in order to become more efficient… The Honey Bee Algorithm details how honeybee colonies are organized to optimally forage for nectar, a pattern easily adaptable by web hosting companies to help streamline internet services…Following three years of developing a mathematical model based on the behavior of the honey bees’ foraging patterns, lead scientists Craig Tovey and Thomas Seeley got together to test it at the Cranberry Lake Biological Station in upstate New York… When the Honey Bee Algorithm is applied, hosting companies can boost their revenue and more efficiently allocate their server time. Each client can expect a boost in service as servers are optimized. That’s why today, thanks to a team of scientists who carefully studied honeybees and dared to emulate their work patterns, we can all access websites quickly and more efficiently then ever.

Spatial perception of odorants in cockroaches

The research collaboration, which brings together scientists from Konstanz and from the Japanese Universities of Sapporo and Tokyo, examines odour perception in the noctural American cockroach. As for most animals, olfactory information is very important to cockroaches. The American cockroach has two exceptionally well-developed antennae that enable it to take sequential probes of its olfactory environment. They are equipped with olfactory receptors that interact with specific olfactory molecules. Via the position of the receptors on the antennae -- which can grow to a length of four to five centimetres, which is the size of the cockroach's body -- the insects obtain information about the spatial position of an odorant…Ultimately, all of this will supply important information about the basic information processing mechanisms in the brain -- the human brain included.

Can a cockroach teach a robot how to scurry across rugged terrain?

"Where they live, you have all sorts of stuff around you, like dense vegetation or fallen leaves or branches or roots," Li said. "Wherever they go, they run into these obstacles. "We're trying to understand the principles of how they go through such a complex terrain, and we hope to then transfer those principles to advanced robots." Some of these roach-inspired improvements have already materialized.

3-D vision discovered in praying mantis

3D or stereo vision helps us work out the distances to the things we see. Each of our eyes sees a slightly different view of the world. Our brains merge these two views to create a single image, while using the differences between the two views to work out how far away things are…"This is a completely new form of 3D vision as it is based on change over time instead of static images," said behavioural ecologist, Dr Vivek Nityananda at Newcastle University. "In mantises it is probably designed to answer the question 'is there prey at the right distance for me to catch?'" As part of the wider research, a Newcastle University engineering student developed an electronic mantis arm which mimics the distinct striking action of the insect. Fellow team-member from the School of Engineering, Dr Ghaith Tarawneh adds, "Many robots use stereo vision to help them navigate, but this is usually based on complex human stereo. Since insect brains are so tiny, their form of stereo vision can't require much computer processing. This means it could find useful applications in low-power autonomous robots." (Bold red font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism.)

Mind-controlling molecules from wasp venom could someday help Parkinson's patients

Scientists have long studied venoms, such as that of the wasp, seeking out novel and potent molecules to treat disease, among other applications. In the case of the enigmatic wasp Ampulex compressa, it uses its venom in a two-pronged approach against the cockroach, with an initial sting to the thorax to paralyze the front legs and a subsequent sting directly to the brain. This second sting causes the roach first to vigorously groom itself, then to fall into a state of lethargy, allowing the wasp to do whatever it wants. This immobile state resembles symptoms of Parkinson's disease, and both may be related to dysfunction in the dopamine pathway…The researchers milked wasps for their venom and then analyzed the components using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. They identified a new family of alpha-helical peptides and named them ampulexins…Future work will focus on identifying cellular targets of ampulexins, and potentially generating a useful animal model for the study of Parkinson's disease treatments.

Urban insects are more resilient in extreme weather

A study led by Amy Savage, a Rutgers University-Camden assistant professor of biology, will help researchers understand how to make predictions and conservation decisions about how organisms living in cities will respond to catastrophic weather events…"It's very encouraging because it suggests that we may be able to make smart management decisions to mitigate the damaging effects of extreme weather events on urban ecosystems."

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

While engineers have had success building tiny, insect-like robots, programming them to behave autonomously like real insects continues to present technical challenges. A group of Cornell engineers has been experimenting with a new type of programming that mimics the way an insect's brain works, which could soon have people wondering if that fly on the wall is actually a fly…To speed development of the event-based algorithms, a virtual simulator was created by.. "The simulation is used both in testing the algorithms and in designing them," said Clawson, who helped has successfully developed an autonomous flight controller for the robot using biologically inspired programming that functions as a neural network.

Radar tracking reveals how bees develop a route between flowers

As bees gain foraging experience they continually refine both the order in which they visit flowers and the flight paths they take between flowers to generate better and better routes, according to researchers… Bumblebees start out knowing nothing about the terrain or where they can find food, so they must explore the landscape, discovering locations one by one and then face the challenge of integrating their spatial memories into an efficient route… "Understanding how small-brained animals like bees find efficient rules-of-thumb to accomplish complex and flexible behaviours has great potential to inform the development of artificial intelligence and advanced robots.

Insights on fast cockroaches can help teach robots to walk

The research showed that the change in gait at high speed and on a slippery surface was accompanied by a change from static to dynamic stabilization. This minimizes the need of the central nervous system to control the motion while attaining high energy efficiency. 'This discovery not only has far-reaching implications regarding the behaviour and ecology of insects and other arthropodes', says Weihmann. 'Our results can also contribute to solving some problems we still have with the movement of robots.'

Butterfly wing inspires photovoltaics: Light absorption can be enhanced by up to 200 percent

Sunlight reflected by solar cells is lost as unused energy. The wings of the butterfly Pachliopta aristolochiae are drilled by nanostructures (nanoholes) that help absorbing light over a wide spectrum far better than smooth surfaces. Researchers have now succeeded in transferring these nanostructures to solar cells and, thus, enhancing their light absorption rate by up to 200 percent...Thin-film PV modules represent an economically attractive alternative to conventional crystalline silicon solar cells, as the light-absorbing layer is thinner by a factor of up to 1000 and, hence, material consumption is reduced. Still, absorption rates of thin layers are below those of crystalline silicon cells. Hence, they are used in systems needing little power, such as pocket calculators or watches. Enhanced absorption would make thin-film cells much more attractive for larger applications, such as photovoltaics systems on roofs.

Electron microscopy provides clues into the colorful chemistry of dragonfly wings

Dazzling dragonfly wings may send poets rhapsodizing, but scientists yearn for a better understanding. In particular, they want to know the chemistry of the different layers giving rise to natural photonic crystals that help create color…David M. Carr, an engineer and senior scientist at PHI, brings to light the importance of nature's engineering and its applications in technology development. "Nature can often provide examples for engineering solutions. The whole field of biomimicry is devoted to learning from nature for potential solutions to difficult engineering problems," Carr said. "Every natural sample has unique features and a lot to teach us."

Cicada wings help researchers design better solar cells

Researchers have turned to cicada wings to design surfaces with highly antireflective properties, which have potential applications for solar cells, stealth surfaces, antifogging materials, and other optical applications…With hydrophilic properties, the surface easily forms hydrogen bonds with water molecules. Combined with the material's antireflective properties, this has the effect of preventing fog formation, suggesting potential applications for anti-fogging and self-cleaning optical materials. The researchers plan to explore these kinds of applications in future work. "In the future, our work is headed toward fabricating high-refractive-index materials with antireflective structures to study their multifunctional properties, such as antireflection, antibacterial activity, and superhydrophobicity," Zhang said.

How a Wasp Queen Fights to Become Leader

Some researchers believe that wasp behaviour has parallels to the way people behave. Aggression and dominance have been studied in many animals. Now the wasp, a social insect, can be instructive in the fields of opportunism, deceit, and punishment.

Left or right? Like humans, bees have a preference

Researchers at The University of Queensland's Queensland Brain Institute have found that honeybees have individually distinct biases in "left- and right-handedness" when flying through obstacles…"Flying insects constantly face the challenge of choosing efficient, safe and collision-free routes while navigating through dense foliage. "This finding could potentially be used as strategy for steering a fleet of drone aircraft," he said.

Synthetic material acts like an insect cloaking device

Scientists have long been aware that leaf hoppers extrude microparticles, called brochosomes, and wipe them on their wings. Because the particles are superhydrophobic, the leaf hopper's wings stay dry in wet conditions. What was not understood before the current work is that the brochosomes also allow leaf hoppers and their eggs to blend in with their backgrounds at the wavelengths of light visible to their main predators, such as the ladybird beetle…As an antireflective coating, this material could have applications in sensors and cameras, where capturing unwanted light reflection could increase the signal-to-noise ratio. This also could be particularly useful in telescopes. For solar cell applications, a coating of synthetic brochosomes could increase light capture at multiple wavelengths and from every angle due to the 3D soccer-ball-shaped structure of the spheres, making it unnecessary to build devices to track the sun.

A mosquito's secret weapon: a light touch and strong wings

How do mosquitoes land and take off without our noticing? Using high-speed video cameras, researchers have found part of the answer: mosquitoes' long legs allow them to slowly and gently push off, but their wings provide the majority of the lift, even when fully laden with a blood meal…"These studies may also give tips about how to build very, very small robots. That is a field where miniaturization is a Holy Grail," Chang said.

Brain study reveals how insects make beeline for home

Researchers have shed light on the complex navigation system that insects use to make their way home in a straight line following long, complex journeys. They have revealed how a network of neurons integrates every detail of changes in direction and distance covered on outbound journeys, and enables bees to return directly home. Bees use their vision to navigate, but until now little was known about what happens inside their brains -- which are smaller than a grain of rice -- as they perform this task… The findings could lead to the development of new algorithms for navigation in autonomous robots that do not require GPS or expensive computer systems…Professor Barbara Webb, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Informatics, who was involved in the study, said: "The most exciting part of this research was when computer modelling of the 'spaghetti' of connections between nerve cells revealed the elegant principle by which bees keep track of their position and steer back home. Understanding such a complex behaviour at the level of single neurons is an important step forward for the science of brain function."

Running roaches, flapping moths create a new physics of organisms

By analyzing the rules governing the locomotion of these creatures, "physics of living systems" researchers are learning how animals successfully negotiate unstable surfaces like wet sand, maintain rapid motion on flat surfaces using the advantageous mechanics of their bodies, and fly in ways that would never work for modern aircraft. The knowledge these researchers develop could be useful to the designers of robots and flying vehicles of all kinds… Engineered systems use feedback about the effects of their actions to adjust their future activities, and animals do the same to control their movement. Scientists can manipulate this feedback to understand how complex systems are put together and use the feedback to design experiments rather than just analyzing what is there… Animals are composed of many systems operating at multiple time scales simultaneously -- brain neurons, nerves and the individual fibers of muscles with molecular motors. These muscle fibers are arranged in an active crystalline lattice such that X-rays fired through them create a regular diffraction pattern. Understanding these multiscale living assemblages provides new insights into how animals manage complex actions.

MRSA-Killing Drugs From Cockroach, Locust Brains?

The next time you're about to zap a cockroach with bug-killing spray, think about this: that creepy crawler may actually help you beat infections. Powerful chemicals in the brains and nervous systems of the lowly cockroach, as well as the swarming locust, can lay waste to antibiotic-resistant staph and dangerous forms of E. coli bacteria, fueling hope that they might be the basis of new antibiotics to replace those rendered useless against these infectious species, according to British researchers.

Stick insect leads antibiotic hunt, Norwich researchers say

A microbe in the gut of a stick insect could help scientists to unravel the puzzle of antibiotic resistance… "If we can unravel that then it opens the way to understanding antibiotic resistance and this will enable us to build a chemical strategy against it. "It will also help us build into new antibiotics a mechanism to counter any resistance."

Butterfly Wing Optics Help to Cheaply Create Bright, Realistic Holograms

Color in nature is usually a product of pigments that absorb certain wavelengths of light and reflect others. But these butterflies boost the brilliance of their iridescent wings by bouncing light across microscales instead of absorbing it. As some wavelengths are canceled out through interference, a brilliant pure blue is reflected back to the viewer…Menon has launched a private company called PointSpectrum to continue developing the hologram technology, which he hopes will soon compete with bulky virtual reality headsets in providing immersive holographic experiences at theme parks, movie theaters, schools, and more.

Dragonfly brains predict the path of their prey

An article published today in the journal eLife by researchers at the University of Adelaide and Lund University has offered more insights into the complexity of brain processing in dragonflies than has previously been understood…"Our team is convinced that these results will have practical applications, especially in the development of artificial control and vision systems, such as self-steering vehicles and bionic vision."

Oxford scientists just solved the mystery of how mosquitos fly using super high-speed cameras

Despite solving the bumble bee paradox some time ago, which stated the bumble bee should not be able to fly under normal rules of aerodynamics, until now science was been unable to explain how mosquitoes managed to flap their wings through such a short angle and still produce enough lift… The team believes the technique could inspire innovative designs for micro-scale flying devices in future. "We have smallish drones but we have nothing down to the size of an insect and certainly not down to the size of a mosquito where the whole body is only a few millimetres long. And any of these small drones you can buy, which are normally quadcopters, they work really well when you fly them inside but as soon as you take them outside and there's the hint of a breeze or any gusts they tend to fall out of the sky or at least be very, very hard to control. Insects on the other hand deal really, really well with even quite windy conditions. So understanding how they can do this is going to be advantageous to us in the future," said Walker.

Biologist looks at butterflies to help solve human infertility

(An) interdisciplinary research led by Morehouse in the Morehouse Research Lab and Nathan Clark, biologist in the Clark Research Lab at the University of Pittsburgh looked closer at the complex structures and mechanisms within male butterfly ejaculates and the adaptive responses in the female butterfly reproductive tract. The researchers hope these study findings will aid in understanding the complex human reproductive cycle and the occasional problems that originate on a molecular level…By looking at reproduction as both a source of cooperation and conflict between the sexes, the researchers are finding clues from this study on a behavioral and molecular level that can be an important link for solving certain unexplained causes of human infertility.

Moth eyes inspire new screen coating, making reading in sunlight a lot easier

Screens on even the newest phones and tablets can be hard to read outside in bright sunlight. Inspired by the nanostructures found on moth eyes, researchers have developed a new antireflection film that could keep people from having to run to the shade to look at their mobile devices.

How do genes get new jobs? Wasp venom offers new insights

Amid the incredible diversity of living things on our planet, there is a common theme. Organisms need to acquire new genes, or change the functions of existing genes, in order to adapt and survive. How does that happen? "The great diversity of parasitoid venoms and abundance of these species (estimates run as high as 600,000 parasitoid species on earth), combined with the fact that parasitoid venoms (evo bunk deleted) (can) manipulate metabolic processes, suggests that they are potentially an immense untapped cornucopia for drug discovery."

Mystery of butterflies iridescent wing scales resolved

Who is not fascinated by the wonderful iridescent colours of butterfly wings? Those who want to find out more about this phenomenon will realise that often the colour is not generated by pigments, rather by periodic structures made of chitin, a structure-forming polysaccharide. These so-called photonic crystals give rise to structural colour by only reflecting specific wavelengths of the incoming solar spectrum…Photonic crystals are also relevant to modern materials science. These intriguing 3D structures with their unique optical properties may serve as prototypes for novel functional materials with applications in fields such as photovoltaics.

Wax worm caterpillar will eat plastic shopping bags: New solution to plastic waste?

Generally speaking, plastic is incredibly resistant to breaking down. That's certainly true of the trillion polyethylene plastic bags that people use each and every year. But researchers reporting in Current Biology on April 24 may be on track to find a solution to plastic waste. The key is a caterpillar commonly known as a wax worm…"We are planning to implement this finding into a viable way to get rid of plastic waste, working towards a solution to save our oceans, rivers, and all the environment from the unavoidable consequences of plastic accumulation."

Hair spacing keeps honeybees clean during pollination: Researchers quantify the cleaning process

According to the study, a honeybee can carry up to 30 percent of its body weight in pollen because of the strategic spacing of its nearly three million hairs. The hairs cover the insect's eyes and entire body in various densities that allow efficient cleaning and transport…."Our findings may also be used to create mechanical designs that help keep micro and nanostructured surfaces clean."

Termite gut holds a secret to breaking down plant biomass

In the Microbial Sciences Building at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the incredibly efficient eating habits of a fungus-cultivating termite are surprising even to those well acquainted with the insect's natural gift for turning wood to dust. According to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, when poplar wood undergoes a short, 3.5-hour transit through the gut of the termite, the emerging feces is almost devoid of lignin, the hard and abundant polymer that gives plant cells walls their sturdiness. As lignin is notorious for being difficult to degrade, and remains a costly obstacle for wood processing industries such as biofuels and paper, the termite is the keeper of a highly sought after secret: a natural system for fully breaking down biomass… . Future research will focus on determining which enzymes or bacterial systems might be at work in the gut. If that super enzyme or process can be replicated outside of the termite, it could result in a dramatic improvement in the way we process wood and make biofuels, improving economics and cutting energy use.

Honey bees have sharper eyesight than we thought

"Today, honey bees are still a fascinating model among scientists, in particular neuroscientists," Dr Rigosi says. "Among other things, honey bees help to answer questions such as: how can a tiny brain of less than a million neurons achieve complex processes, and what are its utmost limits? In the last few decades it has been shown that bees can see and categorize objects and learn concepts through vision, such as the concept of 'symmetric' and 'above and below'… "Importantly, these findings could also be useful in our work on designing bio-inspired robotics and robot vision, and for basic research on bee biology," he says.

Research unravels mysteries of mouthparts of butterflies

Imagine that the way flies and butterflies drink nectar and other fluids can be imitated for use in medicine, potentially to deliver life-saving drugs to the body -- and also how this method can save their own lives in times of drought. (The concluding paragraph of this report contains laughable non-science homage to evolutionism.)

Mosquitoes wing it: New research shows how

The unique mechanisms involved in mosquito flight have been shared for the first time in a new Oxford University collaboration, which could inform future aerodynamic innovations, including tiny scale flying tech…Understanding the mechanisms that enable mosquitos and other flying insects to fly in their unique way, could support the development of aerodynamic innovations such as tiny scale flying tech, like piezoelectric actuators.

Neural Summation in the Hawkmoth Visual System Extends the Limits of Vision in Dim Light

Most of the world’s animals are active in dim light and depend on good vision for the tasks of daily life. Many have (evolutionist propaganda omitted and replaced with “designed”) that permit a performance superior to that of manmade imaging devices ]. In insects, a major model visual system, nocturnal species show impressive visual abilities ranging from flight control, to color discrimination, to navigation using visual landmarks or dim celestial compass cues…Moreover, these strategies may be of benefit not only to animals, but also to manmade seeing systems optimized for variable light levels, by implementing algorithms that mimic these strategies in video processing software.

Insects inspire crash-proof drone

A drone with wasp-like wings can bounce back into shape after crashing. Drone makers often try to protect their devices by using stiff, bulky frames, but these tend to fail during high-speed impacts. Conversely, wasps have wings with flexible joints that allow the wings to deform during collisions. Stefano Mintchev and his colleagues at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne created a remote-controlled drone) with flexible fibreglass arms. Combining rigid and soft materials into one device could help to improve the resilience of mobile robots, the authors say.
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

Water-repellent nanotextures found to have excellent anti-fogging abilities

Some insect bodies have (Useless evolution reference deleted.--Karl) the abilities to repel water and oil, adhere to different surfaces, and eliminate light reflections. Scientists have been studying the physical mechanisms underlying these remarkable properties found in nature and mimicking them to design materials for use in everyday life. Several years ago, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory developed a nanoscale surface-texturing method for imparting complete water repellency to materials -- a property inspired by insect exoskeletons that have tiny hairs designed to repel water by trapping air…Now,…they have further shown that the optimized nanotextures have excellent anti-fogging abilities…(T)he research provides a fundamental understanding that may inform new designs for condensing coils of steam turbine power generators, car and aircraft windshields, and other materials prone to fogging…Scientists have previously observed that the wings of cicadas, which are covered by nanosized cone-shaped textures, have the ability to repel fog by causing water droplets to spontaneously jump off their surface -- a phenomenon caused by the efficient conversion of surface energy to kinetic energy when two droplets combine. Motivated by this example from nature (“Nature” is a True Believer in Evolutionism substitute for “God.—Karl), the team investigated how reducing texture size and changing texture shape impacts the anti-fogging ability of a model surface.
Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.

The value of nutrition and exercise, according to a moth

Quick! Name the top-performing athletes in the animal kingdom. Cheetah? Try again. Blue whale? Nope. Here's a clue: If you take a walk in the desert on a moonlit night, you might see them, darting from flower to flower and hovering in midair: moths of the hawkmoth family (Sphingidae)… To extract nectar from a flower, they must hover in front of the flower before darting off to the next one. But how can these organisms perform such feats on a diet that's mostly sugar? New research by University of Arizona biologists not only offers an explanation, but also suggests that these animals stay healthy not despite, but because of, their sugary diet… Researchers in the lab of Goggy Davidowitz in the Department of Entomology in the UA's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences discovered that hawkmoths (also known as Manduca moths) have (evolution tripe deleted) a strategy that helps them minimize the muscle damage inflicted by the oxidative stress generated during sustained flight…The team found that the insects actually use the sugar in their diet to make their own antioxidants. They accomplish this by shunting the carbohydrates they consume to a metabolic pathway that evolved early on in the evolution of life: the pentose phosphate pathway. Humans, too, have this pathway, but it cannot, on its own, produce all the antioxidants needed, which is why athletes drink antioxidant-laced sports drinks and parents tell their children to eat their veggies… "Manduca is a well-suited model system to study this metabolic pathway, which is the same for bacteria and sequoia trees," Levin explains. "If we understand how the moth is doing it, you can find out how we do it. And we can learn about what goes wrong with our sugar consumption."

Biomimicry: Beaks on trains and flipper-like turbines

Dragonflies that can propel themselves in any direction, sharks with skin with tiny scales that help them swim faster, termites able to build dens that always keep a steady and comfortable temperature inside - those examples are just a drop in the ocean of amazing nature-designed solutions… Businesses are usually interested in the first two categories, she adds - and a great example of the shape-based type is the Mirasol displays produced by a US mobile phone chip maker, Qualcomm. Unlike regular screens with backlight or e-ink, these displays, which are still being developed, create colour by mimicking the way a butterfly's wings reflect sunlight…The displays play video just like any other tablet or smartphone, but have a much longer battery life and softer-for-the-eyes effect of e-ink readers. "The innovation has been inspired by the same natural principles that enable the reflective shimmer you see from a butterfly's wings or a peacock's feather," says Cheryl Goodman, senior marketing director of Qualcomm. She explains that all the displays need for illumination is ambient light, thus being "both low power and viewable in a variety of lighting environments, including direct sunlight". The company says that the products are pretty much ready and just need some final touches before appearing on the market - with a number of firms already toying with idea of using them in their products.

Ants stomp, termites tiptoe: Predator detection by a cryptic prey

"We discovered termites are quieter than ants, although there is one specific type of ant that hunts on its own, therefore has to be quiet. It is almost as silent as termites. Interestingly, another termite species that specialises in stealing food of other termites is also much quieter than its host." Why is this knowledge important? Learning how termites extract and synthesise a specific sound/vibration signal amidst a cacophony of other sounds could lead to advances in technologies based on acoustic signatures, Dr Oberst says. Termites are highly cryptic masters of surveillance and concealment. Those in defence and counter-espionage could learn from their unique skills, the researchers say.

Dragonfly wings can rip apart bacteria without antibiotics

Special bacteria-killing surfaces constitute a highly active area of research and development. Strategies to construct them vary widely…That latter example, which falls into a broad category known as nano-textured surfaces (NTS), is of particular interest, because it also exists in nature. The nanostructure of black silicon is very similar to that of dragonfly wings.  And just like their elemental counterpart, dragonfly wings kill bacteria…Gaining insights into how nature works will invariably help those scientists wishing to mimic it. And it provides an interesting explanation for why dragonfly wings are so clean.

Moth gut bacterium defends its host by making antibiotic

Nearly half of all insects are herbivores, but their diets do not consist of only plant material. It is not uncommon for potentially harmful microorganisms to slip in during a feast. In a study published on January 19 in Cell Chemical Biology, researchers report that these insects use an ironic strategy to resist microbial infections. A bacterial species commonly found in the gut of the cotton leafworm and other moths secretes a powerful antimicrobial peptide, killing off competitors while defending its host against pathogens…In future studies, the researchers will examine whether similar mechanisms exist in other insect species and look for additional toxic compounds that shape the microbiome during host development. In the end, the findings could have widespread implications for agriculture and health. For example, antimicrobial peptides could be used as food preservatives, and understanding the role of indigenous gut residents could contribute to the development of novel biocontrol strategies against herbivorous insect pests. "Our study also provides interesting approaches for medical research," Shao says. "Many conventional antibiotics are facing increasing problems of resistance. (evolutionism tripe deleted) (B)acteriocins have great potential as alternatives to conventional antibiotics."

Bug eyes: Tiny glasses confirm 3D vision in insects

Study leader, Jenny Read, Professor of Vision Science who is supported by the Leverhulme Trust said: “Despite their minute brains, mantises are sophisticated visual hunters which can capture prey with terrifying efficiency. We can learn a lot by studying how they perceive the world. “Better understanding of their simpler processing systems helps us understand 3D vision, and could lead to possible new algorithms for 3D depth perception in computers."… The Newcastle University team will now continue the research examining the algorithms used for depth perception in insects to better understand human vision and to develop new ways of adding 3D technology to computers and robots.
( "So much is still waiting to be discovered in this system. If we find that the way mantises process 3D vision is very different to the way humans do it, then that could open up all kinds of possibilities to create much simpler algorithms for programming 3D vision into robots." (Note: Evolutionist propaganda altered from “ how 3D vision evolved” and “how human vision evolved” to fit real science. Notice, nothing of value changed. See blue font. The word “created” was italicized and put in red font to show how that True Believers in Evolutionism have to Tacitly Admit Creation. Karl)

Raw materials for meatballs, falafel from mealworms and crickets

A research team has developed food ingredients from mealworms and crickets which, due to their promising structure and flavor, have the potential to be used in the manufacture of foods such as meatballs and falafel…Because insect fractions effectively bind water and fat, they are particularly suitable as ingredients in various solid foods. The fractions were tested as a raw material for meatballs and falafel balls in VTT's test kitchen, by replacing 5-18% of meatball or falafel dough with insect fractions. Insects are rich in high-quality protein -- a small addition of the insect fractions into falafel dough even tripled the protein content of falafel balls. Many consumers and the food industry are already interested in insects as a dietary source of protein. However, their industrial exploitation will require identifying the characteristics of insect raw materials and developing them into a form that is suitable for use in the food industry.

Honeybee memories: Another piece of the Alzheimer's puzzle?

A breakdown of memory processes in humans can lead to conditions such as Alzheimer's and dementia. By looking at the simpler brain of a honeybee, new research published in Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, moves us a step towards understanding the different processes behind long-term memory formation…"Honeybees have an amazing capacity to learn and remember," says the researcher. "They can count up to four, and orientate themselves by learning patterns and landmarks. They are also social insects that interact, teach and learn, making them successful foragers. Bees remember how to find a food source, how good the source was, and how to return to the hive." As such, the honeybee can form complex memories through processes much like those happening in human brains. But, the honeybee brain is simpler and they have a smaller genome. This makes them an ideal model for investigating how the different processes needed for long-term memories happen…"By understanding how changes to the epi-genome accumulate, manifest and influence brain function, we may, in the future, be able to develop treatments for brain diseases that also develop over a lifetime.”

Honey bee teenagers speed up the aging process of their elders

Despite her title, the queen is not deciding who does what in the honey bee colony. How work is distributed between nestmates in these societies is not fully understood….The newly discovered role of young workers in honey bee social organisation adds to our knowledge of how demography shapes colony functioning. 'These social regulation mechanisms of food collection allow the fast adaptation of the colony to a changing environment'…These findings are significant for our understanding of social organization in insects, which often inspires technological innovations. They also provide information on general aging processes beyond social insects. Indeed, honey bees are used as model system to understand aging in other organisms, including humans…In addition to producing honey, wax, propolis and royal jelly, honey bees contribute to the pollination of a large variety of commercial food crops -- a service valued at over 150 billions Euros globally. Moreover, honey bees together with other insects pollinate many wild flowers and are therefore central to the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems, of which the economical value is order of magnitudes higher.

Could honey bee brood be the future of food?

Honey bee brood -- the larvae and pupae of drones -- has great potential as a food source. It is already eaten as a delicacy in many countries, including Mexico, Thailand and Australia. It has a nutty flavor with a crunchy texture when eaten cooked or dried, and is a versatile ingredient used in soups and egg dishes. It also has high nutritional value, similar to beef in terms of protein quality and quantity. With human population set to reach 9 billion by 2050, eating insects is gaining attention as a possible way to feed the world. A paper published in the Journal of Apicultural Research shows how honey bee brood -- the larvae and pupae of drones -- has great potential as a food source.

Tricking moths into revealing the computational underpinnings of sensory integration

Our nervous systems are remarkable translators, channeling information from many sources and initiating appropriate behavioral responses. But though we know how a lot about how neurons work, scientists do not fully understand how the nervous system integrates stimuli from different senses. You may smell smoke and feel heat, but how does the brain combining and interpret these different stimuli, signaling you to phone the fire department? It turns out that insects are attractive models to investigate questions about integrating information from different sensory pathways.

The buzz about edible bugs: Can they replace beef?

The researchers analyzed grasshoppers, crickets, mealworms and buffalo worms for their mineral contents and estimated how much of each nutrient would likely get absorbed if eaten, using a lab model of human digestion. The insects had varying levels of iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese and zinc. Crickets, for example, had higher levels of iron than the other insects did. And minerals including calcium, copper and zinc from grasshoppers, crickets and mealworms are more readily available for absorption than the same minerals from beef. The results therefore support the idea that eating bugs could potentially help meet the nutritional needs of the world's growing population, the researchers say.

Cicada wings inspire antireflective surfaces

A team of Shanghai Jiao Tong University researchers has used the shape of cicada wings as a template to create antireflective structures fabricated with one of the most intriguing semiconductor materials, titanium dioxide (TiO 2). The antireflective structures they produced are capable of suppressing visible light -- 450 to 750 nanometers -- at different angles of incidence. Why cicada wings? The surfaces of the insect's wings are composed of highly ordered, tiny vertical "nano-nipple" arrays, according to the researchers. As they report this week in Applied Physics Letters, from AIP Publishing, the resulting biomorphic TiO 2 surface they created with antireflective structures shows a significant decrease in reflectivity.

'Shadow method' reveals locomotion secrets of water striders

Intrigued by the floating mechanisms of water striders and the updated Archimedes’ principle, which states that floating force equals the expelled liquid volume, researchers sought to discover how the pressed depth and supporting force of water surface acted upon a water strider’s six legs…And don't be surprised to see advanced bionic robots based on the locomotion principles of small insects in the near future -- as soon as techniques to fabricate these structures and their control and powering systems can be developed.

String pulling bees provide insight into spread of culture

Bumblebees can learn to pull strings for food and pass on the ability to a colony…bees were able to solve the problem of pulling the string to reach a sugar water reward by themselves while most others could learn to pull the string when trained…Naïve bees were then able to learn the task by observing a trained demonstrator bee while this skill was passed down through several generations of learners, ensuring its longevity in the population…"Despite the obvious differences between humans and other animals, understanding social learning and culture in animals holds a key to understanding the…roots of the peculiarities of social learning and culture in humans."… "We are ultimately interested in finding out what might be possible neural solutions to underpin such refined skills in bees. How can they do it with such small brains, and how can their miniature nervous systems manage such a diversity of behaviours and cognitive tasks?

Giant Thai insect reveals clues to human heart disease

What can a Thai water bug teach us about our muscles, especially the heart? A lot, says Professor of Biological Science Kenneth Taylor. New research by Taylor published in Science Advances gives scientists better insight into how the heart muscle works and how sometimes it fails… Scientists have long examined the flight muscles from Lethocerus indicus as a way to better understand how the human heart works. Both the insect's flight muscle and a mammal's heart beat rhythmically…This detailed image "shakes up the muscle field," Taylor said. He hopes this breakthrough leads to novel treatments for cardiomyopathy in the future.

Good food puts bees in good mood

After bumblebees drink a small droplet of really sweet sugar water, they behave like they are in a positive emotion-like state, scientists have discovered… Further experiments indicate that neurochemicals involved in emotional processing in humans may play a role in the emotion-like behaviours seen in bees. The researchers hope the results will prompt further investigation into how small rewards affect bees perception of the world…and determine the underlying mechanisms of emotional states in the brain.

Hearing the same sound twice in each ear helps insects locate their mates

n incredibly advanced hearing system which enables a group of insects to listen to the same sound twice with each ear, helping them to locate the sound's origin with pinpoint accuracy, has been discovered…As these insects are too small to have ears in their heads, their location in the legs coupled with the tubing system allows the insect to hear a sound four times; twice in each ear…"Understanding this highly sensitive and very delicate mechanism provides a fascinating insight into how these insects use their ears to locate potential mates and might also inspire other areas of research, such as engineering or micro-robotics."

Gut bacteria explain insects' tolerance to a toxic diet

The microbial communities of toxic plant feeders in the Albufera lake in Valencia, Spain have been the focus of recent research. Aside from explaining the insects’ tolerance to a toxic diet, the findings may have applications in bioremediation: a waste management technique that involves the use of organisms to remove or neutralize pollutants from a contaminated materials.

Insects are helping us develop the future of hearing aids

Hearing aids are still large, uncomfortable and as yet unable to deliver the rich and wonderful sounds we take for granted. Yet there may be a new way for us to replace damaged hearing from an unlikely source – the insect world…Could studying crickets allow us to learn something about how to design a small speaker that is also loud, just as you need for a hearing aid?...Among the best studied insects in bio-acoustics is the locust…Interestingly, some insects are even making us question what exactly a microphone can be. Mosquitoes and fruit flies, as examples…Biology, medicine and engineering have traditionally been quite separate disciplines. But by combining them, as we have in these projects, we can develop new engineering solutions…there’s plenty more inspiration that could come from our miniature mechanical specialists, the insects.

Natural scale caterpillar soft robot is powered and controlled with light

Researchers at the Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw, using the liquid crystal elastomer technology, originally developed in the LENS Institute in Florence, demonstrated a bioinspired micro-robot capable of mimicking caterpillar gaits in natural scale… For decades scientists and engineers have been trying to build robots mimicking different modes of locomotion found in nature. Most of these designs have rigid skeletons and joints driven by electric or pneumatic actuators. In nature, however, a vast number of creatures navigate their habitats using soft bodies -- earthworms, snails and larval insects can effectively move in complex environments using different strategies… Designing soft robots calls for a completely new paradigm in their mechanics, power supply and control.

Luna moth's long tail could confuse bat sonar through its twist Researchers at the University of Washington and Johns Hopkins University took a detailed look at the acoustics of the common luna moth, to see how long tails could throw off predators that use echolocation to pursue prey. The research advances understanding of predator-prey interactions, insect behavior and evolution. The study could also shed light on how to track sonar targets -- or evade sonar detection -- in other settings.

Radar tracking reveals the 'life stories' of bumblebees as they forage for food

Bees provide an invaluable service to both natural and agricultural ecosystems by pollinating flowers. Understanding how they use the space available to them, and how and when they find food, will provide valuable insights into how to manage landscapes to benefit plants, insects and agricultural crops.

Firefly Light Helps Destroy Cancer Cells;

How honey bees 'telescope' their abdomens

Honey bees are able to wiggle their abdomens in a variety of ways…Specialized membranes that connect a honey bee's abdominal segments are thicker on the top of the abdomen than on the bottom, allowing curling in just one direction. Honey bee abdomens contain up to nine overlapping segments that are similar to little armored plates. A thin, flexible layer of cells called the folded intersegmental membrane (FIM) connects the tough outer plates, allowing each concentric segment not just to attach to its neighbor, but to slide into the next one…a design that the paper's authors suggest is ripe for exploration by more engineers, perhaps for use in aircraft design or other applications.

Flying insects defy aerodynamic laws of airplanes, researchers find

The maneuvers of flying insects are unmatched by even the best pilots, and this might be due to the fact that these critters don't obey the same aerodynamic laws as airplanes, a team of researchers has found…The net force that results depends on the flight speed as well as the flapping motions, all of which the authors include in a new drag law. (T)he authors think that their findings could help guide the design of tiny flying robots that mimic the wing motions of insects.

Like humans, lowly cockroach uses a GPS to get around, scientists find

Due to their simpler brain, further studies on cockroaches that would be difficult--if not impossible--on mammals may yield new insights into how humans orient themselves and navigate. Or, what goes awry in people who have extreme trouble getting their bearings…Because they can focus on individual cells instead of areas of the brain, they may be able to directly see such things as which neuromodulators and hormones contribute to the process of orienting--which may be applicable to other animals, including people

Tiny Drones Can See The World Like Insects Do

Tiny insect drones could be useful for disaster-area surveillance or delivering supplies to people in accessible places. But the technology is still new, and they run a high risk of running into each other in confined spaces. Now researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have created an artificial eye and navigation system for these drones based on insects’ vision… This isn’t the first attempt  to put streamlined insect-inspired sensors into drones, but it’s the first time it’s been done for such tiny drones (others have tried to hook them up with bulky digital cameras). Insect-style vision works well for drones because it doesn’t have very high resolution, but it is highly sensitive to objects’ movement or changes in how light is reflected—perfect for maneuvering drones through small spaces with lots of obstacles.

The artificial eye the Swiss researchers designed weighs only two milligrams… Since they have already developed the algorithms and design of the photosensor, the researchers plan to configure several artificial eyes on one drone to create a more sophisticated visual system, allowing it to take off, land, and stabilize its flying position while in the air. They also plan to develop a strip of artificial eyes into “vision tape,” a flexible patch that can be attached to any type of surface, such as other types of robots or even furniture or clothing.

Robots Are Using Dragonfly Eyes To Better Track Moving Objects (Not the same as the nest item.)

The tiny insects see in low-res, but are masters of motion tracking. Some robots of the future will see the world through the eyes of insects. In a study published this week in the Journal of The Royal Society Interface, researchers have developed software that lets machines track moving objects with the same precision as dragonflies. Although dragonflies have puny brains and vision with extremely low resolution, they are still able to catch prey with greater than 95 percent accuracy against oft-cluttered backgrounds such as swarms of other insects. What’s more, they can do this while flying upwards of 60 miles-per-hour.

Dragonfly Brains May Inspire Future Robotic Vision Systems

The underlying processes of insect vision have been the research subject for Dr Steven Wiederman and Associate Professor David O'Carroll from the University's Centre for Neuroscience Research (ACNR). Wiederman and O’Carroll have been applying their findings to robotics and artificial vision systems…"The exact mechanisms that occur in the brain for this to happen are of great interest in visual neurosciences generally, as well as for solving engineering applications in target detection and tracking. Understanding how visual systems work can have a range of outcomes, such as in the development of neural prosthetics and improvements in robot vision. "A project is now underway at the University of Adelaide to translate much of the research we've conducted into a robot, to see if it can emulate the dragonfly's vision and movement. This project is well underway and once complete, watching our autonomous dragonfly robot will be very exciting," he says.

Bee Techniques Could Help Drones Stop Crashing Into Things

If drones are going to be effective fliers, they could stand to take a page from insects ' book of tricks. Researchers at the University of Sheffield are now turning to honeybees to figure out how they manage to avoid running into things…In the paper published in PLOS Computational Biology, the researchers propose a new computer model of how bees navigate and avoid crashes, with the idea that it could help autonomous robots do the same.

Tiny Compound-Eye Camera Sees The World Like (Insects) Do

This new camera gives you a bug's-eye view of life—literally. With 180 individual imaging elements arranged in a dome, it works like insects' compound eyes. Like insect eyes, it's got great depth perception and can see nearly 180 degrees all around it. Researchers have made different compound eye cameras for years. The research could go into future spy cameras or endoscopes, those thin, long cameras doctors use to look inside body cavities. This new prototype, however, is exceptionally small and rounded, its creators wrote in a paper published today  in the journal Nature.

The team of engineers, from the U.S., South Korea, Singapore and China, developed tiny imaging devices that each work a bit like an ommatidium—the individual "small eyes" that make up an insect compound eye. The lens at the top of the camera's imaging devices are analogous to ommatidium corneas, while the posts the lenses sit on are like ommatidium cones.

Bug-Like Robotic Drones Becoming More Bug-Like, With Bulging Eyes and Tiny, Sensing Hairs

Micro air vehicles, or MAVs, make for a tantalizing option for intelligence and surveillance agencies looking to surreptitiously gather information or deliver surveillance devices without being seen. But MAVs--usually modeled after small birds or insects-- are notoriously unstable in flight and difficult to maneuver in cluttered environments. So the Pentagon is   handing out research contracts   to make the DoD's little robotic bugs more stable by making them more bug-like. Specifically, the DoD wants big bulging bug eyes and hairy wings for its MAVs. The main problem with MAVs has to do with the way they respond (or don't respond) to dynamic environments--things like shifting or gusting winds, moving bodies, and other variables that have to be accounted for in realtime. MAVs are tiny, so there's not a lot of space for computing assets or sensor payloads, and that leads to a sort of intractable problem: how can engineers make these things smaller and more capable while also adding increased situational awareness and better in-flight processing? When facing a tough problem like this  a little biomimicry  never hurts, and that's exactly where the Pentagon is looking with its recent contracts

Mighty mealworms: Solution for food insecurity, pollution

Biology students at Wake Forest University are using mealworms to solve two global problems -- food sustainability and plastic pollution.

Honeybees more likely to regulate hive's 'thermostat' during rapid temperature increases

Honeybees use their wings to cool down their hives when temperatures rise, but new University of Colorado Boulder research shows that this intriguing behavior may be linked to both the rate of heating and the size of a honeybee group…The research may have implications for future studies on how self-organization and decentralized information gathering can influence biological and artificial environments alike.

Mushrooms hold potential for sustainable building materials (Wasps)

To address the size limitation of the material—mycelium biocomposites risk contamination by mould and bacteria if they exceed a half-metre in thickness—Dahmen developed a new process that drew inspiration from a wasps' nest discovered in the empty greenhouse that would house the project. "I was really amazed at the honeycomb structure, because it's a highly efficient way of occupying space," he said, holding a piece of wasps' nest to display its dense grid of hexagonal chambers. "It's scalable, it can go in any direction, and it's extremely spatially efficient."

Neural Integration Underlying a Time-Compensated Sun Compass in the Migratory Monarch Butterfly

Each fall, eastern North American monarch butterflies ( Danaus plexippus) fly up to 4,000 km to specific overwintering sites in central Mexico. Throughout this journey, monarchs constantly correct their flight direction to maintain a southerly orientation, using a time-compensated sun compass…The model that we have built closes the loop between the time and azimuth stimuli and orientation control. As such, it provides an important framework for future studies of the monarch sun compass. Our framework can be used to design electrophysiological and flight recordings experiments to compare responses in monarchs’ neurons and model units and to determine the detailed architecture of neural circuits that implement the integration mechanism postulated by our model. It also provides a simple mechanism for navigation that can be used in devices that do not have the benefit of a global positioning system.

Insect eyes enable drones to fly independently

After studying how insects (bees) navigate through dense vegetation, researchers have come up with a system that can be applied to flying robots. By adapting the system to drones, they can be made to adjust their speed to their surroundings and fly on their own -- completely without human intervention and control… “Really, the coolest thing is the fact that insects have developed simple strategies to cope with difficult problems for which engineers have still to come up with a solution.”

Fat stunts growth of tobacco hornworm caterpillars

Fat metabolism pathways are similar among vertebrates, including humans and invertebrates such as the tobacco hornworm caterpillar. According to the study's authors, understanding the role of fats in insects could help understand human metabolic diseases.

Insect wings inspire antibacterial surfaces for corneal transplants, other medical devices

Someday, cicadas and dragonflies might save your sight. The key to this power lies in their wings, which are coated with a forest of tiny pointed pillars that impale and kill bacterial cells unlucky enough to land on them. Now, scientists report they have replicated these antibacterial nanopillars on synthetic polymers that are being developed to restore vision.

New research unveils graphene 'moth eyes' to power future smart technologies

"Moths' eyes have microscopic patterning that allows them to see in the dimmest conditions. These work by channelling light towards the middle of the eye, with the added benefit of eliminating reflections, which would otherwise alert predators of their location. We have used the same technique to make an amazingly thin, efficient, light-absorbent material by patterning graphene in a similar fashion."… The next step is to incorporate this material in a variety of existing and emerging technologies. We are very excited about the potential to exploit this material in existing optical devices for performance enhancement, whilst looking towards new applications. Through Surrey's EPSRC funded Graphene Centre, we are looking for industry partners to exploit this technology and are keen to hear from innovative companies who we can explore the future applications of this technology with us."

Bee brains as never seen before

"We've also been looking at how tiny-brained bumblebees find practical solutions to challenging routing problems. Understanding how comparatively simple brains can find functional solutions to complex problems may be very important in allowing us to develop smarter and simpler ways to do the same."

Bendy bugs inspire roboticists

Insects, whether they creep or fly, live in a world of hard knocks. Who has not stepped on a cockroach, then raised her shoe to watch the creature get up and scoot under a door? Bees and wasps, for their part, face a never-ending obstacle course of leaves, stems, and petals—bumblebees crash their wings into obstacles as often as once a second. Now, researchers are learning how these creatures bend but don't break. The results do more than explain why cockroaches are so hard to kill. By mimicking the combination of rigid and flexible parts that gives insect exoskeletons and wings their resilience, biomechanicists are making robots tougher. It's quite the contrast from the way engineers have designed most of their machines, but may lead to better robots for search and rescue.

Correcting a misconception: Stick insect's propulsion joint discovered

Researchers analyze the movement of the six-legged stick insect. Each of the stick insect's six legs is moved mainly by three joints. These joints are connected to the insect's body in an L-shaped manner. A hip joint (Thorax-Coxa joint), around which the leg moves backwards, connects the leg to the body. A second hip joint (Coxa-Trochanter joint) connects the hip with the thigh. Around this joint, the leg moves downwards. Finally, the knee joint (Femur-Tibia joint) connects the thigh to the lower leg, and moves the leg outwards, investigators report (Karl’s comment: There is o way something that complicated evolved.)… For decades, textbooks have claimed that the force for maintaining body posture and driving movement was controlled independently by different joints. Now, as biologist Chris Dallmann reports, "this is not correct."… These new findings will not only result in textbook revisions, but will also be tested on the robot Hector, which is based on a stick insect. "The robot is similar to a stick insect and is equipped with elastic leg joints,"

Jump! Go Ahead, Jump, Little Springtail

By researching this topic I thought of a few applications for technologies based on the Collembola’s spring mechanisms. Click mechanisms at the scale of a springtail’s springing mechanism could possibly aid stent design or inspire development of other deployable structures that snap open or closed based on certain environmental conditions. Maybe small springing mechanisms can be incorporated in groups and serve as strain sensors on bigger structures. And who wouldn’t welcome millimeter-sized robots that can perform in a futuristic “flea circus”?
(Karl’s comment: I know some classification schemes claim springtails are not true insects.)

Snow Fleas

Most Springtails, though, have antifreeze in their blood . Usually the cryoprotectants are sugar-based, just like the glycol we use in automobile antifreeze. There is a fair amount of interest in the anti-freezing proteins in springtails  for human organ preservation  for longer times before transplantation.

Cockroach inspires robot squeezes through cracks

Not only can they squish themselves to get into one-tenth-of-an-inch crevices, but once inside they can run at high speed even when flattened in half… What the researchers found has inspired a robot that can rapidly squeeze through cracks -- a new capability for search-and-rescue in rubble resulting from tornados, earthquakes and explosions… Using the roach technique as inspiration, Jayaram designed a simple and cheap palm-sized robot that can splay its legs outward when squashed, then capped it with a plastic shield similar to the tough, smooth wings covering the back of a cockroach. Called CRAM, for compressible robot with articulated mechanisms, it was able to squeeze into and run through crevices half its height. "In the event of an earthquake, first responders need to know if an area of rubble is stable and safe, but the challenge is, most robots can't get into rubble," said Robert Full, a professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley. "But if there are lots of cracks and vents and conduits, you can imagine just throwing a swarm of these robots in to locate survivors and safe entry points for first responders."..The work is supported by the Army Research Laboratory through the Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology (MAST), a Collaborative Technology Alliance involving industry, universities and the U.S. Army.

This is what a wasp sees to learn the way home

"Our findings tell us how wonderfully autonomous, flexible, and robust wasps are with their ability to know places in the world and shuttle back and forth between them."… Zeil notes that the wasps' homing abilities make them "smarter" than anything humans now know how to build. On that note, he says, it will be interesting to apply and explore what they've learned in flying robots. "It will be interesting to implement the learning and homing rules we found into flying robots to test the validity and limits of our findings," he says. "We want to understand what trick the insects are using to acquire the competence of homing."

Insects are a sustainable source of omega-3

nsect oil is a possible new source of the healthy omega-3 fatty acid. Insects make fatty acids by nature and can live on organic waste…The industry is interested in sustainable fatty acids like omega-3 and lauric acid. The main source for omega-3 is currently fish…(H)umans need to take in a certain amount of fatty acids. Lauric acid (also to be found in coconut oil for example) is supposed to have bactericidal and virus obliterate qualities. Furthermore, the use of insect oil in for example cosmetics is obvious.

Dogfighting bees perform aerial combat right at researcher’s front door

With a new Star Wars film still fresh in the theaters, fans are abuzz with thoughts of the high-flying exploits of brave fighter pilots. For Dr. Brandon Jackson of Longwood University, the buzz is slightly more literal. Using consumer-grade recording equipment and some technical ingenuity, he is exploring the feints, parries, and ripostes of tiny flying warriors right at his front doorstep… Carpenter bees intrigue Jackson for their defensive "dogfighting" behaviors…. There has been an increased push in the scientific community toward understanding the intricacies of aerial combat in nature, and Jackson's work provides an important tool for conducting the critical research to uncover the answers.

Antireflective Coating: Sugar-based carbon hollow spheres that mimic moth eyes

Antireflective coatings are used to cut surface glare in everything from eyeglasses and camera lenses to solar cells, TV screens and LED devices. Now researchers from Research Institute for Nuclear Problems of Belarusian State University in Belarus and Institut Jean Lamour-Université de Lorraine in France have developed a novel, low-cost, ultra-lightweight material that could be used as an effective anti-reflective surface for microwave radiation based on the eyes of moths… The physiology also makes the moth eye one of the most effective antireflective coatings in nature. It has already successfully been mimicked by scientists for developing high-performance antireflective coatings for visible lights -- albeit coatings that are often expensive to fabricate and difficult to customize. The new material cuts down reflections from microwaves rather than from visible light -- invisible energy from a different part of the energy spectrum. Blocking microwave reflection is an important application for precise microwave measurements, and the coating may be used as a radar absorbing material in stealth technology, a technique that makes make an airplane invisible to radar, or police traffic radar that uses microwaves to measure car speed… Bychanok said the work pointed out that moth-eye-like two-dimensional ordered structures based on hollow conducting spheres are promising systems for microwave radiation absorption applications.

Study of a pregnant cockroach paves a new direction in genetics research

The sequencing of the first genome involving a cockroach species may one day serve as a model system comparable to how research on mice can apply to humans. In this case, the model could hold new revelations about how stress during pregnancy could affect both the mother and her offspring…"We're on the edge of creating an exciting new resource for examining how a mother nourishes her babies before birth, a process typically associated with mammals," says Jennings… Jennings adds that the housing and feeding of the insects also is considerably less expensive than traditional animal research models such as mice, a savings of hundreds of dollars compared with the care for just one mouse.

Zombified caterpillars forced to carb-load by parasitoid wasps

Bernardo has been examining host diet manipulation to determine if any empirical evidence can back up what has largely been just a hypothesis. She's found support that diet manipulation might be possible for one special parasitoid wasp, considered a "master manipulator."… Bernardo also thinks this research fits into a new field called ecoimmunology. Ecoimmunology uses concepts in ecology and evolution to investigate the causes behind diseases and specific problems in immune function. Bernardo's research could add a new facet to this field -- host manipulation. Obesity is a major health concern in the US, and specific kinds of gut microbes might not only influence how we digest food, but which foods we want to eat.

'RoboBees' with Laser Eyes Could Locate Disaster Victims

Mechanical eyes that shoot laser beams could one day help robot bees fly without crashing into obstacles, researchers say. These laser eyes could also one day help people control smartphones, tablets, laptops, wearable technology and other mobile devices using only gestures, the researchers added. Currently, researchers are developing biologically inspired, bee-size flying robots dubbed RoboBees. These devices might one day find use in everything from pollinating crops to locating disaster victims.

Power up: Cockroaches employ a 'force boost' to chew through tough materials

The study, published today in PLOS ONE, shows that cockroaches activate slow twitch muscle fibres only when chewing on tough material such as wood that requires repetitive, hard biting to generate a bite force 50 times stronger than their own body weight…Weihmann explains that gaining a better understanding of how the delicate structure of the head capsule withstands such powerful forces over an insect's lifetime could also have interesting applications for bioinspired engineering…With increasing miniaturisation, such designs will become increasingly important. Recent technical implementations in this direction are for instance micro probes inserted into blood vessels or micro surgical instruments."

New discoveries on a bug with bifocals

(N) ew research reported by the University of Cincinnati and supported by the National Science Foundation is the first to examine how the complex eye system of an invertebrate - the Sunburst Diving Beetle - coordinates the development of its components. Despite the complexity of their eyes, including a bifocal lens, extremely rapid eye growth of the Sunburst Diving Beetle occurs during the transitions between larval stages. In addition, they temporarily go blind as the eye is quickly redeveloped…."Studying the invertebrate mechanism, we can learn more on the basic principles which apply beyond invertebrates."

Biologists find keys to driving a cockroach

The scientists believe this finding provides insight into the control of movement, not just in insects, but likely all animals that walk. The cockroach's system is also a useful model for building robots that can maneuver around obstacles on their own, self-driving cars and for controlling drones the researchers said…Ritzmann is among a group of scientists at Case Western Reserve who suggest that robots would be more autonomous and useful, and autopilot and driverless cars would benefit, if makers would include systems like the sensorimotor complex insects use to maneuver and navigate. This research is a step toward that, he said, "but we have to better understand how animals solve these issues first."

Tiny dancers: Can ballet bugs help us build better robots?

When it's time to design new robots, sometimes the best inspiration can come from Mother Nature. Take, for example, her creepy, but incredibly athletic spider crickets. Johns Hopkins engineering students and their professor have spent more than eight months unraveling the hopping skills, airborne antics and safe-landing patterns of these pesky insects that commonly lurk in the dark corners of damp basements. The team, which hopes to pave the way for a new generation of small but skillful jumping robots, will present its findings Nov. 23…at the 68th annual meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics. The Johns Hopkins team members believe non-human creatures may be the best models in designing mechanical helpers to carry out certain important tasks. Figuring out how critters move, they say, could lead to planetary rovers that crawl like caterpillars or winged drones that hover like hummingbirds. So what design tips did the researchers manage to glean from these spindly six-legged bugs? An adult human who wanted to replicate the cricket's leap would have to jump 300 feet or more—roughly the length of a football field. And, most times, spider crickets manage to land safely on their feet…"Ultimately, the application would be in really tiny robots," said Palmer, who is from Exeter, N.H. Deploying tiny high-jumping robots to travel over rugged, uneven ground, she said, would utilize a more efficient and probably less expensive form of locomotion, compared to flying robots or humans on foot.

Unraveling the secret of silk that's more alive than dead

The finest garment-quality silks are made gently, by boiling silkworm cocoons just enough to dissolve a rubbery coating before spinning the fibers into thread…Today, silk is being examined for a wide range of medical uses, ranging from membranes to scaffolding to foster the healing of wounds. Silks used in research and medical settings undergo much harsher processing, a chemical ordeal that effectively "kill" the silk and removes many of the qualities that make it such a wonderful substance in the first place. ..(T)he finest, smoothest, strongest of these synthetic silks are still dead, and therefore a poor substitute for silk that is alive, the unprocessed, straight-from-the-silkworm's-mouth fiber…The first step was to understand what a silkworm actually does when it spins its dope into cocoon, and then figure out a way to replicate the action in the lab.

These social bees farm and eat fungus or die

Researchers have discovered that a social, stingless bee from Brazil feeds its larvae on a special type of fungus grown in the nest. Without it, very few young survive…Interestingly, a very similar fungus of the genus Monascus has been used in Asian cultures for centuries as a food preservative. Related fungi are known to secrete chemicals with anti-microbial, anti-cancer, and other health benefits. "This symbiotic relationship may reveal new substances that can be applied to human and bee health…

Queen or worker? Flexibility between roles relies on just a few genes

"We are excited about discovering molecular mechanisms which in these wasps and ants allow easy switching between workers and queens. There are some applications of these principles to human stem cells to make them more plastic, potentially leading to better stem cell therapies in the future."

How the stick insect sticks (and unsticks) itself

“When the first microscopes were invented in the 17th century, one of the first things scientists looked at was a fly's foot. The purpose of the fluid that you find on insects' feet has remained a fascinating question ever since," says Labonte. But it's not just an age-old question that this research is helping to answer. The researchers say there may be lessons to learn for modern humanmade devices. "Understanding how insects control adhesion could have applications where adhesion is needed in a dynamic context, for instance in the production of small electronic devices, where it's necessary to pick up and place down tiny parts with ease and accuracy," adds Federle.

Silkworm structures drive push for new materials

Research published in the peer-review Journal of the Royal Society Interface on Wednesday presents a close look at the structure and physical properties of silkworm cocoons. The paper’s research efforts could move scientists closer toward coming up with tomorrow’s design principles for materials inspired by silkworm cocoons. Those materials might provide important advancements in materials for such areas as defense and manufacturing…Some advanced materials that could benefit from that understanding might end up in the manufacture of car panels, helmets and protective suits for mine workers. The study’s research was funded by a grant from the U.S. Air Force…“Clearly,” according to a statement from the Oxford Silk Group, “this is something we should aim to copy when designing and making fibers for the future.”

Coexistence of both gyroid chiralities in individual butterfly wing scales of Callophrys rubi

The wing scales of the Green Hairstreak butterfly Callophrys rubi consist of crystalline domains with sizes of a few micrometers, which exhibit a congenitally handed porous chitin microstructure identified as the chiral triply periodic single-gyroid structure…Both findings are needed to completely understand the photonic purpose of the single gyroid in gyroid-forming butterflies. More importantly, they show the level of control that morphogenesis exerts over secondary features of biological nanostructures, such as chirality or crystallographic texture, providing inspiration for biomimetic replication strategies for synthetic self-assembly mechanisms.

Flexible Robo-Legs Could Help Helicopters Stick Tricky Landings

Helicopters of the future could use insectlike robotic legs to land in unlikely places — like the slopes of steep hills or the decks of rocking boats.

How termite mounds ‘breathe’

For decades, scientists have marveled at the towering mounds some termites construct and wondered how they work…Although the scientists only examined one termite species, the ventilation system is likely the same in others with similar mounds. Such insight could inspire developments in passive architecture, which seeks to eliminate the need for active heating and cooling systems in buildings using strategies such as natural ventilation and efficient insulation, the scientists say.

Brazilian wasp venom kills cancer cells by opening them up

The social wasp Polybia paulista protects itself against predators by producing venom known to contain a powerful cancer-fighting ingredient…"Cancer therapies that attack the lipid composition of the cell membrane would be an entirely new class of anticancer drugs," says co-senior study author Paul Beales, of the University of Leeds in the UK. "This could be useful in developing new combination therapies, where multiple drugs are used simultaneously to treat a cancer by attacking different parts of the cancer cells at the same time."

Butterfly wings help break status quo in gas sensing

Pioneering new research by a team of international scientists, including researchers from the University of Exeter, has replicated the surface chemistry found in the iridescent scales of the Morpho butterfly to create an innovative gas sensor. The ground-breaking findings could help inspire new designs for sensors that could be used in a range of sectors, including medical diagnostics, industry, and the military… Dr. Timothy Starkey, researcher at the University of Exeter, said: "Our research into these bio-inspired sensors demonstrates the huge value in applying the scientific learnings from the biological world to develop technologies for real world applications."

Butterflies heat up the field of solar research

A team of experts from the University of Exeter has examined new techniques for generating photovoltaic (PV) energy -- or ways in which to convert light into power. They showed that by mimicking the v-shaped posture adopted by Cabbage White butterflies to heat up their flight muscles before take-off, the amount of power produced by solar panels can increase by almost 50 per cent. Crucially, by replicating this 'wing-like' structure, the power-to-weight ratio of the overall solar energy structure is increased 17-fold, making it vastly more efficient.

Rough-and-Tumble Roach Bots Barrel Over Obstacles

Robots inspired by cockroaches can use the shape of their bodies — particularly, their distinctive round shells — to maneuver through dense clutter, which could make them useful in search-and-rescue missions, military reconnaissance and even on farms, according to a new study.

How the legs of water striders repel water

"We anticipate that the self-removal behavior of droplets on Gerris legs will inspire the design of novel robust superhydrophobic materials for many practical applications, such as self-cleaning surfaces, antidew materials, dropwise condensers, and microfluidic devices."

Staying cool: Saharan silver ants' heat-deflecting adaptations

Researchers have discovered two strategies that enable Saharan silver ants to stay cool in one of the world's hottest environments…(T)he ants use a coat of uniquely shaped hairs to control electromagnetic waves over an extremely broad range from the solar spectrum (visible and near-infrared) to the thermal radiation spectrum (mid-infrared), and that different physical mechanisms are used in different spectral bands to realize the same biological function of reducing body temperature… Their discovery that that there is a biological solution to a thermoregulatory problem could lead to the development of novel flat optical components that exhibit optimal cooling properties. "Such biologically inspired cooling surfaces will have high reflectivity in the solar spectrum and high radiative efficiency in the thermal radiation spectrum," Yu explains. "So this may generate useful applications such as a cooling surface for vehicles, buildings, instruments, and even clothing."

Robot eyes will benefit from insect vision

The way insects see and track their prey is being applied to a new robot under development at the University of Adelaide, in the hopes of improving robot visual systems. The project--which crosses the boundaries of neuroscience, mechanical engineering and computer science--builds on years of research into insect vision at the University… "Robotics engineers still dream of providing robots with the combination of sharp eyes, quick reflexes and flexible muscles…This bio-inspired "active vision" system has been tested in virtual reality worlds composed of various natural scenes.

How the hawkmoth sees, hovers and tracks flowers in the dark

Using high-speed infrared cameras and 3-D-printed robotic flowers, scientists have now learned how this insect juggles these complex sensing and control challenges -- all while adjusting to changing light conditions. The work shows that the creatures can slow their brains to improve vision under low-light conditions -- while continuing to perform demanding tasks. What the researchers have discovered could help the next generation of small flying robots operate efficiently under a broad range of lighting conditions… "If we want to have robots or machine vision systems that are working under this broad range of conditions, understanding how these moths function under these varying light conditions would be very useful," Sponberg said.

Insect mating behavior has lessons for drones

Male moths locate females by navigating along the latter's pheromone (odor) plume, often flying hundreds of meters to do so. Two strategies are involved to accomplish this: males must find the outer envelope of the pheromone plume, and then head upwind. Can understanding such insect behavior be useful for robotics research? Yes, according to two entomologists whose research using computer simulations shows that such insect behavior has implications for airborne robots (drones) that ply the sky searching for signature odors.

Within colors of bees and butterflies, an optical engineer's dream is realized

Evolution has created in bees, butterflies, and beetles something optical engineers have been struggling to achieve for years—precisely organized biophotonic crystals that can be used to improve solar cells, fiber-optic cables, and even cosmetics and paints, a new Yale-led study has found… Engineers, chemists, and physicists currently find it difficult to control the self-assembly of synthetic polymers to achieve the desired shape of molecules over a large area, Saranathan said. "Arthropods such as butterflies and beetles, which have evolved over millions of years of selection, appear to routinely make these photonic nanostructures using self-assembly and at the desired optical scale just like in modern engineering approaches," said Richard Prum, the William Robertson Coe Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and senior author of the paper.

Aerodynamics: Vortices and robobees
A growing understanding of insect flight is helping scientists to build tiny flying robots.

With such a suite of aerodynamic tricks, it is no wonder that engineers are using bees as inspiration in the design of aircraft…The turbulence that a passenger jet experiences is many times smaller than its speed and lift, yet it causes a lot of discomfort to those on board; microbursts of air have caused planes to crash. A better understanding of how bees handle these forces might lead to new ways to cope with them in aeroplanes. “It's teaching us how to harness some of the unsteady effects and flow that we try to squash out.”... By carrying out experiments with bees in a wind tunnel, Humbert is learning how the insects' sensors alter how they fly. Based on these insights, he is working with the aerospace industry to alter the designs of drones. Improved drones for urban use could come within a year or two, he says. Systems to smooth out passenger plane flights, which would need new sensors and motors that can react quickly enough, may take longer. Some scientists are trying to build machines that fly in the same way as bees. “We're trying to use the motions insects use, expecting to achieve similar forces and the ability to fly,” says Jeffrey Pulskamp, a mechanical engineer at the Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Maryland. A fleet of tiny, expendable airborne robots would have both military and civilian applications. They could, for example, fly into buildings that have collapsed following an earthquake, hurricane or bomb blast. “Imagine being able to send a team of autonomous little vehicles in there to sense people or temperatures or chemicals,” says Humbert, whose group is one of several working with Pulskamp's team. Robotic bees could fit into spaces that larger drones cannot go, slipping into crevices (and attracting less attention). Robotic bees could even be used as artificial pollinators, temporarily substituting for real bees…All of these challenges — flight, navigation, control, power — will require several more years of work if scientists are to replicate the abilities that natural selection bestowed on bees. It took 50 years to explain how bees fly, and scientists still have not discovered all their secrets.

Animal behaviour: Nested instincts

Honeybees' leaderless organization provides researchers with insight into unrelated systems that have similarly decentralized control — such as the brain or the stock market. “They are compelling models for the study of social life and social behaviour,” Robinson says. “They live in highly complex societies that show extreme forms of integration, cooperation and communication.” A huge part of the honeybee's appeal is that researchers can study the insect's behaviour at every level of biology, from their overall social structure to the minutia of genetics and epigenetics — as well as the interplay between these levels. Only with this complete picture can researchers hope to understand how such simple insects coordinate their behaviour so precisely and with such complexity. “The bee is well suited to address these questions at different levels of biological organization,” Robinson says…Examining layer after layer of the honeybee Russian doll gives researchers more than just insight into bee behaviour. Within the hive, says Robinson, are “all the traits that are important to us in understanding complex systems, whether our own society or our own bodies”.

Low-reflection wings make glasswing butterflies nearly invisible

Transparent materials such as glass, always reflect part of the incident light. Some animals with transparent surfaces, such as the moth with its eyes, succeed in keeping the reflections small, but only when the view angle is vertical to the surface. The wings of the glasswing butterfly that lives mainly in Central America, however, also have a very low reflection when looking onto them under higher angles… Interestingly, the butterfly wing does not only exhibit a low reflection of the light spectrum visible to humans, but also suppresses the infrared and ultraviolet radiation that can be perceived by animals. This is important to the survival of the butterfly. For research into this so far unstudied phenomenon, the scientists examined glasswings by scanning electron microscopy…The findings open up a range of applications wherever low-reflection surfaces are needed, for lenses or displays of mobile phones, for instance. Apart from theoretical studies of the phenomenon, the infrastructure of the Institute of Microstructure Technology also allows for practical implementation. First application tests are in the conception phase at the moment. Prototype experiments, however, already revealed that this type of surface coating also has a water-repellent and self-cleaning effect .

Festo unveils robotic…butterflies…

Festo's interest in flying objects continues in what's arguably the most visually impressive demonstration of the bunch. The eMotionButterflies bring together expertise gained from the company's BionicOpter and eMotionSpheres projects. They exhibit collective behavior and are able to autonomously avoid crashing into each other in real-time thanks to a networked external guidance and monitoring system.

Festo demonstrates BionicOpter dragonfly robot

The dragonfly is quite the show off when it comes to flying. It can hover in mid-air, maneuver in all directions, and glide without so much as a beat of its wings. After succeeding in capturing the essence of a herring gull with the SmartBird, the folks over at German pneumatic and electric automation company Festo challenged themselves with the creation of a robotic addition to the dragonfly family – the BionicOpter.

Insects to Feed the World Conference

The conference clearly highlighted the rapidly growing and dynamic nature of using insects for food and feed worldwide, and revealed far more of the potential and current activities around using insects and their products, including for health care as well as for providing raw materials for the non-food sectors.
> The potential of insects for human food and animal feed is highly relevant in view of: their good nutritional quality; human population growth, and corresponding higher demands for animal proteins in the form of meat and fish; the fast rising costs and quantities needed of major protein sources (for example fishmeal and soy) to feed the growing number of farmed animals; and the high environmental impact of our current high meat consumption food habits and animal farming practices that use feed grains that could be directly consumed by humans.
> A wide range of socio-economic opportunities based on using insects are accessible at any scale of production both in developed and developing countries. These include creation of jobs, enterprise development, foodandanimal feed production, organic waste processing and increased global trade.
pdf available at

How mosquitoes walk on water

Understanding the science of mosquito legs could be useful for the development of miniature water-striding robots, researchers say.

Baby mantises harness mid-air 'spin' during jumps for precision landings

High-speed videos reveal that, unlike other jumping insects, the juvenile praying mantis does not spin out of control when airborne. In fact, it both creates and controls angular momentum at extraordinary speeds to orient its body for precise landings. The smaller you are, the harder it is not to spin out of control when you jump… The next big question for the researchers is to understand how the mantis achieves its mid-air acrobatics at such extraordinary speeds. “We can see the mantis performs a scanning movement with its head before a jump. Is it predicting everything in advance or does it make corrections at lightning speed as it goes through the jump? We don’t know the answer between these extreme possibilities,” said Burrows.  

Sutton added: “We now have a good understanding of the physics and biomechanics of these precise aerial acrobatics. But because the movements are so quick, we need to understand the role the brain is playing in their control once the movements are underway.” Sutton believes that the field of robotics could learn lessons from the juvenile mantis. “For small robots, flying is energetically expensive, and walking is slow. Jumping makes sense – but controlling the spin in jumping robots is an almost intractable problem. The juvenile mantis is a natural example of a mechanical set-up that could solve this,” he said.

Float like a mosquito: Mechanical logic may inspire aquatic robots, better boats

By examining the forces that the segments of mosquito legs generate against a water surface, researchers at the China University of Petroleum (Huadong) and Liaoning University of Technology have unraveled the mechanical logic that allows the mosquitoes to walk on water, which may help in the design of biomimetic structures, such as aquatic robots and small boats.

Moths' Eyes Inspire Reflection-Free Displays

A new way to recreate the special patterns found on moths' eyes onto plastics could lead to remarkably reflection- and glare-free display screens for televisions, cell phones and more. Makers of transparent plastic screens have long envied the lusterless eyes of moths…

Why Bees Always Have a Safe landing

Whether landing on a picnic table, underneath a flower petal, or on a wall of a hive, bees always manage to touch down without crashing or tumbling. Now, for the first time, scientists have figured out how these insects maneuver themselves onto all sorts of surfaces, from right side up to upside-down. The bees' technique, which depends mostly on eyesight, may help engineers design a new generation of automated aircraft that would be undetectable to radar or sonar systems and would make perfectly gentle landings, even in outer space. " This is something an engineer would not think of while sitting in an armchair and thinking about how to land an aircraft," said Mandyam Srinivasan, a neuroscientist at the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland and the Australian Research Council's Vision Centre in Brisbane. "This is something we wouldn't have thought of if we hadn't watched bees do their landings."... "We don't know how they're doing it," he said, "But they're doing it."… It's a graceful and acrobatic motion that would be well suited to aircraft design… "It's a beautiful way of landing using biological autopilot," he said of the bees… A honeybee's brain is the size of a sesame seed and weighs about a milligram. Yet, bees and other insects manage to perform complicated tasks, including smooth upside-down landings. Figuring out the rules that simple animals use to translate vision into motion, Douglas Altshuler, a biologist at the University of California, Riverside, said, could help engineers design machines that mimic nature in unexpected ways.

Edible forest insects, an overlooked protein supply

Many people, and some forest managers, con­sider insects mainly as pests. However, insects have many benefcial roles, such as facilitat­ing pollination, seed dispersal, soil texture improvement and litter decomposition. They provide products such as honey, beeswax and dyes.  Some insects are also used for medicinal purposes. Moreover, many insects are important as food - an excellent source of protein, carbohydrates and vitamins - for humans and domestic animals alike. The amino acid composition of most food insects compares favourably with the reference stan­dard recommended by FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO) (Bukkens, 2005).

Insects contribute significantly to people's food security and livelihoods in many deve­loping countries, mainly in Africa and Asia, but they are also eaten in some parts of Latin America and in some developed countries (e.g. Japan). Insects can be a regular, seasonal or occasional part of the diet, not usually because people have no meat to eat, but because they consider insects a delicacy. The most commonly eaten insects are grass hoppers, termite eggs, beetle and honey-bee larvae, silkworms and caterpillars…

Insects don't only nourish; they also heal. Ants belonging to the genera Atta and Camponotus (carpenter ants), for example, were used in ancient times (as reported, for example, in early Hindu writings) to stitch wounds (International Biotherapy Society, 2000), and the practice is still used in traditional healing in sub-Saharan Africa. Individual ants are placed so that their powerful jaws close on the edges of the skin and draw them together. The head is then cut off, and the jaws remain frmly attached until the wound is healed.  A biotherapy adopted today by some practitioners in the United States, Western Europe and the Near East, known by military doctors before the advent of anti biotics, is the use of live maggots - primarily blowfies (family Calliphoridae) - to clean and disinfect heavily infected wounds. The maggots dissolve dead tissue by secreting digestive juices and then ingest the lique­fed tissue and bacteria (Handwerk, 2003). In the Himalayan highlands of Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet, the parasitic fungus Cordyceps sinensis grows in caterpillars, consuming and killing its hosts. The mummifed caterpillars are collected and used in Tibetan medicine; they traditional are sold in China as a power booster…

In addition to (or because of) their impor­tance as food, edible insects may also have a favourable impact on the conservation of forest and woodland…

Insect harvesting, processing and sale are labour-intensive activities requiring no major capital investment or landownership, and as such are within reach of poor people, espe­cially women and children, enabling them to achieve substantial cash gains.

Moths shed light on how to fool enemy sonar  

It's hard to hide from a bat: The camouflage and mimicry techniques that animals use to avoid becoming a meal aren't much use against a predator using echolocation. But a new study shows that moths can outsmart sonar with a flick of their long tails. The study appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows luna moths spin their trailing hindtails as they fly, confusing the sonar cries bats use to detect prey and other objects… The findings could have implications on sonar development for the military…

Burrow amplifies sound: mole cricket

"The male mole cricket Gryllotalpa vineae digs a double-mouthed burrow in the ground, which functions as a horn-like amplifier to amplify and direct sound; the invention looks something like an early gramophone." Bioinspired products and Application Ideas: High fidelity speakers. Also, perhaps by studying the mole crickets' burrows, we can learn how to dampen sounds using topography and landscaping in building sites. Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Construction, acoustics New forensic entomology observations expand knowledge of decomposition ecology

Forensic entomologists rely on certain insects that are typically found on corpses. Blow flies, for examples, can hone in on dead animals and lay eggs within minutes, and forensic entomologists can gather clues by examining the developmental stages of the larvae and the pupae. Dermestid beetles are also associated with dead bodies. In fact, their larvae are sometimes used by museums and by taxidermists to strip the flesh off of bones. A new study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology shows that other insects -- ones that are not normally associated with human corpses -- also interact with dead bodies, which may provide more clues for forensic entomologists in the future.

Fleas’ ‘Feet’ Unleash That Spectacular Leap

When fleas jump, it is no ordinary leap. The insects can shoot as high as 38 times their body length, about three inches. And the acceleration is so intense that fleas have to withstand 100 Gs, or 100 times the force of gravity. “You and I pass out if we experience five Gs,” said Malcolm Burrows, an expert on insect jumping at the University of Cambridge. Dr. Burrows and his Cambridge colleague Gregory Sutton obtained the fleas from Tiggywinkles to try to answer a question that had vexed naturalists for centuries: how fleas manage their spectacular jumps…Dr. Sutton thinks that superior springs are just one of several important lessons fleas can teach engineers. They might also learn how to build robots that can leap over rough terrain. “Insect jumping is incredibly precise and incredibly fast,” said Dr. Sutton. “If you could build a robot that could do that, it would be fantastic.” But Dr. Sutton acknowledged that some of the most important secrets of fleas remain to be worked out. No one knows how fleas lock their springs in place and then release them, for instance. And no one knows how fleas snap their two rear hindmost legs at the same time. If they weren’t so precise, the insects would spin wildly off course. “If you’re half a millisecond off, you’re done, and we have no idea how they do it,” Dr. Sutton said. “It’s one step at a time — we’re just going have to take on the next problem and solve that.”

Reconstruction of Virtual Neural Circuits in an Insect Brain

Some of the key reasons for using insects in brain research are: Insect brains are convenient model systems to understand complex nervous systems in general. Although insects are unlikely to possess cognitive functions anywhere near those of mammals, they display rich behavioral repertoires comprising for example mating behavior, collision avoidance, goal-oriented behaviors, and sophisticated spatial navigation capabilities.

First steps for Hector the robot stick insect

The robot is called Hector, and its construction is modelled on a stick insect. Inspired by the insect, Hector has passive elastic joints and an ultralight exoskeleton. What makes it unique is that it is also equipped with a great number of sensors and it functions according to a biologically inspired decentralized reactive control concept: the Walknet … Through the biologically inspired elasticity of the drives, Hector can adapt flexibly to the properties of the surfaces over which it is walking … Both the visual and the tactile systems are inpired (sic) by those of insects -- their work spaces and their resolutions are similar to those of animal models. 'A major challenge will now be to find an efficient way to integrate these far-range sensors with the posture sensors and joint control sensors. Hector is the ideal research platform on which to do this,' says Volker Dürr.

Learning anti-microbial physics from cicada

Inspired by the wing structure of a small fly, an NPL-led research team developed nano-patterned surfaces that resist bacterial adhesion while supporting the growth of human cells… Transplant medicine, wound healing and graft surgery have particularly strict requirements for infection-free cell and tissue growth. Encouragingly, approaches in support of this are not limited to the use of antibiotics. A notable solution is provided by an unlikely source - the cicada. The wings of this small fly display bactericidal nanoscale pillar structures. Each of these pillars is a pike of several tens of nanometers in diameter and is separated from other pikes at regular nanometer intervals. Densely packed on the wing surfaces, these pillars arrange into nanopatterns which pierce the membranes of   bacterial cells  on contact, tearing bacteria apart.

Insects play important role in dealing with garbage on NYC streets

A new study from North Carolina State University shows that insects and other arthropods play a significant role in disposing of garbage on the streets of Manhattan. "We calculate that the arthropods on medians down the Broadway/West St. corridor alone could consume more than 2,100 pounds of discarded junk food, the equivalent of 60,000 hot dogs, every year -- assuming they take a break in the winter," says Dr. Elsa Youngsteadt, a research associate at NC State and lead author of a paper on the work. "This isn't just a silly fact," Youngsteadt explains. "This highlights a very real service that these arthropods provide. They effectively dispose of our trash for us."… "This means that ants and rats are competing to eat human garbage, and whatever the ants eat isn't available for the rats," Youngsteadt explains. "The ants aren't just helping to clean up our cities, but to limit populations of rats and other pests."

Gut bacteria from a worm can degrade plastic

Plastic is well-known for sticking around in the environment for years without breaking down, contributing significantly to litter and landfills. But scientists have now discovered that bacteria from the guts of a worm known to munch on food packaging can degrade polyethylene, the most common plastic. Reported in the ACS journal   Environmental Science & Technology , the finding could lead to new ways to help get rid of the otherwise persistent waste, the scientists say… The researchers turned to a plastic-eating moth larva, known as a waxworm. They found that at least two strains of the waxworm's gut microbes could degrade polyethylene without a pretreatment step. They say the results point toward a new, more direct way to biodegrade plastic.

Cockroach Cyborgs Could Save Your Life One Day

Cockroaches, much maligned for generating harmful health conditions and making your skin crawl, could yet come to your rescue in a natural disaster one day in the not too distant future. That's because a team of researchers from North Carolina State has developed a technology that turns the insects into cockroach cyborgs , or biobots, that can be steered -- say, through the rubble of a disaster area, like one ravaged by a tornado -- using microphones. And while the thought of a "cockroach cyborg" is somewhat terrifying, the researchers say that the controllable pests could actually serve a vital role in search and rescue efforts by mapping out disaster sites and helping emergency personnel hone-in on survivors' calls for help… Because cockroaches can easily reach areas that humans can't, rescuers can send an insect into say, a collapsed building, have it move around the area defined by the invisivible fence, and map out the site and location of survivors without putting the lives of emergency personnel at risk. The idea here is that the roach could "hear" your call for help through the microphones in its backpack and automatically move toward you, allowing emergency crews to find your exact locale beneath the rubble. 

Eating insects… (Karl’s note: There is much more on this subject below.)

The United Nations even recently called bugs the "food of the future." … In terms of energy-in, energy-out, it's a no-brainer: "They can make about 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of insect meat for every 2 kg of feed, while cows need 8 kg (17.6 pounds) of feed just to make 1 kg of beef," writes   Russell McLendon here on MNN . In fact, insects of all types have a better feed-to-meat ratio than any warm-blooded animal — partially because they don't waste energy on heating their bodies. And insects definitely don't pollute groundwater and rivers with their waste like pigs and cows are  notorious for doing .

Insect research heads down path to start-up company with NSF I-Corps program

A team of researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno have strayed from the lab to the boardroom in an effort to build a business based on discoveries from years of research studying insect enzymes , they have now created a business and are bringing to market a product based on their enzymes. Plans are underway to put the technological processes into mass production with the launch of a specialized chemical production company, EscaZyme Biochemicals…, a chemical company that produces traps and lures for bark beetles , a tiny insect that can decimate a forest in just a few years. "Our customers are governments, ranchers, timber companies, ski resorts, anyone who is interested in forest health and management," Ott said. "The company we visited is interested because our process produces very easily the compounds they need; a process that is usually time consuming and can be hazardous."

Robot that moves like an inchworm could go places other robots can't

The peculiar way that an inchworm inches along a surface may not be fast compared to using legs, wings, or wheels, but it does have advantages when it comes to maneuvering in small spaces. This is one of the reasons why researchers have designed and built a soft, worm-like robot that moves with a typical inchworm gait, pulling its body up and extending it forward to navigate its environment. The robots could one day be used in rescue and reconnaissance missions in places that are inaccessible to humans or larger robots…In nature, the inchworm is the larvae phase of the geometer moth and measures about an inch or two long. The small green worm has two or three legs near its front, and two or three foot-like structures called "prolegs" at its rear end. Although they don't have bones, inchworms have complex muscle systems that allow them to perform a variety of body movements, including standing up vertically on their back prolegs… In addition, the inchworm robot is simple, lightweight, and quiet. These features make the robot useful not only for rescue and reconnaissance missions, but also as a potential material for smart structures and wearable devices. In the future, the researchers plan to focus on improving the robot's mobility using an independent control system. "We want to apply the locomotion and control algorithm of the inchworm-inspired robot to other motor-based robots in order to make quiet, flexible, yet load-carrying machines," coauthor Sung-Hoon Ahn, Professor at Seoul National University, told "We also want to extend our smart soft composite technology to other types of mechanisms, such as soft artificial limbs, soft electronic appliances, transforming automobiles, etc."

Watch! Termite robots build structures with amazingly simple rules

Imagine a team of workers that can tirelessly build and rebuild complicated structures even under daunting and dangerous conditions. They already exist – they’re called termites. Now, inspired by these mound-building insects, Harvard University scientists have created a mini-swarm of surprisingly simpleminded robots that can work together to construct buildings much larger than themselves. The findings, described in the journal Science, present an important step toward designing robots that may one day be able to build research facilities in the deep ocean, buildings on Mars or even levees at a flood zone during an emergency – jobs that are far too hazardous or expensive for human workers to do.

The Beauty and Brilliance of Termite Mound Architecture

Scientists are studying the mound’s system of temperature control, recycling and structure in order apply them to emerging green technologies.

Researchers take cells from chrysalis and use them to grow butterfly wings in the lab

Many butterfly wings, it turns out, are not actually colored by pigments or dyes—instead, their wings are made of transparent three-dimensional structures that only appear to look the color they do because of the way they filter and bend light. Because of the small size and intricate nature of these structures, scientists, despite considerable effort, have been unable to reproduce them—they'd like to be able to do so, however, because it would mean creating coatings that would never fade… The pair of researchers were hoping that the cells would continue producing wing structure material as long as they received nutrients, but discovered part of the process resulted in the destruction of the cells. Undeterred, they turned to a type of beetle that creates a shell structure that is in the same form as opal, the gemstone (by producing differing sized nanospherical structures in an array). Those cells kept producing, they found, as long as they were fed, producing a seemingly never ending stream of material… The two researchers are confident that their studies show that it should, at least theoretically, be possible to create a type of paint, or covering for use on a wide variety of products made from the cells produced from a beetle.

Butterfly wings behind anti-counterfeiting technology

The highly advanced wing structures are the result of many millennia of evolution. (NOTE: See BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA!-- Karl)

Colorful Butterfly Wings Inspire Counterfeit-Proof Tech

To stop identity thieves and counterfeiters, a group of researchers is looking for inspiration from an unlikely source: butterflies. In order to attract a mate, the male Pierella luna butterfly of Latin America uses its wings to perform an advanced optical trick known as reverse color diffraction. Thanks to the microstructure of its wings — made up of tiny scales curled slightly upward at the end to diffract light — the butterfly appears to change color when it's viewed from different angles. Now, researchers at Harvard University have figured out a way to use artificial photonic materials to mimic the Pierella luna's attractive light show. They've created what's known as a diffraction grating, a surface that splits white light into its individual wavelengths of color and sends those colors traveling in different directions. When the photonic material is viewed from one angle, it looks to be one color, but from a different angle, the color appears to change. This is a 2014.

Engineer Sees Big Possibilities in Micro-robots, Including Programmable Bees

Robots that fly. Robots you wear. Robots the size of nickels. These new classes of robots all have one thing in common—every aspect of them must be conceived and created from scratch. There are no designs, materials, manufacturing processes, or off-the-shelf components for them. Electrical engineer Robert Wood's   Microrobotics Lab at Harvard University   is at the forefront of engineering such robots, which can fly lighter, slither through narrower spaces, and operate at smaller sizes than anything imagined before… The ways the robots might one day help humans are astonishing, he says, potentially transforming fields like medicine and agriculture. Take RoboBees, colonies of autonomous flying micro-robots that Wood's team has been developing for years. He says that they could one day perform search-and-rescue expeditions, scout hazardous environments, gather scientific field data, even help pollinate crops…"If you want to make something a centimeter big that can fly, several hundred thousand solutions already exist in nature," he says…"We're collaborating with other researchers to create and test new ultramicro batteries, fuel cells, or wireless power-transfer methods," he says. Wood is also working to develop bio-inspired vision sensors, which he says "would let the bees navigate by measuring velocity, the same way a fly avoids being swatted by sensing the speed of your hand." His ultimate vision is for a synchronized swarm of  RoboBees. Colleagues at Harvard are designing algorithms based on the behavior of real-life termites and bees that could control the ability of a swarm of flying robots to work together. "With social insects, no single individual has the whole plan," says Wood, "but somehow they team up to build fantastic structures." He wants to program the robot bees to detect certain levels of heat or carbon dioxide, so that they could search a collapsed building for survivors and act as beacons to guide rescuers. In other possible scenarios, RoboBees could be sent in multiple directions, for instance to help track a chemical spill, before returning to a central "hive" to upload information. RoboBees are already extremely lightweight, portable, and agile, but Wood also wants them to be so inexpensive that they're disposable. "Those advantages could give them very unique practical applications within perhaps 20 years." (9-26-14)

‘Honeybee’ robots replicate swarm behaviour

Computer scientists have created a low-cost, autonomous micro-robot which in large numbers can replicate the behaviour of swarming honeybees. Colias - named after a genus of butterfly - is an open-platform system that can be used to investigate collective behaviours and be applied to swarm applications. Robotic swarms that take inspiration from nature have become a topic of fascination for robotics researchers, whose aim is to study the autonomous behaviour of large numbers of simple robots in order to find technological solutions to common complex tasks… Colias was created by a team of scientists led by the University of Lincoln, UK, with Tsinghua University in China. It has been proven to be feasible as an autonomous platform - effectively replicating a honeybee swarm. Its small size (4cm diameter) and fast motion (35cm/s) means it can be used in fast-paced swarm scenarios over large areas…“ Colias has been used in a bio-inspired scenario, showing that it is extremely responsive to being used to investigate collective behaviours. Our aim was to imitate the bio-inspired mechanisms of swarm robots and to enable all research groups, even with limited funding, to perform such research with real robots.”.. A similar but more complex mechanism has been found in locust vision, where a specific neuron called the ‘lobula giant movement detector’ reacts to objects approaching the insects’ eyes… The next step for the  Colias research team is to work on an extension of the vision module using a faster computer processor to implement bio-inspired vision mechanisms. (9-18-14)

Physicists solve longstanding puzzle of how moths find distant mates

Physicists have come up with a mathematical explanation for moths' remarkable ability to find mates in the dark hundreds of meters away. The researchers said the results could also be applied widely in agriculture or robotics … The way in which male moths locate females flying hundreds of meters away has long been a mystery to scientists.

Researchers know the moths use pheromones to locate their mates. Yet when these chemical odors are widely dispersed in a windy, turbulent atmosphere, the insects still manage to fly in the right direction over hundreds of meters with only random puffs of their mates' pheromones spaced tens of seconds apart to guide them…"It could also help engineers improve the design of sniffers, olfactory robots guided by chemical scents to search for bombs, toxic chemicals and flammable leaks," he added. "Leaks could be located this way because they release tiny volatile substances into the atmosphere that could be tracked by robots." (10-21-14)

Paving the way for cyborg moth 'biobots'

North Carolina State University researchers have developed methods for electronically manipulating the flight muscles of moths and for monitoring the electrical signals moths use to control those muscles. The work opens the door to the development of remotely-controlled moths, or "biobots," for use in emergency response.

How Bee Venom Might Fight Cancer

Locked within the honeybee's painful sting is a toxin that could fight cancer, CNN reports.

Butterflies could hold key to probes that repair genes

New discoveries about how butterflies feed could help engineers develop tiny probes that siphon liquid out of single cells for a wide range of medical tests and treatments, according to Clemson University researchers…For materials scientists, the goal is to develop what they call "fiber-based fluidic devices," among them probes that could eventually allow doctors to pluck a single defective gene out of a cell and replace it with a good one, said Konstantin Kornev, a Clemson materials physics professor. "If someone were programmed to have an illness, it would be eliminated," he said… They are now advancing to a new phase in their studies. Much remains unknown about how insects use tiny pores and channels in the proboscis to sample and handle fluid. "It's like the proverbial magic well," said Clemson entomology professor Peter Adler. "The more we learn about the butterfly proboscis, the more it has for us to learn about it.".. "It can be very thick like nectar and honey or very thin like water," he said. "They do that easily. That's a challenge for engineers.".. Researchers want the probe to be able to take fluid out of a single cell, which is 10 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, Kornev said. The probe also will need to differentiate between different types of fluids, he said. The technology could be used for medical devices, nanobioreactors that make complex materials and flying "micro-air vehicles" the size of an insect. "It opens up a huge number of applications," Kornev said. "We are actively seeking collaboration with cell biologists, medical doctors and other professionals who might find this research exciting and helpful in their applications

Researchers are turning their attention to smaller insects, such as flies, moths and mosquitoes, but the focus will remain on the proboscis. Another challenge is figuring out how to keep the probe from getting covered with organic material when it's inserted into the body, he said. That's why researchers are beginning to turn their focus to an insect almost everyone else shoos away. "It seems the flies are able to pierce an animal's tissue, take up the blood and not get the proboscis gummed up and covered with bacteria," Adler said. Tanju Karanfil, associate dean of research and graduate studies in the College of Engineering and Science, said the study has underscored the importance of breaking down silos that separate researchers from different departments so they can work for the common good.

Butterfly wings inspire cosmetics and bomb detectors

A tropical butterfly might not be the first place to look when seeking inspiration for the latest bomb sniffing technology for the US military, but the brightly coloured iridescent wings of a blue morpho provides one example of a promising branch of science - bio-inspiration … "They are aesthetically beautiful," he said, "But scientifically, from the perspective of the physics which underpin the colour, they are hugely interesting. They are complicated. They are adapted to serve a set of complicated functions. The optical ingenuity that's responsible for the appearances which we see is tremendous." .. The structure which gives the beetle Cyphochilus its extraordinary whiteness is contributing to the development of a type of super light white paper …

The shimmering green surface of the Margaritaria nobilis seed (common name - the bastard hogberry) has inspired scientists to design a fibre which changes colour as it is stretched. As tension is applied to the thread it changes from red to green and then yellow. The colour is determined by the thickness of the nano-structures. This has great potential for use in micro-surgery. A surgeon operating remote equipment would know exactly how much tension to apply to surgical thread by observing the colour change …

But for perhaps the most unlikely example of bio-inspiration we must return to the blue morpho butterfly. The air gaps between the Christmas Tree structures can be used to trap other vapours, changing the optical appearance of the surface accordingly. "The American military are particularly interested in explosive agent vapour detectors," said Professor Vukusic, "Can such a system be ultra-sensitive to a range of explosive materials? In the long term there is certain potential for it. The morpho wing itself would not be used, but a mimic of it, more highly applied, is currently being developed."

Producing hydrogen with sunlight--Collecting light with artificial moth eyes

All over the world researchers are investigating solar cells which imitate plant photosynthesis, using sunlight and water to create synthetic fuels such as hydrogen. Empa researchers have developed such a photoelectrochemical cell, recreating a moth's eye to drastically increase its light collecting efficiency… As a next step the researchers plan to investigate what the effect of several layers of microspheres lying on top of each other might be. The work on moth eye solar cells is still in progress!  (Karl’s comment: The caption to a diagram in the original article is “How the ‘moth eye solar cell’ is created, and how it collects light.” Emphasis mine.)

Testing 3D vision in praying mantises

Analysing how mantises see in three dimensions could give us clues about how 3D vision evolved and lead to novel approaches in implementing 3D recognition and depth perception in computer vision and robotics. (Karl’s note: The homage to evolutionism is unneeded.)

Nature inspires drones of the future

(A) group of researchers from Harvard University have developed a millimetre-sized drone with a view to using it to explore extremely cramped and tight spaces. The microrobot they designed, which was the size of a one cent coin, could take off and land and hover in the air for sustained periods of time. In their new paper, the researchers have demonstrated the first simple, fly-like manoeuvres. In the future, millimetre-sized drones could also be used in assisted agriculture pollination and reconnaissance, and could aid future studies of insect flight. Once deployed into the real world, drones will be faced with the extremely tricky task of dealing with the elements, which could be extreme heat, the freezing cold, torrential rain or thunderstorms. The most challenging problem for airborne robots will be strong winds and whirlwinds, which a research team, from the University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill, University of California and The Johns Hopkins University, have begun to tackle by studying the hawk moth.

Inspired by moth eyeballs, chemists develop gold coating that dims glare

All that's gold does not glitter, thanks to new work by UC Irvine scientists that could reduce glare from solar panels and electronic displays and dull dangerous glints on military weapons… The material is also highly hydrophobic, meaning it repels liquids. Angry residents of Newport Beach, Calif.; certain cities in England and Australia; and elsewhere have complained vociferously about neighbors installing highly reflective solar panels that unintentionally beam blinding sunlight onto their properties. In addition, troops risk enemy detection when sunshine bounces off weaponry. And cellphone displays can be unreadable in bright light. The new coating could solve these issues. UC Irvine's Office of Technology Alliances has filed a patent application for the work. "We're excited about where this technology might lead and who could be interested in exploring the commercial opportunities that this new advancement presents," said senior licensing officer Doug Crawford.

Bees' perfect landing inspires robot aircraft

Scientists at The University of Queensland (UQ) have discovered how the honeybee can land anywhere with utmost precision and grace – and the knowledge may soon help build incredible robot aircraft. By sensing how rapidly their destination ‘zooms in’ as they fly towards it, honeybees can control their flight speed in time for a perfect touchdown without needing to know how fast they’re flying or how far away the destination is. This discovery may advance the design of cheaper, lighter robot aircraft that only need a video camera to land safely on surfaces of any orientation…

Engineers plan to upload bee brains to flying robots

Engineers from the universities of Sheffield and Sussex are planning on scanning the brains of bees and uploading them into autonomous flying robots that will then fly and act like the real thing. Bionic bees -- or perhaps that should be "beeonic" -- could, it is hoped, be used for a range of situations where tiny thinking flying machines should be more useful than current technology, which might mean seeking out gas or chemical leaks, or people who are trapped in small spaces. They might even help pollinate plants in places where natural bee populations have fallen due to the still-mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder… "Not only will this pave the way for many future advances in autonomous flying robots, but we also believe the computer modelling techniques we will be using will be widely useful to other brain modelling and computational neuroscience projects".

Dragonflies have human-like 'selective attention'

In a discovery that may prove important for cognitive science, our understanding of nature and applications for robot vision, researchers at the University of Adelaide have found evidence that the dragonfly is capable of higher-level thought processes when hunting its prey… "We believe our work will appeal to neuroscientists and engineers alike. For example, it could be used as a model system for robotic vision. Because the insect brain is simple and accessible, future work may allow us to fully understand the underlying network of neurons and copy it into intelligent robots," he says.

New waterproof surface is 'driest ever'

US engineers have created the "most waterproof material ever" - inspired by nasturtium leaves and butterfly wings… Similar ridges (of the lotus) are found in nature on the wings of the Morpho butterfly and the veins of nasturtium leaves… "For years industry has been copying the lotus. They should start thinking about copying butterflies and nasturtiums. "I'm looking forward to working with the fabrics industry to develop new clothing that stays dry longer. What will be the next Gore-Tex?"… Applying these textures to turbine blades in power stations and windfarms could significantly boost efficiency… The designs could also be woven into textile fabrics, he believes. “Sportswear, lab coats, military clothing, tents - there are a whole range of situations where you want to stay dry," he said. "Now we need to bring in the designers - how can you make a fabric that has these new features?"

Aquatic insect inspires new submarine design

Superhydrophobicity, one of most important interfacial properties between solids and liquids, plays a crucial role in the water boatman's swimming, balance, and breathing in water and in its escape ability from water area under unfavourable conditions, according to a new study. SHI Yanlong and his group from the College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Hexi University investigated the superhydrophobicity of the water boatman's hind wings… The water boatman can swim freely and breathe in water… The superhydrophobicity of the water boatman's hind wings enables it to swim freely, breathe in water with the assistance of air trapped on its hind wings' surfaces, and escape easily from water area under unfavourable conditions without being affected by moisture. Water boatman robots with strong wave resistance and high walking stability on water could be outfitted with miniature biochemical sensors, the biomimetic boatman robots may be used to monitor chemicals at water area for environmental monitoring and cleaning applications, and can be teleoperated or controlled autonomously.

How stick insects honed friction to grip without sticking

"We investigate these insects to try and understand biological systems, but lessons from nature such as this might also be useful for inspiring new approaches in human-made devices," said Labonte. He uses the example of a running shoe as a possible human-made item that could be enhanced by stick insect engineering: "If you run, you don't want your feet to stick to the ground, but you also want to make sure you don't slip."

Leg hairs hold secret to walking on water

 The results, reported today in   Proceedings of the Royal Society A  not only provide an insight into the remarkable ability of these insects, but has implications for the design of miniature rafts and water strider-inspired robots that can float stably and move easily across water. Nature abounds with examples of water-repelling surfaces such as the lotus leaf and insects' wings that have already inspired a number of technological advances.

Self-cleaning silicone gel insect wings

Now, Gregory Watson of the James Cook University, in Townsville, Queensland, working with colleagues there and at Griffith University, and the universities of Queensland, and Oxford, are hoping to mimic these properties by using the surface of insect wings as a template for producing plastics, or polymeric, materials with novel surface properties. If they are successful, they might then develop self-cleaning, water-resistant, and friction-free coatings for a wide range of machine components, construction materials, and other applications, including nano- and micro-electromechanical systems (NEMS and MEMS) and lab-on-a-chip devices for medical diagnostics and environmental sensing.

Termites inspire hydrophobic materials

Termite wings are the latest inspiration from nature for scientists developing new materials that repel water… The researchers took a close look at how termite wings repelled water and found an ingenious two-tiered "anti-wetting" system… Watson and colleagues are now in the process of trying to replicate the termite wing surface… He says understanding how termite wings repel water could have useful applications in designing self-cleaning surfaces like tiles and windows, as well as low-drag surfaces for ship hulls. While many surfaces in nature have inspired scientists to create new materials, Watson says water-repelling termite wings are unique.

Jumping dew drops keep cicada wings clean

Watson says cicada wings are just one of many natural blueprints we can adapt to create a whole new generation of self-cleaning surfaces that can rid themselves of dirt, bacteria and other environmental contaminants. "These applications include self-cleaning windows, hospital surfaces, environmentally green surfaces, construction materials, pipes, kitchen surfaces, roof tiles, machine components and water resistant surfaces," he says. "The door is also open for further investigation into how such self-propelled droplets might be used to deposit chemical packages onto the surfaces of micro biosensors and nano-delivery systems. "This could open up a whole new area of scientific research," he says.

Prospecting with Termites

A number of companies will take samples from termite mounds to learn more about the metals that are in the soil underneath the mounds. Sampling from termite mounds is far easier and cheaper than sampling by drilling deep underground. An added advantage is that termites bring soil to the surface a few particles at a time. The above ground mound reflects a large number of very small samples of soil from many locations underground. Prospecting termite mounds has become so important, it has spawned its own discipline, “Geozoology”. Sampling the termite mounds allows companies to focus their claims and further testing based on knowledge of the underlying minerals.

How stick insects honed friction to grip without sticking

"We investigate these insects to try and understand biological systems, but lessons from nature such as this might also be useful for inspiring new approaches in human-made devices," said Labonte. He uses the example of a running shoe as a possible human-made item that could be enhanced by stick insect engineering: "If you run, you don't want your feet to stick to the ground, but you also want to make sure you don't slip."

With their amazing necks, ants don't need 'high hopes' to do heavy lifting

The engineers are studying whether similar joints might enable future robots to mimic the ant's weight-lifting ability on earth and in space… One day, this research could lead to micro-sized robots that combine soft and hard parts, as the ant's body does. Much work in robotics today involves assembling small, autonomous devices that can work together… A large robot based on that design might be able to carry and tow cargo in microgravity, though, so it's possible that we may one day employ giant robot ants in space, "or, at least, something inspired by ants," Castro said.

Another key feature of the design seems to be the interface between the soft material of the neck and the hard material of the head. Such transitions usually create large stress concentrations, but ants have a graded and gradual transition between materials that gives enhanced performance -- another design feature that could prove useful in human-made designs… But a difficult problem will emerge if the researchers try to create large robots based on the same design.

'Snow Flea Antifreeze Protein' Could Help Improve Organ Preservation

Scientists in Illinois and Pennsylvania are reporting development of a way to make the antifreeze protein that enables billions of Canadian snow fleas to survive frigid winter temperatures. Their laboratory-produced first-of-a-kind proteins could have practical uses in extending the storage life of donor organs and tissues for human transplantation, according to new research. In the study, Stephen B. H. Kent and colleagues point out that scientists have tried for years to decipher the molecular structure and produce from chemicals in a laboratory the so-called "snow flea antifreeze protein.

Edible antifreeze promises perfect ice cream

Edible antifreeze developed by a US researcher could keep ice cream tasty and smooth, and prevent other frozen foods from being ruined. The antifreeze contains proteins similar to those that help "snow flea" insects survive winter without freezing solid.

The Scoop on Termite Poop: Five Cool Facts

Some of those exotic microbes could be helpful to humans as well. In one example, a cancer researcher found that a particular microorganism in a termite’s hindgut, roughly equivalent to a human’s colon, produces more centrin than any other creature known. Centrin is a protein that is related to cell division, and studying how centrin works has helped researchers pinpoint its role in runaway cell division—in other words, cancer.

Termite Power: Can Pests' Guts Create New Fuel?

Tiny microbes that live inside termites may one day help cure the world's energy woes, according to scientists. The researchers are trying to understand how bacteria that help termites digest wood and other plants release the hydrogen that's trapped in the material. "We don't understand the full details of how the process occurs," said Jared Leadbetter, an environmental microbiologist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. "But once we learn more about it, many things become possible."

For example, he says, biotech engineers could mass-produce the tiny microbes for hydrogen production on an industrial scale. The hydrogen could then power hydrogen fuel cells, a type of battery that emits only water.

Daniel Kammen, director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley, agreed there are hurdles to overcome, but he said the potential applications are "very positive." "Neat stuff can happen in this area," he said.

Kammen imagines a day when "little digesters"—a termite germ-derived technology—sit in people's garages and process piles of woody waste to produce enough hydrogen to power cars and homes. The concept would mean no more trips to the gas station or having to pay the electric company for power.

"This is a fascinating group of insects that do a fascinating activity and play important roles in the global ecosystem," he said.

If they can figure out which enzymes—or proteins inside the microbes—break apart the wood into materials like hydrogen, the researchers in principle could scale up the process for industrial applications. And given all the wood chips and leftover waste from harvesting trees and other crops, that would be a "novel way of converting low-value starting material into a higher value product," Leadbetter said.

If You’re Going To Live Inside A Zombie, Keep It Clean

The jewel wasp is worth getting to know just because it exists. But now it’s possible that we might someday benefit from that knowledge in the most practical way imaginable. What is good for jewel wasps might prove good for us. The mellein found in fungi is effective against MRSA, the deadly strain of skin bacteria that is resistant to most antibiotics. When scientists tested out the micromolide from plants on the bacteria that causes tuberculosis, it proved to be among the most powerful anti-TB drugs ever found. Now the jewel wasp turns out to be a factory for similar antibiotics, which might turn out to be even better than what’s been found in fungi or plants. To Herzner, that possibility cries out for exploration, because right now the antibiotics we use to cure our own infections are failing at a distressing rate.

The Secrets of a Bug's Flight

Researchers have identified some of the underlying physics that may explain how insects can so quickly recover from a stall in midflight -- unlike conventional fixed wing aircraft, where a stalled state often leads to a crash landing. The analysis, in which the researchers studied the flow around a rotating model wing, improves the understanding of how insects fly and informs the design of small flying robots built for intelligence gathering, surveillance, search-and-rescue, and other purposes.

How Long Do Insects Last?

But until now nothing was known about the fatigue properties of the second-most common natural material in the world: insect cuticle… Cuticle is an extremely versatile biological material. If we understood how it acts under repeated loads, we might be able to design more durable biomimetic materials for many kinds of applications." As a first step, the team looked at the cuticle of the desert locust. "These locusts are capable of flying across oceans and deserts, often for days or weeks at a time"..."These results are obviously just a first step. Studying insect cuticle is not only thought-provoking from the engineering point of view, where our findings might help us to develop more durable composite materials.”

Researchers Look to Butterflies to Improve Flight

A better understanding of the aerodynamic properties of butterfly wings may lead to improved human-made flight, according to research at The University of Alabama recently funded by the National Science Foundation… “If we understand the butterfly wing, there could be other applications,” Lang said. Modeled scales could improve airflow in micro area vehicles, or MAVs, miniature, unmanned, aerial robots primarily used for military reconnaissance and surveillance purposes. With bio-inspired geometries on its wings, MAVs could carry a larger payload or use less fuel. Lang speculated that in the future solar cells could be modeled after butterfly scales on wings that could provide energy and improve flight. (The researchers are aerospace and mechanical engineering professors. Karl)

Swarming Insect Provides Clues to How the Brain Processes Smells

Using locusts, which have a relatively simple sensory system ideal for studying brain activity, he found the odors prompted neural activity in the brain that allowed the locust to correctly identify the stimulus, even with other odors present…The locusts could recognize the trained odors even when another odor meant to distract them was introduced prior to the target cue…"It took only a few hundred milliseconds for the locust's brain to begin tracking a novel odor introduced in its surrounding… His research seeks to take inspiration from the biological olfactory system to develop a device for noninvasive chemical sensing. Such a device could be used in homeland security applications to detect volatile chemicals and in medical diagnostics, such as a device to test blood-alcohol level.

New waterproof surface is 'driest ever'

US engineers have created the "most waterproof material ever" - inspired by nasturtium leaves and butterfly wings… The new "super-hydrophobic" surface could keep clothes dry and stop aircraft engines icing over, they say… Applying these textures to turbine blades in power stations and windfarms could significantly boost efficiency…The designs could also be woven into textile fabrics, "Sportswear, lab coats, military clothing, tents - there are a whole range of situations where you want to stay dry," he said…"Now we need to bring in the designers - how can you make a fabric that has these new features?" (emphasis added See “BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA!”)

Can honey bees really be trained to detect cancer in ten minutes?

A Portuguese designer has created a contraption which she says can detect cancer using trained bees…'The bees can be trained within 10 minutes.'…Bees can be trained to detect bombs and one company called Insectinel is training 'sniffer bees' to work in counter-terrorist operations… Research carried out by scientists has suggested that bees can accurately diagnose diseases such as tuberculosis, lung and skin cancer as well as diabetes.

Software Uses Cyborg Swarm to Map Unknown Environs

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed software that allows them to map unknown environments -- such as collapsed buildings -- based on the movement of a swarm of insect cyborgs, or "biobots." "We focused on how to map areas where you have little or no precise information on where each biobot is, such as a collapsed building"… Here's how the process would work in the field. A swarm of biobots, such as remotely controlled cockroaches, would be equipped with electronic sensors and released into a collapsed building or other hard-to-reach area. The biobots would initially be allowed to move about randomly. Because the biobots couldn't be tracked by GPS, their precise locations would be unknown. However, the sensors would signal researchers via radio waves whenever biobots got close to each other… The new software then uses an algorithm to translate the biobot sensor data into a rough map of the unknown environment.

X- Ray Science Taps Bug Biology to Design Better Materials and Reduce Pollution

Researchers using the cutting-edge X-ray technology at the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Photon Source (APS) were able to take an inside look at several insects, gathering results that go beyond learning about insect physiology and biology. What they found could provide a blueprint for a material used for artificial ligaments, a chemical-free way to protect crops from insects and a new insight on how human muscles function…Designing a synthetic version of the silk could create an underwater adhesive used for liquid stitches. But even more valuable is its potential use as the first artificial human tendons and ligaments. The fly silk's long fibers make it behave a lot like collagen material used in connective tissues, and its ability to adhere in wet conditions make it viable as an internal implant… Although few gym rats want to admit it, whispery moth wings and bulging human biceps aren't that different. What we learn from them can teach us more about human muscle mechanics to potentially improve physical therapy treatments and further understand diseases attacking the muscular system.

McGill students win $1-million prize for idea of using insects to battle hunger

From the beetle larvae consumed by African tribesmen to the fried grasshoppers sold by street vendors in Thailand, insects have always been a regular part of the human diet. Today, over two billion people worldwide regularly eat insects, according to a recent report from the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization. And as populations swell in the developing world, insects could well become the key to global food security.

Living Gears Help This Bug Jump

Thanks to modern fabrication techniques like 3-D printing, engineers are now free to explore less orthodox gear shapes. They are looking for gears that work best for specific applications — as in tiny machines. "There's a lot of debate over how you design these kinds of machine parts over very small size ranges," Sutton says. Planthopper gears certainly are tiny. Each tooth is only about 20 micrometers wide — a fraction of the width of a hair. And the teeth of the insect gears are more curved and hooked than typical man-made gears. "What we have is a prototype for incredibly small, high-speed, high-precision gears."

Secrets of the Cicada's Sound

At the 21st International Congress on Acoustics (ICA 2013), held June 2-7 in Montreal, the team, based at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) in Newport, RI, will present their latest results analyzing the cicada's sound -- first steps toward making devices that would mimic it for remote sensing underwater, ship-to-ship communications, rescue operations and other applications.

Hovering Is a Bother for Bees: Fast Flight Is More Stable

According to the authors the results could be useful in the development of small flying machines like robotic insects. "Dynamic flight stability is of great importance in the study of biomechanics of insect flight," said Mao Sun. "It is the basis for studying flight control, because the inherent stability of a flying system represents the dynamic properties of the basic system. It also plays a major role in the development of insect-like micro-air vehicles."

Roaches Inspire Robotics: Researchers Use Common Cockroach to Fine-Tune Robots of the Future

He and his fellow researchers are delving deeper into the neurological functioning of the cockroach. This, he says, will give engineers the information they need to design robots with a more compact build and greater efficiency in terms of energy, time, robustness and rigidity. Such superior robotics can be even used to explore new terrain in outer space.
Projects that highlight both the flight of the locust and the crawling of the soft-bodied caterpillar are also underway. Locusts are amazing flyers, Prof. Ayali notes. Scientists are studying both their aerodynamic build and their energy metabolism for long-distance flights. Recordings of their nervous systems and simultaneous video tracking to observe the movement of their wings during flight can be expected to lead to better technology for miniscule flying robots. As for caterpillars, engineers are trying to recreate in soft-bodied robots what they call the creatures "endless degrees of freedom of movement." "Caterpillars are not confined by a stiff structure -- they have no rigid skeletons," says Prof. Ayali. "This is exactly what makes them unique."

Insects Inspiring New Technology: Autonomous Navigation of Mobile Robots Based On Locust Vision

Scientists from the University of Lincoln and Newcastle University have created a computerised system which allows for autonomous navigation of mobile robots based on the locust's unique visual system. The work could provide the blueprint for the development of highly accurate vehicle collision sensors, surveillance technology and even aid video game programming… For example, insects can respond to approaching predators with remarkable speed. This research demonstrates that modelling biologically plausible artificial visual neural systems can provide new solutions for computer vision in dynamic environments. For example, it could be used to enable vehicles to understand what is happening on the road ahead and take swifter action."… This research offers us important insights into how we can develop a system for the car which could improve performance to such a level that we could take out the element of human error."

Researchers find new way to mimic the color and texture of butterfly wings

As it turns out, we have plenty to gain from butterflies. Yang has a grant to develop butterfly-inspired hydrophobic coatings for drier, cleaner and hence more efficient solar panels. But it doesn't stop there - Yang has a vision of butterfly cities. She's working with architects to create a low-cost version of her artificial butterfly wing material. "Specifically, we're interested in putting this kind of material on the outside of buildings," Yang said. "The structural colour we can produce is bright and highly decorative." The butterfly building would be connected to a chip that would let its owner change its colours and transparency at will. Because the material is water-resistant, it wouldn't need to be cleaned as often. ( Both superhydrophobicity and structural color are in high demand for a variety of applications. Materials with structural color could be used in as light-based analogs of semiconductors, for example, for light guiding, lasing and sensing. As they repel liquids, superhydrophobic coatings are self-cleaning and waterproof. Since optical devices are highly dependent on their degree of light transmission, the ability to maintain the device surface's dryness and cleanliness will minimize the energy consumption and negative environmental impact without the use of intensive labors and chemicals. "Specifically, we're interested in putting this kind of material on the outside of buildings," Yang said. "The structural color we can produce is bright and highly decorative, and it won't fade away like conventional pigmentation color dies. The introduction of nano-roughness will offer additional benefits, such as energy efficiency and environmental friendliness. "It could be a high-end facade for the aesthetics alone, in addition to the appeal of its self-cleaning properties. We are also developing energy efficient building skins that will integrate such materials in optical sensors." ( A new study has revealed that the stunning iridescent wings of the tropical blue Morpho butterfly could expand the range of innovative technologies. Scientific lessons learnt from these butterflies have already inspired designs of new displays, fabrics and cosmetics. Now research by the University of Exeter, in collaboration with General Electric (GE) Global Research Centre, University at Albany and Air Force Research Laboratory, and funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has discovered that the physical structure and surface chemistry of the Morpho butterfly's wings provides surprising properties that could offer a variety of applications ranging from photonic security tags to self cleaning surfaces and protective clothing and to industrial sensors.

Deciphering Butterflies' Designer Colors: Findings Could Inspire New Hue-Changing Materials

Butterfly wings can do remarkable things with light, and humans are still trying to learn from them. Physicists have now uncovered how subtle differences in the tiny crystals of butterfly wings create stunningly varied patterns of color even among closely related species. The discovery, reported today in the Optical Society's (OSA) open-access journal Optical Materials Express, could lead to new coatings for manufactured materials that could change color by design, if researchers can figure out how to replicate the wings' light-manipulating properties… Cheah thinks the lessons learned from Papilio butterfly wings could lead to designer materials that wouldn't need to be painted or dyed one specific color. The same article of clothing, for example, could reflect a subdued color during the workday, and a more ostentatious one at night. "You would just tune your structure to produce the color you want," says Cheah. The team next plans to investigate color-generating mechanisms in other insect body structures, such as the metallic effect produced by iridescent beetle shells.

Butterfly Wings + Carbon Nanotubes = New 'Nanobiocomposite' Material

Leveraging the amazing natural properties of the Morpho butterfly's wings, scientists have developed a nanobiocomposite material that shows promise for wearable electronic devices, highly sensitive light sensors and sustainable batteries.

Bugs Inspire Better X-Rays: Nanostructures Modeled Like Moth Eyes May Boost Medical Imaging

Using the compound eyes of the humble moth as their inspiration, an international team of physicists has developed new nanoscale materials that could someday reduce the radiation dosages received by patients getting X-rayed, while improving the resolution of the resulting images… "The moth eye has been considered one of the most exciting bio structures because of its unique nano-optical properties," he says, "and our work further improved upon this fascinating structure and demonstrated its use in medical imaging materials, where it promises to achieve lower patient radiation doses, higher-resolution imaging of human organs, and even smaller-scale medical imaging. And because the film is on the scintillator," he adds, "the patient would not be aware of it at all."

Anti-Reflective Coatings: Beauty Is in the Moth's Eyes

If you wear glasses, you are probably reading this article by looking through a tiny, transparent layer of nanomaterial. Anti-reflective coatings (ARCs), based on nanomaterials that reduce the amount of reflected light, are used in most optical devices, including glasses, photo lenses, TV screens, solar cells, LED lights and many others… Some of the most efficient ARCs are made by mother nature and are found in the eyes of insects…According to the inventors, the resulting coatings have a cost similar to that of classic ARCs and can be easily customized.

Insect Eyes Inspire Improved Solar Cells: Anti-Reflective Film Based On Moth Eyes Increases Efficiency of Photovoltaics

Mimicking the moth eye's microstructure, a team of researchers in Japan has created a new film, suitable for mass-production, for covering solar cells that can cut down on the amount of reflected light and help capture more power from the sun… They also believe the film could be applied as an anti-reflection coating to windows and computer displays.

Artificial Bee Eye Gives Insight Into Insects’ Visual World

Despite their tiny brains, bees have remarkable navigation capabilities based on their vision. Now scientists have recreated a light-weight imaging system mimicking a honeybee's field of view, which could change the way we build mobile robots and small flying vehicles… In the future, the researchers hope to include UV to fully reflect a bee's colour vision, which is important to honeybees for flower recognition and discrimination and also polarisation vision, which bees use for orientation. They also hope to incorporate models of the subsequent neural processing stages…”… we are confident that it is useful for many purposes, e.g. for the simulation of bee-like agents in virtual environments and, in combination with presented imaging system, for testing bee-inspired visual navigation strategies on mobile robots."

Cicadas Get a Jump On Cleaning

Using a specially designed high-speed video imaging system, the engineers captured the jumping water droplets on a cicada wing, as well as the associated self-cleaning processes…"These new insights can help guide the development of man-made surfaces that are not dependent on any external forces and are therefore truly self-cleaning."… "Self-cleaning surfaces using the jumping-drop mechanism can work at any orientation, which is a huge advantage for applications with unfavorable orientations with respect to gravity, such as mobile electronics and building roofs." ( Watson says cicada wings are just one of many natural blueprints we can adapt to create a whole new generation of self-cleaning surfaces that can rid themselves of dirt, bacteria and other environmental contaminants. "These applications include self-cleaning windows, hospital surfaces, environmentally green surfaces, construction materials, pipes, kitchen surfaces, roof tiles, machine components and water resistant surfaces," he says. "The door is also open for further investigation into how such self-propelled droplets might be used to deposit chemical packages onto the surfaces of micro biosensors and nano-delivery systems. "This could open up a whole new area of scientific research," he says.

Footage reveals how insects use their bodies to hover

The researchers are studying insect flight to "distil the biological principles of flight control". This, they say, will help them to accurately engineer flying robots that use these same principles.

Thin-film solar cells could become more efficient – thanks to moths' eyes

Now, a new moth eye-inspired film may further help solar cells become more efficient.

Harnessing Flea Power To Create Near-Perfect Rubber

The remarkable, rubber-like protein that enables dragonflies, grasshoppers and other insects to flap their wings, jump and chirp has major potential uses in medicine, scientists conclude in an article in the journal ACS Macro Letters ("Resilin-Based Materials for Biomedical Applications"). It evaluates the latest advances toward using a protein called resilin in nanosprings, biorubbers, biosensors and other applications. Kristi Kiick and colleagues explain that scientists discovered resilin a half-century ago in the wing hinges of locusts and elastic tendons of dragonflies. The extraordinary natural protein tops the best synthetic rubbers. Resilin can stretch to three times its original length, for instance, and then spring back to its initial shape without losing its elasticity, despite repeated stretching and relaxing cycles… Scientists have modified resilin with gold nanoparticles for possible use in diagnostics, engineered mosquito-based resin to act like human cartilage and developed a hybrid material for cardiovascular applications. “This increasing amount of knowledge gained from studies on natural resilin and resilin-like polypeptides continues to inspire new designs and applications of recombinant resilin-based biopolymers in biomedical and biotechnological applications,” the scientists state. ( ws2/newsid=31880.php) . It could be used as a high-efficiency rubber in industry, spinal disc implants, heart and blood valve substitutes, and perhaps even to add some extra spring to the heels of running shoes.

How tiny insects survive the rain

As well as helping explain how the insects (mosquitos) thrive in damp, humid environments, the research could ultimately help researchers to design tiny, flying robots that are just as impervious to the elements.

Robot ants: mini-machines mimic insect colony

There are many other research and engineering projects that take inspiration from nature (ants) to solve problems or design robots, as Dr Paul Graham, a biologist from the University of Sussex, explained. "The classic example," he said, "is the way in which we design information networks to move packets of data around…This, he explained, is the basis of an algorithm called ant colony optimisation which has already been used in telecoms networks.

Human-Like Brain Disturbances In Insects: Locusts Shed Light On Migraines, Stroke And Epilepsy

A similarity in brain disturbance between insects (locusts) and people suffering from migraines, stroke and epilepsy points the way toward new drug therapies to address these conditions.

Ladder-Walking Locusts Use Vision to Climb, Show Big Brains Aren't Always Best

As well as illustrating how insects can achieve similar results to mammals by using simpler mechanisms, the findings deepen our understanding of locusts' neural circuits. This is important because locusts have been a model organism for studying limb control for the past 40 years. Insects such as the locust have been crucial to many breakthroughs in neuroscience, and insects are often the inspiration for limb control in robotics.

Transparent, Thin and Tough: Why Don't Insect Wings Break?

The researchers believe that the vein pattern found in insect wings thus might inspire the design of more durable and lightweight artificial 'venous' wings for micro-air-vehicles.

Robo-fly uses micro energy to buzz

The paper describes how they build the device, which is part of a larger "robo-bee" project to build swarms of tiny insect-like robots that can be used to hunt for missing people, spy on enemies, track toxic pollutants or even pollinate crops if real bees are wiped out by disease… Wood says the robo-bee project is resulting in a lot of spin-off technologies that can be used for other sorts of micro-manufacturing…"These devices have a high coolness factor," he says. "It's easy to get kids excited about this. This is what you could be doing if you chose a career in science and engineering."

Natural anesthetic in honeybee bites

Honeybees never cease to amaze us... their bite contains a natural anesthetic. This discovery was made by a team of Greek and Cypriot researchers, in collaboration with the CNRS Laboratoire Evolution, Génomes et Spéciation. In a study published in the journal PLoS ONE, the researchers show that bites from domestic honeybees (Apis mellifera) contain a compound, 2-heptanone (2-H), that acts as an efficient natural anesthetic. This finding has been patented, so 2-H can now be commercially produced as a local anesthetic, which offers the additional advantage of low toxicity to humans and animals… Because 2-H has low toxicity compared with classic anesthetics, this natural substance is likely to find many applications in both human and veterinary medicine.

Tiny Brained Bees Solve a Complex Mathematical Problem

As well as enhancing our understanding of how bees move around the landscape pollinating crops and wild flowers, this research, which is due to be published in The American Naturalist , has other applications. Our lifestyle relies on networks such as traffic on the roads, information flow on the web and business supply chains. By understanding how bees can solve their problem with such a tiny brain we can improve our management of these everyday networks without needing lots of computer time. Dr Raine adds: "Despite their tiny brains bees are capable of extraordinary feats of behaviour. We need to understand how they can solve the Travelling Salesman Problem without a computer. What short-cuts do they use?' ( By tracking the bees, the scientists think they may even be able to turn the insects' flight plan into a solution to a tricky mathematical problem…"The bees may be able to help us solve the travelling salesman problem," The research team is still in the process of studying the patterns of bee flight. But once they have tracked and mapped each busy little pollinator's journey, they may be able to use the information to design new networks for humans. "As more networks develop, and existing ones grow, the problems of information routing and traffic flow become increasingly more difficult to solve," says Dr Raine. "One potential solution would be to continually allocate more and more computational power to solve these increasingly hard problems. "But studying the mechanisms used by bees… could provide us with techniques to very quickly determine workable routes through networks."

Stealth Behavior Allows Cockroaches to Seemingly Vanish

Aside from helping scientists understand animal (cockroach) locomotion, these findings will go into making better robots.

Robotic Insects Make First Controlled Flight

Inspired by the biology of a fly… Applications of the RoboBee project could include distributed environmental monitoring, search-and-rescue operations, or assistance with crop pollination, but the materials, fabrication techniques, and components that emerge along the way might prove to be even more significant. For example, the pop-up manufacturing process could enable a new class of complex medical devices.

Digital camera gives a bug's-eye view

A digital camera that functions like an insect's compound eye is reported in the journal Nature this week… The development team, led from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, US, believes its new imaging system could eventually find uses in surveillance and for endoscopic investigations of the human body. In their report, the researchers also suggest such cameras could be fitted to tiny aerial vehicles one day that behaved like robotic insects. ( These cameras could be used where wide viewing angles are important and space is at a premium — in advanced surveillance systems, for example…

Researchers Create A Biologically Inspired Artificial Compound Eye

Using the eyes of insects such as dragonflies and houseflies as models, a team of bioengineers at University of California, Berkeley, has created a series of artificial compound eyes. These eyes can eventually be used as cameras or sensory detectors to capture visual or chemical information from a wider field of vision than previously possible, even with the best fish-eye lens, said Luke P. Lee, the team's principal investigator. Potential applications include surveillance; high-speed motion detection; environmental sensing; medical procedures, such as endoscopies and image-guided surgeries that require cameras; and a number of clinical treatments that can be controlled by implanted light delivery devices. Their first applications may be in ultra-thin camera phones. After that, he expects to see them used in camcorders for omnidirectional surveillance imaging and such uses as small, hidden, wearable cameras.

New Camera Inspired by Insect Eyes

An insect's compound eye is an engineering marvel: high resolution, wide field of view, and incredible sensitivity to motion, all in a compact package. Now, a new digital camera provides the best-ever imitation of a bug's vision, using new optical materials and techniques. This technology could someday give patrolling surveillance drones the same exquisite vision as a dragonfly on the hunt…A wide-angle, compact camera would be ideal for a high-flying, motion-sensing surveillance drone or a miniature, snakelike endoscopic medical device, Rogers says. Next, the team will tinker with the radius and curvature of the flexible ommatidia array to see what other optical feats the camera is capable of.

Lens Combines Human and Insect Vision to Focus Wide-Angle Views

A lens invented at The Ohio State University combines the focusing ability of a human eye with the wide-angle view of an insect eye to capture images with depth. The results could be smartphones that rival the photo quality of digital cameras, and surgical imaging that enables doctors to see inside the human body like never before… With further development, the technology could be useful in laparoscopes for medical testing and surgery. With laparoscopy, doctors insert tiny wide-angle cameras into the patient's body in order to see as much tissue as they can without cutting the patient open. But such lenses don't offer a sense of depth: they show all objects -- both near and far -- in focus at all times. This poses a problem for doctors; if they mistake a close object for a far away one, they could accidentally graze healthy tissue with the scope or surgical instruments. "With our lens, doctors could get the wide-angle view they need, and still be able to judge the distance between the lens and tissue. They could place instruments with more confidence, and remove a tumor more easily, for example," Zhao said. The lens could ultimately find a home in smartphones. Because phone cameras don't have moving parts, they use a "fixed focus" lens, which treats a scene the same way a wide-angle lens does: all objects are in focus, so depth is missing. Phone cameras can't truly zoom in on objects, either. They just crop an image and enlarge it, which greatly reduces quality. With a shape-changing lens, a phone could potentially take pictures with the same depth and zoom as a more expensive digital camera.

Biochemical Buzz On Career Changes In Bees

Scientists from Brazil and Cuba are reporting that honey bees (are) a mainstay for behavioral research that cannot be done in other animals…

Honey Bee Gene Targeting Offers System to Understand Food-Related Behavior

"Honey bees are much less complex than mammals and humans, but [we] share many major genes," said Wang, "therefore, honey bees have become an emerging system for us to understand food related behavior in humans."…(It could) provide insight into human insulin pathways, potentially giving us an opportunity to learn how to control human dietary behavior.

Bees Get a Buzz from Flower Nectar Containing Caffeine

"Although human and honeybee brains obviously have lots of differences, when you look at the level of cells, proteins and genes, human and bee brains function very similarly. Thus, we can use the honeybee to investigate how caffeine affects our own brains and behaviours."

New Insight Into How Bees See Could Improve Artificial Intelligence Systems

New research from Monash University bee researcher Adrian Dyer could lead to improved artificial intelligence systems and computer programs for facial recognition. Dr Dyer is one of Australia's leading bee experts and his latest research shows that honeybees can learn to recognise human faces even when seen from different viewpoints. Dr Dyer said the research could be applied in the areas of new technology, particularly the development of imaging systems.

Old Bees' Memory Fades; Mirrors Recall of Humans and Other Mammals

Scientists at Arizona State University have discovered that older honey bees effectively reverse brain aging when they take on nest responsibilities typically handled by much younger bees. While current research on human age-related dementia focuses on potential new drug treatments, researchers say these findings suggest that social interventions may be used to slow or treat age-related dementia… In general, researchers are interested in creating a drug that could help people maintain brain function…( The scientists believe that their findings with bees offer a new means to model and understand the variability found in brain function between individuals; where some individuals' memories remain intact, while others' learning behavior becomes inflexible with age. ( The scientists are planning to use them as a model to study general aging processes in the brain, and they even hope that they may provide some clues on how to prevent them…” We thus hope to study the mechanisms responsible for age-dependent effects, like oxidative damage, and also to discover new ways to act against these aging processes.” ( Norwegian researcher Gro Amdam has succeeded in reversing the aging process in the bee brain -- findings which she believes may bring hope to people with dementia.

Dancing Honeybees Use Democratic Process When Selecting a New Home

Humans can learn much about democratic decision-making by looking at bees, Seeley says. If the members of a group have common interests, such as the bees in a swarm, then the keys to good collective decision-making are to ensure the group contains diverse members and an impartial leader -- and conducts open debates.

Sleep-Deprived Bees Have Difficulty Relearning

According to Menzel, the concept that something during sleep reactivates a memory for consolidation is a basic theory in sleep research. However, the human brain is far too complex to begin dissecting the intricate neurocircuits that underpin our memories, which is why Menzel has spent the last four decades working with honey bees: they are easy to train, well motivated and it is possible to identify the miniaturised circuits that control specific behaviours in their tiny brains.

How Manuka Honey Helps Fight Infection

Honey may reduce healing times in patients suffering mild to moderate burn wounds. A systematic review by Cochrane Researchers concluded that honey might be useful as an alternative to traditional wound dressings in treating burns. ( If we can discover exactly how manuka honey inhibits MRSA it could be used more frequently as a first-line treatment for infections with bacteria that are resistant to many currently available antibiotics." ( A new research published in the July 2010 print edition of the FASEB Journal explains for the first time how honey kills bacteria. Specifically, the research shows that bees make a protein that they add to the honey, called defensin-1, which could one day be used to treat burns and skin infections and to develop new drugs that could combat antibiotic-resistant infections…. "Honey or isolated honey-derived components might be of great value for prevention and treatment of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria." ( This research may increase the clinical use of manuka honey as doctors are faced with the threat of diminishingly effective antimicrobial options. "We need innovative and effective ways of controlling wound infections that are unlikely to contribute to increased antimicrobial resistance…"The use of a topical agent to eradicate bacteria from wounds is potentially cheaper and may well improve antibiotic therapy in the future. This will help reduce the transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria from colonised wounds to susceptible patients." ( — Manuka honey could help clear chronic wound infections and even prevent them from developing in the first place, according to a new study published in Microbiology… Manuka honey has been reported to inhibit more than 80 species of bacteria… This is significant as chronic wounds account for up to 4% of health care expenses in the developed world."

The green leafhopper jumps with near-constant acceleration

The green leafhopper, Cicadella viridis, was investigated during the take-off phase of the jump, through high-speed video recordings (8000 frames s−1)… The results of this study are of broad relevance in different research fields ranging from biomechanics to robotics.

Tiny Flying Robots Modeled on Insects

Scientists from around the world are reverse-engineering the mechanics of insects as they design midget robots to scout battlefields, search for victims trapped in rubble, and record images as they hover over distant planets.

E-Noses: Testing Their Mettle Against Fly Noses

Scientists from CSIRO’s Food Futures Flagship have made a breakthrough in efforts to extend the sensory range of ‘electronic noses’ (e-noses) by developing a system for comparing their performance against the much-superior nose of the fly. Although e-noses already have many uses – such as detecting spoilage in the food industry and monitoring air quality – they are not as discriminating as biological noses...

Gut movements in caterpillars inspire soft-body robot design

"Weird movements" in the abdomens of freely crawling caterpillars are making headlines in the fields of engineering and biology, says Jake Socha, Virginia Tech assistant professor of engineering science and mechanics. Beyond evolutionary implications, the findings are already contributing to the design and development of soft material robots... Their findings are already finding their way into designing maneuverable and orientation-independent soft material robots. The next step for these 'softbots' includes a diverse array of potential uses, such as shape-changing robots capable of engaging in search-and-rescue operations, space applications for which a 'gravity-agnostic' crawler would be highly valued, and medical applications in which a biocompatible, soft robot would reduce incidental tissue damage and discomfort.

Dragonfly Inspires Hi-Tech Hovercraft for Mars

Dragonflies possess not only compound eyes like other insects, but additional “simple” eyes called ocelli (sing., ocellum) with full-field retinas like mammalian eyes. These function as a “horizon sensor/attitude reference system,” according to an engineer trying to copy it. In an engineering project supported by the military and aerospace, Dr. Jaavan Chahla and an Australian team have built mechanical ocelli that allow small drone planes and helicopters to mimic the dragonfly’s ability to achieve low-altitude flight without hitting obstacles. In a presentation at JPL August 13, he showed film clips of flight tests that apply the dragonfly’s processing of “optical flow”, the information that comes from a shifting angles of light as you move. Since this is not dependent on heavy inertial guidance systems, magnetic compasses or other flight technologies, it permits the development of low-mass flight hardware suitable for Mars, which has no useful magnetic field… Commenting on the dragonfly’s abilities, Chahla stated that it (and other insects) are able to process huge amounts of data with 8–19 millisecond response – a volume of data man-made sensors have trouble managing. Yet they do it with a tiny brain with 0.01% the neurons in a human brain.

Roaches Inspire Robotics: Researchers Use Common Cockroach to Fine-Tune Robots of the Future

He and his fellow researchers are delving deeper into the neurological functioning of the cockroach. This, he says, will give engineers the information they need to design robots with a more compact build and greater efficiency in terms of energy, time, robustness and rigidity. Such superior robotics can be even used to explore new terrain in outer space.

Lessons from cockroaches could inform robotics

Running cockroaches start to recover from being shoved sideways before their dawdling nervous system kicks in to tell their legs what to do, researchers have found. These new insights on how biological systems stabilize could one day help engineers design steadier robots and improve doctors' understanding of human gait abnormalities.

Cockroaches and Running Robots

While the average human being probably doesn’t find the sight of a cockroach dashing through the kitchen at 1 a.m. anything short of disgusting, researchers at Oregon State think it’s inspiring. They are using the creature, a biological and engineering marvel, as “bioinspiration” for the world’s first legged robot that can run over rugged terrain.... Schmitt thinks that the running robots could serve a valuable role in military operations, law enforcement or space exploration, and the technology could also be used to improve prosthetic limbs.

Mini helicopter masters insect navigation trick

As insects fly forwards the ground beneath them sweeps backwards through their field of view. This "optical flow" is thought to provide crucial cues about speed and height. For example, the higher an insect's altitude, the slower the optical flow; the faster it flies, the faster the optical flow. Franceschini is currently talking to helicopter manufacturers about developing optical flow regulators for their aircraft. Such feedback mechanisms would be lightweight and trivial to develop and could help prevent crashes, he claims.

Japanese Researchers Closer to Creating Hybrid Robot Insects

After about thirty years of examining insects' brains Prof Kanzaki looks forward to become the first to open the door in the field of insect-machine hybrids. His main goal has always been to understand human brain and be able to rebuild connections that were damaged by an accident of diseases. However, before starting digging into the human brain he decided to pay a closer look to the micro-brains of insects.

Moth takes the driver's seat in smell-tracking robot

In the future, we may have autonomous robots that follow scents to track down gas leaks, rescue disaster victims trapped in debris, or perform other duties. While the algorithms that drive such robots could perhaps just be made up from scratch, scientists from the University of Tokyo are instead looking to the insect world for inspiration... The research team’s paper was published today in the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics...

How a Locust's Eardrum Could Lead To Tiny Microphones

Professor Daniel Robert is the research leader at Bristol: "We have found that different sound frequencies elicit very different mechanical responses in the locust hearing system. By studying these tiny nanoscale movements and understanding how sound waves are turned into mechanical responses we may be able to develop microphones based on the functions of natural hearing. These could detect very faint sounds and analyse their frequency, something that current microphones cannot pick up.""Mosquitoes hear through their antenna and this comprises around 15,000 sensory cells, as many as in the human ear. We have found that just like humans, mosquitoes have the capacity for active hearing. This means that they can generate their own vibrations to amplify incoming sounds and improve the sensitivity of their hearing. They are able to stop this positive feedback when sounds create enough vibration on their own. How the mosquito does this is poorly understood but if we can gain a better understanding it could open up the way to developing tiny sensors, robust enough to work in a range of acoustic environments but able to detect nanoscale sounds at frequencies of human interest."

Rainforest Insects Hear Like Humans

Deep in the South American rainforest, katydids perk up their tiny ears to listen for the clicking of bats. Apart from being on the insects' forelegs, those ears are remarkably similar to our own, new research shows. And by imitating the tiny structures, researchers speculate, engineers might create microscopic acoustic sensors... and should inspire engineers to make extremely small, sensitive microphones that can hear in ultrasonic frequencies, as well as improve medical devices like hearing aids.

A Pheromone-Guided Mobile Robot that Behaves like a Silkworm Moth with Living Antennae as Pheromone Sensors

Since antennae on a silkworm moth are very sensitive as compared to conventional artificial gas sensors, they can be used as living gas sensors that detect pheromone molecules. A simple recurrent artificial neural network was used to control pheromone-tracing behavior in the manner of a living male silkworm moth. This neural network generates mothlike behavior while interacting with the environment. The turning behav ior, in particular, is a suitable tactic for small intelligence when a robot misses pheromone molecules. Our neural network is so simple that it can be very easily used as the controlling devices for micro- robots, which have a small amount of space for intelligence. Our robot is a hybrid system that combines living organisms and artificial machines, and is therefore a new type of robot... Therefore, real-world experiments with living antennae may provide a fascinating interface between computer simulation and neuroethology.

Mechanics of Insect and Bird Flight

Because obviously understanding the nervous system correlates of how it controls flight must be quite important, because I know people are interested in working out if insects can do this, can we therefore make a better computer programme to control our planes and our artificial flying machines better.

Scientists discover how to send insects off the scent of crops

To secure our future food supply we must look for new and innovative ways to prevent and control pests and diseases. This is an interesting finding that could be applied across a number of important insect pests and may have far reaching implications for preventing human disease as well.”
_ how_to_send_insects_of_the_scent.html

Floppy Wings = Efficient Flight

Conserving power by minimizing drag is crucial for desert locusts that sometimes must fly 300 kilometers at a time--orders of magnitude farther than small, battery-powered helicopters can, Thomas says. Engineers trying to design tiny aircrafts "drool" at the insect's endurance...

From foe to friend: Mosquitoes that transmit malaria may help fight the disease

Scientists identify gene behind malaria-resistant mosquitoes...
For many years, the mosquitoes that transmit malaria to humans were seen as public enemies, and campaigns to eradicate the disease focused on eliminating the mosquitoes. But, as a study published today in Science shows, the mosquitoes can also be our allies in the fight against this common foe, which kills almost one million people a year and heavily impairs the economies of affected countries.

Silk, the ancient material of the future

Silk! It's been around for more than 5,000 years but scientists have reverse engineered the silk cocoon. The ancient material is soft, luxurious and...incredibly versatile for the future. New uses and manufacturing techniques for silk have been discovered and you can use it as a vein replacement, bone replacement, optical fibers, microneedles, cups, holograms and more. Silk has been used as currency, combat armor, drug storage, light refracting combat armor that would effectively make the wearer invisible  by running an electric charge through the silk exterior armor. As strong if not stronger than Kevlar, silk is a most amazing material. The strongest known natural fiber. And it can be synthesized with nothing more than water and protein at room temperature. This silk can replicate information stored on a CD, holograms can be imprinted on it. Information can be stored and retrieved at will just as a CD does. It can be molded into virtually any shape. It can be used as screws, nuts and bolts. Even be used as artificial veins and bones. From microelectronics to optical fibers to making a hologram, this new material can be used for a variety of purposes. If you're afraid of getting pricked by a needle at the doctor's office, you could choose instead a piece of silk that's even smaller than a follicle of hair! Silk can replicate information stored on a CD, holograms can be imprinted on it. Information can be stored and retrieved at will just as a CD does. It can be molded into virtually any shape. It can be used as screws, nuts and bolts. Even be used as artificial veins and bones. The applications of it is endless.  Silk is sustainable, biodegradable, biocompatible, edible and technological.'-corner/silk-the-ancient-material-of-the-future/

Penn Researchers Find New Way to Mimic the Color and Texture of Butterfly Wings

The colors of a butterfly's wings are unusually bright and beautiful and are the result of an unusual trait; the way they reflect light is fundamentally different from how color works most of the time.  A team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania has found a way to generate this kind of "structural color" that has the added benefit of another trait of butterfly wings: super-hydrophobicity, or the ability to strongly repel water..."A lot of research over the last 10 years has gone into trying to create structural colors like those found in nature, in things like butterfly wings... Both superhydrophobicity and structural color are in high demand for a variety of applications. Materials with structural color could be used in as light-based analogs of semiconductors, for example, for light guiding, lasing and sensing. As they repel liquids, superhydrophobic coatings are self-cleaning and waterproof. Since optical devices are highly dependent on their degree of light transmission, the ability to maintain the device surface's dryness and cleanliness will minimize the energy consumption and negative environmental impact without the use of intensive labors and chemicals. Yang has recently received a grant to develop such coatings for solar panels..."Specifically, we're interested in putting this kind of material on the outside of buildings," Yang said. "The structural color we can produce is bright and highly decorative, and it won't fade away like conventional pigmentation color dyes. The introduction of nano-roughness will offer additional benefits, such as energy efficiency and environmental friendliness.  "It could be a high-end facade for the aesthetics alone, in addition to the appeal of its self-cleaning properties. We are also developing energy efficient building skins that will integrate such materials in optical sensors."

Sticky feet send insect-bot climbing up the walls

All insects squirt a sticky fluid from their feet as they walk. This creates a liquid "bridge" between foot and surface, forming a strong glue-like bond through surface and molecular tension. Minghe Li, a roboticist at Tongji University in Shanghai, China, is trying to replicate this effect to create the next generation of climbing robots. He has designed an insect-bot that releases a mixture of honey and water onto its feet when it wants to climb. This fluid creates the liquid bridges favoured by insects. But the prototype has not been as successful as an insect.

Why Fly into a Forest Fire? It's One Way to Meet a Lot of Great Bugs

Their flaming passions encompass both finding new members of the fire-bugs club and understanding the insects' (beetles' and wasps') infrared-sensing organs, which are so unusual that the U.S. Air Force is trying to mimic them. And Schiff and his colleagues are also investigating why insects flock to fire zones in the first place.'s+one+

Color-Changing "Blast Badge" Detects Exposure to Explosive Shock Waves

Mimicking the reflective iridescence of a butterfly's wing, investigators at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed a color-changing patch that could be worn on soldiers' helmets and uniforms to indicate the strength of exposure to blasts from explosives in the field.

The National Geographic Ultimate Explorer television program Creepy Healers airs Sunday

Today doctors use medicinal maggots to clean wounds by dissolving dead tissue and to disinfect them by killing bacteria. These actions stimulate proper healing. "I call them microsurgeons," said Edgar Maeyens, Jr., a doctor in Coos Bay, Oregon, who employs maggot treatment. "They can do what we can't do with scalpels and lasers."

Periodic Cicadas Help Scientists Study Superfast Muscle

(F)or scientists at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), the periodic cicada also offer clues about how high-speed and high- performance muscles work, and how this knowledge might someday make human muscle work better...The question is, 'how do they manage to outperform us?' Can we somehow and someday engineer these features into 'designer muscles' that work faster and stronger and last longer? Can we use this engineered muscle to restore and enhance normal muscle function to people with degenerative muscle diseases?"

Advanced Optics...on Butterfly Wings

Long before engineers sought to create microscopic devices that manipulate light for electronics, known as photonics, Nature had developed animals that reflect light with smaller and more complex structures than any manufactured by man. New research shows that the wings of the morpho rhetenor butterfly reflect its brilliant blue colors not from pigment but from extremely small scaffolding within the scales of the butterfly's wings. These types of structures represent a sophisticated level of complexity researchers someday hope to attain through biomimetics, engineering that mimics the natural world.
( Applications of photonics are ubiquitous. Included are all areas from everyday life to the most advanced science, e.g. light detection, telecommunications , information processing, lighting , metrology , spectroscopy , holography , medicine (surgery, vision correction, endoscopy, health monitoring), military technology , laser material processing, visual art, biophotonics , agriculture , and robotics .

From Butterfly Wings to Metamaterials

John Pendry explains how the wing structure of the Blue Adonis butterfly inspired and informed his cutting-edge research into 'metamaterials'. Organisms such as the Blue Adonis possess unique microstructures on their wing surface which diffract blue light and lend them their iridescent blue appearan ce. In a similar way, metamaterials are being built from modified microstructures and components smaller than the wavelength of the light. By bending light around objects they are being used in the development of new materials including the world’s first invisibility cloak.

Probes inspired by butterflies

Inspired by the feeding tube of butterflies, US scientists have made a flexible and porous artificial proboscis that could be used to collect tiny liquid samples. The probe can be operated remotely to collect hazardous liquids.

How a mosquito survives a raindrop hit

A raindrop hitting a mosquito in flight is like a midair collision between a human and a bus. Except that the mosquito survives...Mosquito tricks may also inspire engineers designing swarms of tiny flying robots, or interest physicists and mathematicians studying complex fluid dynamics at this scale.

Insects: The Original White Meat

Residents of at least 113 nations eat bugs...Throughout the tropics and subtropics, however, certain insects, such as adult termites or various grubs, can be preferred to the flesh of birds, fish or traditional meat animals. In fact, the team found that crickets contained more than 1,550 milligrams of iron, 25 milligrams of zinc and 340 milligrams of calcium per 100 grams of dry tissue... just three crickets would provide an individual’s daily iron requirement. Many insects had a fairly high concentration of essential amino acids—types that humans need but can’t make...The quality of insect proteins is usually good too, compensating, Bukkens says, for what is lacking in largely vegetarian diets. Diners who want to reduce the size of their environmental footprint might reassess their aversion to bugs, DeFoliart says. Insects typically eaten by people are vegans—at least for much of their life cycles, he says—and generally “clean-living in their choice of food and habitat.” ... bugs can tap food sources normally worthless in conventional meat production, such as cacti, bamboo shoots, mesquite and woody scrub brush. What’s more, insects turn more of what they eat into tissue that can be consumed by others. For crickets fed diets comparable in quality to the feed given to conventional Western livestock, diet conversion efficiency is about twice as high as for broiler chicks and pigs, four times higher than sheep and nearly six times higher than steers...For the crickets, DeFoliart has calculated, this translates into “a true food conversion efficiency close to 20 times better than that of beef.” Gracer likens these differences to gas-guzzling versus gas-sipping vehicles: “Cows and pigs are the SUVs of the food world. And bugs—they’re the Priuses, maybe even bicycles.”

At German Airports, Bees Help Monitor Air Quality

Airports in Germany have come up with an unusual approach to monitoring air quality. The Düsseldorf International Airport and seven other airports are using bees as “biodetectives,” their honey regularly tested for toxins.

Future foods: What will we be eating in 20 years' time?
(I)nsects may become the next food frontier for space cuisine. The Space Agriculture Task Force, affiliated with the Japanese space agency, is looking for ways to feed astronauts on extended missions, like on a stint to Mars.  ( A team of Chinese scientists are proposing that silkworms-the mulberry-leaf-munching larvae of silkmoths-can be easily reared on long-term space flights and provide valuable protein (as in, meals) for astronauts.  ( Rising prices mean we are now starting to see the return of meat as a luxury. As a result we are looking for new ways to fill the meat gap." So what will fill such gaps and our stomachs - and how will we eat it? It's a win-win situation. Insects provide as much nutritional value as ordinary meat and are a great source of protein... They also cost less to raise than cattle, consume less water and do not have much of a carbon footprint. Plus, there are an estimated 1,400 species that are edible to man... burgers and sausages are likely to resemble their meat counterparts... A large chunk of the world's population already eat insects as a regular part of their diet. ( Rising prices mean we are now starting to see the return of meat as a luxury. As a result we are looking for new ways to fill the meat gap." So what will fill such gaps and our stomachs - and how will we eat it? It's a win-win situation. Insects provide as much nutritional value as ordinary meat and are a great source of protein... They also cost less to raise than cattle, consume less water and do not have much of a carbon footprint. Plus, there are an estimated 1,400 species that are edible to man... burgers and sausages are likely to resemble their meat counterparts... A large chunk of the world's population already eat insects as a regular part of their diet.

Silk moth's antenna inspires better nanopores

By mimicking the structure of the silk moth's antenna, researchers have developed a better nanopore - a tiny tunnel-shaped
tool that could advance understanding of a class of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's... Due to their small footprint and low power requirements, nanopores could also be used to detect biological warfare agents.

Butterfly wings could lead to advanced, low-cost thermal imaging devices

Morpho butterfly scales decorated with single-walled carbon nanotubes, efficiently detect mid-wave infrared light as visible iridescence changes. GE’s butterfly-inspired design could enable a new class of thermal imaging sensors with enhanced heat sensitivity and response speed.

Some examples include:

>Thermal Imaging for advanced medical diagnosis — to better visualize inflammation in the body and understand changes in a patient’s health earlier.
>Advanced thermal vision — to see things at night and during the day in much greater detail than what is possible today.
>Fire thermal Imaging— to aid firefighters with new handheld devices to enhance firefighter safety in operational situations
>Thermal security surveillance — to improve public safety and homeland protection
>Thermal characterization of wound infections — to facilitate early diagnosis.

REVIEW: Sex on Six Legs: Lessons on Life, Love & Language from the Insect World

And therein lies the true fascination of insect studies: they have a lot to teach us. Cutting-edge biology—genomes and nerve cells and evolutionary paths—is most effectively studied with bugs.

Here’s Looking at You, Katydid

Zuk describes ingenious experiments showing that some social insects can recognize individuals of their own species while others can recognize individual humans (a finding with implications for facial recognition software or for helping people overcome face blindness), and that insects aren’t just “milling masses of sameness.”

Book Review: Marlene Zuk's 'Sex on Six Legs'

(I)n the future, insects could potentially be used to enhance the lives of humans. If bees can be taught to count, as they can be, it's possible that they can help us understand and help humans with learning disabilities. If a neurochemical abnormality in "amnesiac" fruit flies affects their memories, then there's hope that the same neurochemical in humans could be targeted to affectively treat our own memory disorders.

Excerpt: Sex On Six Legs

The bees' ability is exciting not only because it helps demolish that boundary of the backbone with regard to intelligence, but because being forced to design the experiments required to demonstrate counting in a creature so different from us makes us strip down our methods to their essentials. Finding out if your three-year-old can count is one thing. But how do you come up with a test for counting, or learning in general, when your subjects can't talk, walk on two legs, point to anything, or even get rewarded with something they want, the way most people can? If we can design ways to study animals with these limitations, maybe it will help us work more effectively to test humans with limited abilities, or even design computer programs that could substitute for the abilities that are lacking…Computerized facial recognition would be a boon to security and crime-fighting agencies, and studying the mechanisms behind the bees' ability might yield insights into how to create such programs.

Some humans themselves cannot distinguish among human faces, a condition known as prosopagnosia, or face blindness, thought to be due to a genetic defect; one estimate claims that 2.5 percent of the population suffers from some form of it…In severe cases, sufferers cannot recognize their own face in a photograph. It seems to be related to the inability to navigate in the environment, which means that bees might be particularly suitable for using as models for studying the disorder.. Being able to break down a behavior such as recovering after a distraction into components so fine that we can determine exactly which gene is responsible for which part of learning is possible only in insects, at least so far, but maybe someday we will be able to extend this kind of detailed understanding to our own learning difficulties. What's more, the prospect of altering or curing defects in memory with gene therapy in insects suggests that similar treatments may eventually substitute for drugs or surgery in humans, a solution that could have fewer side effects and be targeted more precisely than current approaches.
(What good are yucky caterpillars? The next three articles (and some below) answer the question.--Karl)

Caterpillars Inspire New Movements in Soft Robots

Researchers have been examining the diverse behaviours of caterpillars to find solutions for the new generation of search and rescue soft robots. Despite their extreme flexibility and adaptability, current soft-bodied robots are often limited by their slow speed, leading the researchers to turn to terrestrial soft-bodied animals for inspiration. Some caterpillars have the extraordinary ability to rapidly curl themselves into a wheel and propel themselves away from predators. This highly dynamic process, called ballistic rolling, is one of the fastest wheeling behaviours in nature. Researchers from Tufts University, Massachusetts, saw this as an opportunity to design a robot that mimics this behaviour of caterpillars and to develop a better understanding of the mechanics behind ballistic rolling. "Due to the increased speed and range, limbless crawling robots with ballistic rolling capability could be deployed more generally at a disaster site such as a tsunami aftermath. The robot can wheel to a debris field and wiggle into the danger for us."

Caterpillars Crawl Like None Other: Unique Means of Animal Locomotion Has Implications for Robotics, Human Biomechanics

(T)the Tufts-led team reported that the gut of the crawling tobacco hawkmoth caterpillar (Manduca sexta) moves forward independently of and in advance of the surrounding body wall and legs, rather than moving along with them. Collaborating with Tufts were researchers from Virginia Tech and Argonne National Laboratory. "Understanding this novel motion system may help efforts to design soft-bodied robots."

Biomimetic Technologies Project Will Create First Soft-Bodied Robots

A group of researchers at Tufts University has launched a multidisciplinary initiative focused on the science and engineering of a new class of robots that are completely soft-bodied. These devices will make possible advances in such far flung arenas as medicine and space exploration. Barry Trimmer, professor of biology, and David Kaplan, professor of biomedical engineering, are co-directors of the Biomimetic Technologies for Soft-bodied Robots project… These devices, he notes, will have direct applications in robotics, such as manufacturing, emergency search and retrieval, and repair and maintenance of equipment in space; in medical diagnosis and treatment, including endoscopy, remote surgery, and prostheses design; and in novel electronics such as soft circuits and power supplies. The Keck grant will provide the team with specialized equipment for use with soft materials and biomechanics experiments, according to Trimmer, whose work with caterpillars provides insights on how to build the world's first soft-bodied robot. Trimmer, a neurobiologist, has been studying the nervous system and biology since 1990 through grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. His goal has been to better understand how the creatures can control their fluid movements using a simple brain and how they can move so flexibly without any joints. He hopes to adapt his caterpillar research to this new project using the expertise of Tufts engineers. The new robots developed at Tufts will be continuously deformable and capable of collapsing and crumpling into small volumes. They will have capabilities that are not currently available in single machines including climbing textured surfaces and irregular objects, crawling along ropes and wires, or burrowing into complex confined spaces. "Soft-bodied robots could make many dangerous surgeries much safer and less painful," Trimmer adds. "They could also be used by NASA to repair space stations by reaching places that astronauts can't, perform more complicated tasks in industry that require flexibility of movement, help in hazardous environments like nuclear reactors and landmine detection, and squeeze more efficiently into tight spaces." "It has the potential to develop a new area of science and engineering with an immense impact on human and environmental health as well as in establishing a new mode of conducting academic research across departmental boundaries.

Butterfly wings behind anti-counterfeiting technology

The technology is first being applied to banknotes but it also has many more practical applications, such as authenticating legal documents, retail merchandise, concert tickets, stock certificates, visas, passports, and pharmaceuticals. Landrock and Kaminska both continue their work as part of Nanotech’s scientific team. The company’s Nano-Optic Technology for Enhanced Security (NOtES) product stems from an idea originating in the purest form of nature – insects using colorful markings to identify themselves. How this works is microscopic gratings composed of nanostructures interact with light to produce the shimmering iridescence seen on the Costa Rican morpho butterfly. The nanostructures act to reflect and refract light waves to produce the morpho’s signature blue wings and absorb other unwanted light. The highly advanced wing structures are the result of many millennia of evolution (NOTE: See BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA!-- Karl) and only recently have Nanotech's scientists discovered how to reproduce these structures reliably. While others have talked about the possibility of re-creating it, Nanotech has made this a reality.

Honey bee search strategy: Robot swarms to search Mars caves

In a recent paper published in Acta Astronautica, Aron Kisdi, a University of Southampton engineer, proposes an idea of utilizing a swarm of robots to search large areas of Mars and the caves which current robots have been unable to explore. The theory behind Kisdi’s robots incorporates the idea of quorum sensing, similar to that used by honey bees. Quorum sensing is a type of decision-making process used by groups to coordinate behavior and can be seen with honey bees when worker bees scout for new nest areas. Bees will leave the nest, gather information, and determine the best new location. Kisdi’s theory works on this same principle. A computer program has been created that functions in a similar way to the honey bees. This concept would be cheaper to build than the large rovers and allow for much more initial exploration, leaving the in-depth exploration for the rovers.

Butterfly-Inspired Patch May Alert Soldiers to Brain Injury

A color-changing patch modeled after the iridescent wings of butterflies could give soldiers a heads-up on the severity of injuries sustained on the battlefield. About the size of a binder hole in loose-leaf paper, the patch is made of 3D photonic crystals — tiny structures whose geometry can be manipulated to control the way it interacts with light. Like butterfly wings, these crystals get their color from light bouncing off of the nanoscale lattice. The patches could be worn on a soldier’s helmet to provide medical personnel with blast-exposure information to help them diagnose brain injury — a typical injury sustained in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which are difficult to diagnose with today’s imaging technology, the researchers say. Yang also envisions uses for the patch beyond the battlefield. For example, it could also help gauge injury in football players and cyclists, or help diagnose damage to cell phones, computers, and other electronics.

Air Force flight control improvements

Flying insects' altitude control mechanisms are the focus of research being conducted in a Caltech laboratory under an Air Force Office of Scientific Research grant that may lead to technology that controls altitude in a variety of aircraft for the Air Force. "This work investigates sensory-motor feedback mechanisms in the insect brain that could inspire new approaches to flight stabilization and navigation in future insect-sized vehicles for the military," said Dr. Willard Larkin, AFOSR program manager who's supporting the work of lead researcher, Dr. Andrew Straw of Caltech. The research is being conducted in a laboratory where scientists are studying how flies use visual information to guide flight in natural environments. Straw noted that the flies don't have access to GPS or other radio signals that may also be unavailable in, for example, indoor environments. "However, with a tiny brain they are able to perform a variety of tasks such as finding food and mates despite changing light levels, wind gusts, wing damage, and so on," he said. "Flies rely heavily on vision." In their next phase, the scientists will study more sophisticated flight behaviors, asking if the fly creates a long-lasting neural representation of its visual surroundings or whether flight is only controlled by fast-acting reflexes.

Insect eyes inspire improved solar cells

The eyes of moths, which allow them to see well at night, are also covered with a water-repellent, antireflective coating that makes their eyes among the least reflective surfaces in nature and helps them hide from predators in the dark. Mimicking the moth eye's microstructure, a team of researchers in Japan has created a new film, suitable for mass-production, for covering solar cells that can cut down on the amount of reflected light and help capture more power from the sun. They estimate that the films would improve the annual efficiency of solar cells by 6 percent in Phoenix and by 5 percent in Tokyo. Yamada and his colleagues found the inspiration for this new technology a few years ago after they began looking for a broad-wavelength and omnidirectional antireflective structure in nature. The eyes of the moth were the best they found.

Researchers use the common cockroach to fine-tune robots of the future

Prof. Amir Ayali of Tel Aviv University's Department of Zoology says the study of cockroaches has already inspired advanced robotics. Robots have long been based on these six-legged houseguests, whose nervous system is relatively straightforward and easy to study. But until now, walking machines based on the cockroach's movement have been influenced by outside observations and mainly imitate the insect's appearance, not its internal mechanics. He and his fellow researchers are delving deeper into the neurological functioning of the cockroach. This, he says, will give engineers the information they need to design robots with a more compact build and greater efficiency in terms of energy, time, robustness and rigidity. Such superior robotics can be even used to explore new terrain in outer space.

An army of robotic insects

Cockroaches are not the only insects that have captured the scientific imagination. Projects that highlight both the flight of the locust and the crawling of the soft-bodied caterpillar are also underway. Locusts are amazing flyers, Prof. Ayali notes. Scientists are studying both their aerodynamic build and their energy metabolism for long-distance flights. Recordings of their nervous systems and simultaneous video tracking to observe the movement of their wings during flight can be expected to lead to better technology for miniscule flying robots. As for caterpillars, engineers are trying to recreate in soft-bodied robots what they call the creatures' "endless degrees of freedom of movement." "Caterpillars are not confined by a stiff structure — they have no rigid skeletons," says Prof. Ayali. "This is exactly what makes them unique."

Robots imitate honey bees for aircraft aerobatics

Australian scientists have developed a novel autopilot that guides aircraft through complex aerobatic manoeuvres by watching the horizon like a honey bee. Allowing aircraft to quickly sense which way is "up" by imitating how honeybees see, engineers and researchers at The Vision Centre, Queensland Brain Institute and the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering at The University of Queensland have made it possible for planes to guide themselves through extreme manoeuvres, including the loop, the barrel roll and the Immelmann turn, with speed, deftness and precision. “Our system, which takes 1000ths of a second to directly measure the position of the horizon, is much faster (than gyroscopes) at calculating position, and more accurate.” “We have created an autopilot that overcomes the errors generated from gyroscopes by imitating a biological system – the honeybees,” says Professor Mandyam Srinivasan. “Although we don't fully understand how these insects work, we know that they are good at stabilising themselves while making complicated flight manoeuvres by watching the horizon.”

Dragonfly wings inspire micro wind turbine design

THE way a dragonfly remains stable in flight is being mimicked to develop micro wind turbines that can withstand gale-force winds. Obata and his colleagues have used this finding to develop a low-cost model of a micro wind turbine whose 25-centimetre-long paper blades incorporate bumps like a dragonfly's wing.

Roboroaches: Students Prepare to Control Roaches With Remote-Control Brains

By looking at what electrical impulses can do in a cockroach brain, co-founder Greg Gage hopes he can show the next generation of neuroscientists what the brain is made of before they ever get to college. "You could argue that there are slight differences between the neurons in cockroaches and in humans," he told AOL News. "But they are really similar: They both encode information the same way, and they both look the same way. So you can learn a lot about human physiology from studying these simple creatures."

Suicide Grasshoppers Brainwashed by Parasite Worms

"Parasitic wasps can also make the host weave a special cocoon-like structure to protect the wasp pupae [offspring] against heavy rain," Thomas added. While revelations about the hairworm's antics may inspire a new generation of sci-fi aliens, the study team says their findings may also help the development of new medical treatments. Biron says mind-altering human pathogens—such as those that cause rabies, sleeping sickness, and toxoplasmosis—may manipulate their victim in similar ways. He said further understanding of biochemical communication between a parasite and its host may "ultimately assist researchers in the search for new drugs and vaccines."

Hornet Exoskeleton Harvests Solar Power

The researchers also found a number of energy processes unique to the insect. Like air conditioners and refrigerators, the hornet has a well-developed heat pump system in its body which keeps it cooler than the outside temperature while it forages in the sun. This is something that's not easy to do, says Bergman. To determine whether if the solar collecting prowess of the hornet could be duplicated, the team imitated the structure of the hornet's body but had poor results in achieving the same high efficiency rates of energy collection. In the future, they plan to refine the model to see if this "bio-mimicry" can give clues to novel renewable energy solutions.

An engineered directional nanofilm mimics nature's curious feats

Being able to mimic these features at a larger scale would spur new advances in renewable energy and medicine. In a paper published in the October 10 issue of Nature Materials, a team of researchers from Penn State, the Naval Research Laboratory, and Harvard Medical School report on the development of an engineered thin film that mimics the natural abilities of water striding insects to walk on the surface of water, and for butterflies to shed water from their wings… the nanofilm is envisioned for use as a coating that would reduce drag on the hull of vessels and retard fouling. Potential industrial and energy related uses are as directional syringes and fluid diodes, pump-free digital fluidic devices, increased efficiency of thermal cooling for microchips, coatings for tires, and even in energy production from rain drops.

Research Highlights

Inspired by the natural design of the Hercules beetle, researchers have created a film that changes colour according to the ambient humidity.In muggy weather, microscopic pockets in the insect's shell trap water, transforming the beetle (Dynastes hercules; pictured) from khaki-green to black.

Honeybee democracies offer insights, says new book

When honeybees seek a new home, they choose the best site through a democratic process that humans might do well to emulate, says a Cornell biologist in his new book, "Honeybee Democracy" (Princeton University Press). Indeed, humans can learn much about democratic decision-making by looking at bees, Seeley said. If the members of a group have common interests, like the bees in a swarm, then the keys to good collective decision-making are to ensure the group contains diverse members and an impartial leader, and conducts open debates.

Making bees less busy: Social environment changes internal clocks

Because bees and mammals' circadian clocks are similarly organized, the question is whether the clocks of other animals also strongly depend on their social environments. The next step is to find just how social exchanges influence gene expressions. Further research into this question may have implications for individuals who suffer from disturbances in their behavioral, sleeping, and waking cycles. Research into how these rhythms may be altered and even stabilized might identify new treatment options.

Insect brains are rich stores of new antibiotics

Cockroaches could be more of a health benefit than a health hazard according to scientists from the University of Nottingham, who have discovered powerful antibiotic properties in the brains of cockroaches and locusts. Simon Lee, a postgraduate researcher who is presenting his work at the Society for General Microbiology's autumn meeting in Nottingham, describes how the group identified up to nine different molecules in the insect tissues that were toxic to bacteria. These substances could lead to novel treatments for multi-drug resistant bacterial infections. The group found that the tissues of the brain and nervous system of the insects were able to kill more than 90% of Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Escherichia coli, without harming human cells. Studying the specific properties of the antibacterial molecules is currently underway in the laboratory. "We hope that these molecules could eventually be developed into treatments for E. coli and MRSA infections that are increasingly resistant to current drugs," explained Mr Lee. "Also, these new antibiotics could potentially provide alternatives to currently available drugs that may be effective but have serious and unwanted side effects," he said.

Miniature auto differential helps tiny aerial robots stay aloft

Engineers at Harvard University have created a millionth-scale automobile differential to govern the flight of minuscule aerial robots that could someday be used to probe environmental hazards, forest fires, and other places too perilous for people. To fly successfully through unpredictable environments, aerial microrobots -- like insects, nature's nimblest fliers -- have to negotiate conditions that change second-by-second. Insects usually accomplish this by flapping their wings in unison, a process whose kinematic and aerodynamic basis remains poorly understood. "We suspect that similar passive mechanisms exist in nature, in actual insects," Sreetharan says. "We take our inspiration from biology…"

X-ray Movies Reveal Insect Flight, Muscle Motion

Watching flies fly may not seem like high-tech science, but for researchers using the Western Hemisphere's most brilliant X-rays, located at the Advanced Photon Source at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, it not only helps explain how insects fly but also may someday aid in understanding human heart function. The authors note that the many similarities between insect muscle and other oscillatory muscles, including human cardiac muscle, mean that the research may be adaptable for other uses. “The data collected in these experiments," Irving said, "suggest new ways to study cardiac muscle that may allow us to explain how changes in its molecular machinery determine heart muscle performance. The fact that flight muscles are genetically mutable by the investigators raise the possibility they could serve as useful models of inherited human heart disease.”

Bug With Bifocals Baffles Biologists

The new article is an exploration of two eyes of the larvae of the sunburst diving beetle ( Thermonectus marmoratus). The two eyes have the bifocal lens, which the researchers have found in four of the larvae's 12 eyes, says researcher Elke K. Buschbeck, a UC associate professor of biology.
"We're hoping this discovery could hold implications for humans, pending possible future research in biomedical engineering," Buschbeck says. "The discovery could also have uses for any imaging technology," adds Stowasser.

Genome Comparison of Ants Establishes New Model Species for Molecular Research

By comparing two species of ants, Shelley Berger, PhD, the Daniel S. Och University Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues Danny Reinberg, PhD, New York University, and Juergen Liebig, PhD, Arizona State University, have established an important new avenue of research for epigenetics -- the study of how the expression or suppression of particular genes affects an organism's characteristics, development, and even behavior. "Many of the changes that underlie human disease are epigenetic in nature," Berger points out. "Using very sophisticated models like ants, the more we can understand how epigenetics might regulate these profound changes in physiology, the more we're going to understand about human development, aging and disease, and ultimately behavior."

Bee sting therapy causing a buzz in China

Bee sting therapy, which involves placing live bees on a patient's body at certain pressure points, dates back over 3000 years in China and was considered legal in 2007. It is similar to acupuncture in that it uses bees stingers instead of needles and the same principles, but the bees' toxin, which doctors say is a natural medicine, is essential, making the treatment like an injection. Doctors at the Kang Tai Bee Clinic, a traditional Chinese medical facility in northeast Beijing, say the therapy has proved effective in curing diseases such as rheumatism and arthritis, as well as a list of other ailments.

Novel bee venom derivative forms a nanoparticle 'smart bomb' to target cancer cells

The next time you are stung by a bee, here's some consolation: a toxic protein in bee venom, when altered, significantly improves the effectiveness liposome-encapsulated drugs or dyes, such as those already used to treat or diagnose cancer. This research, described in the August 2010 print issue of the FASEB Journal (, shows how modified melittin may revolutionize treatments for cancer and perhaps other conditions, such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and serious infections.

Honey-The World's Best Wound Healer?

Would you have ever guessed that this delicious food made by honeybees is actually one of mankind’s oldest-known medicines? Dating as far back as 5,000 years, honey has been successfully used to treat burns, coughs and ulcers. Recent Research shows that honey is far superior to antiseptics and antibiotics. Israeli researchers took honey to the test. They applied the sweet, sticky food twice a day to wounds of nine infants after two weeks of intravenous antibiotic treatment and daily antiseptic cleansing failed to heal them. Following just five days of honey treatment, the babies’ wounds improved significantly. After 16 more days, they were closed, clean, and sterile. In a Yemeni study, honey was shown to have a significant advantage over antiseptics used for infected surgical wounds. Fifty women whose wounds became infected were divided into two groups. One group was treated with honey, the other with antiseptics. The patients in the honey group recovered within 7 to 11 days, whereas the antiseptic group needed 12 to 27 days.

The Buzz: Targeting Cancer With Bee Venom

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have used an ingredient of bee venom called melittin to shrink or slow the growth of tumors in mice.

Behind the secrets of silk lie high-tech opportunities

Tougher than a bullet-proof vest yet synonymous with beauty and luxury, silk fibers are a masterpiece of nature whose remarkable properties have yet to be fully replicated in the laboratory. Thanks to their amazing mechanical properties as well as their looks, silk fibers have been important materials in textiles, medical sutures, and even armor for 5,000 years. Silk spun by spiders and silk worms combines high strength and extensibility. This one-two punch is unmatched by synthetics, even though silk is made from a relatively simple protein processed from water. But in recent years scientists have begun to unravel the secrets of silk. These discoveries have provided the basis for a new generation of applications for silk materials, from medical devices and drug delivery to electronics. The Science paper notes that the development of silk hydrogels, films, fibers and sponges is making possible advances in photonics and optics, nanotechnology, electronics, adhesives and microfluidics, as well as engineering of bone and ligaments. Because silk fiber formation does not rely on complex or toxic chemistries, such materials are biologically and environmentally friendly, even able to integrate with living systems. Down the silk road of the future, Kaplan and Omenetto believe applications could include degradable and flexible electronic displays for sensors that are biologically and environmentally compatible and implantable optical systems for diagnosis and treatment.

If spiders and worms can do it, why can't we?

Imagine a material that is tougher than Kelvar or steel, yet remarkably flexible. It's something you can easily find in your attic or a lingerie store. It's as instantly recognizable today as it was to our early ancestors, yet we still aren't sure exactly how it's made. The miracle thread in question is natural silk, the ubiquitous fibers made by spiders and silkworms, which has been used throughout history for items ranging from stockings and parachutes to surgical sutures. Today scientists and engineers are creating a number of useful materials based on silk research. But many researchers believe these applications may just be the start of a whole web of useful new products and devices, if only we had a better understanding of just how these small creatures spin their precious thread. But no one knows how exactly the spiders and silk worms actually make silk. So why all of this focus on silk? Omenetto and Kaplan say that figuring out how to replicate and modify silk could lead to new breakthroughs in medicine, among other fields. Although silk is used in sutures today, the authors explain, it has to be coated in wax, which prevents the sutures from being gradually absorbed into the body. Modified silks could be wax free, Omenetto and Kaplan write, and could be used to safely administer drugs within the body or even create "degradable and flexible electronic displays for improved physiological recording" of a person's body.

Gut movements in caterpillars inspire soft-body robot design

"Weird movements" in the abdomens of freely crawling caterpillars are making headlines in the fields of engineering… Using powerful x-rays generated by the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Illinois, they were actually able to track  the tracheae of the caterpillars. Their findings are already finding their way into designing maneuverable and orientation-independent soft material robots. The next step for these 'softbots' includes a diverse array of potential uses, such as shape-changing robots capable of engaging in search-and-rescue operations, space applications for which a 'gravity-agnostic' crawler would be highly valued, and medical applications in which a biocompatible, soft robot would reduce incidental tissue damage and discomfort.

Insulin signaling key to caste development in bees

Honeybees are vitally important to our economy through pollination of crops as well as production of honey, wax and royal jelly. Understanding bee biology is crucial to maintaining this industry in the face of problems like colony collapse disorder. Wolschin adds that bees also provide an important model system that can help us understand our own biology. For example, scientists have successfully reversed many signs of aging in worker bees. "That is pretty unique," says Wolschin. "You don't have other model organisms in aging research that can do that."

Tiny insect brains can solve big problems

Insects may have tiny brains, but they can perform some seriously impressive feats of mental gymnastics. According to a growing number of studies, some insects can count, categorize objects, even recognize human faces — all with brains the size of pinheads. Despite many attempts to link the volume of an animal's brain with the depth of its intelligence, scientists now propose that it's the complexity of connections between brain cells that matters most. Studying those connections — a more manageable task in a little brain than in a big one — could help researchers understand how bigger brains, including those of humans, work. Figuring out how a relatively small number of cells work together to process complex concepts could also lead to "smarter" computers that do some of the same tasks.

Colors of Butterfly Wing Yield Clues to Light-Altering Structures

The crystal nanostructures that ultimately give butterflies their color are called gryoids. These are “mind-bendingly weird” three-dimensional curving structures that selectively scatter light, said Richard Prum… Prum over the years became fascinated with the properties of the colors on butterfly wings and enlisted researchers to help study them from the Departments of Chemical Engineering, Physics and Mechanical Engineering, as well as the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science… Photonic engineers are using gyroid shapes to try to create more efficient solar cells and, by mimicking nature, may be able to produce more efficient optical devices as well, Prum said.

Termites and Climate Control

Those who believe termites’ only function is to keep pest control companies in business may want to visit Eastgate Center in Harare, Zimbabwe. Besides being the country’s largest office building and shopping center, the mostly concrete skyscraper built in 2007 features a unique climate-control system inspired by the gigantic termite mounds found in the Zimbabwean bush. Beyond eliminating the need for a $3.5 million air-conditioning plant, the structure uses 10 percent less energy than a conventional building of comparable size.

Cockroaches and Running Robots

While the average human being probably doesn’t find the sight of a cockroach dashing through the kitchen at 1 a.m. anything short of disgusting, researchers at Oregon State think it’s inspiring. They are using the creature, a biological and engineering marvel, as “bioinspiration” for the world’s first legged robot that can run over rugged terrain. Schmitt thinks that the running robots could serve a valuable role in military operations, law enforcement or space exploration, and the technology could also be used to improve prosthetic limbs.

Bumblebees for Crash Avoidance

Back in the 20th century, seatbelts and crash resistant materials were critical components of auto safety. Now engineers at Nissan Motor Company are implementing a bigger-picture approach by mimicking the world’s best collision avoiders, bumblebees. By integrating the oval-shaped personal space used by bees, Nissan’s “Safety Shield ” technology is being developed to allow vehicles to instantly change direction when a crash is imminent.

Hop, Jump and Stick; Robots Designed With Insect Instincts

Swarm robotics is offering innovative solutions to real-world problems by creating a new form of artificial intelligence based on insect-like instincts. Mirko Kovac, from EPFL's Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, is a young robotics engineer who has already made leaps forward in the field with his grasshopper-inspired jumping robot. He and his collaborators have created an innovative perching mechanism where the robot flies head first into the  object, a tree for example -- without being destroyed -- and attaches to almost any type of surface using sharp prongs. It then detaches on command. The goal is to create robots that can travel in swarms over rough terrain to come to the aide of catastrophe victims. Jumping, gliding and perching allow for mobility over rocky territory or destroyed urban areas. This new form of AI takes its inspiration from the insect world, but is more as an abstract reflection on their instincts and design principles than merely imitating their morphology. "I am fascinated by the creative process," says Kovac, "and how it is possible to use the sophistication found in nature to create something completely new.

Honey as an antibiotic: Scientists identify a secret ingredient in honey that kills bacteria

Sweet news for those looking for new antibiotics: A new research published in the July 2010 print edition of the FASEB Journal explains for the first time how honey kills bacteria. Specifically, the research shows that bees make a protein that they add to the honey, called defensin-1, which could one day be used to treat burns and skin infections and to develop new drugs that could combat antibiotic-resistant infections. "Honey or isolated honey-derived components might be of great value for prevention and treatment of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria." "We've known for millennia that honey can be good for what ails us, but we haven't known how it works," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal…

Bees help to beat MRSA bugs

Bees could have a key role to play in urgently-needed new treatments to fight the virulent MRSA bug, according to research led at the University of Strathclyde. The scientists found that a substance known as beeglue or propolis, originating from beehives in the Pacific region, was active against MRSA, which causes potentially fatal infections, particularly in hospital patients. "Beeglue is also a natural remedy widely-used in folk medicine for a variety of ailments…

Natural Honeycombs Are An Engineering Feat

Natural honeycombs are an engineering feat, able to house and store honey, pollen and a brood whilst maintaining strength and integrity even through large temperature shifts. But whilst researchers have thoroughly examined the macrostructure of combs, few have studied their microstructure. The team argue that cellular solids created to truly mimic the microstructure of natural honeycombs would overcome many of the drawbacks of modern cellular materials and provide a remarkable degree of design flexibility.

Tiny insect brains capable of huge feats

For the first time, researchers from the University's Discipline of Physiology have worked out how insects judge the speed of moving objects. "It appears they take into account different light patterns in nature, such as a foggy morning or a sunny day, and their brain cells adapt accordingly. "This mechanism in their brain enables them to distinguish moving objects in a wide variety of natural settings. It also highlights the fact that single neurons can exhibit extremely complex behaviour." His team is collaborating with industry to develop artificial eyes in robots, mimicking human and insect vision.

Butterfly wings may help scientists better understand photonic crystals

In order to get closer to making these photonic crystals, the three Penn State scientists devised a process that allowed them to replicate butterfly wings.

Darpa hatches plan for insect cyborgs to fly reconnaissance

"Michigan is focusing on horned beetles, while MIT and Boyce Thompson are working with large moths," said Darpa spokesman Jan Walker. "The program's first major milestone is scheduled for January 2008, when the contractors have to demonstrate controlled, tethered flight of the insect." Insect swarms with various sorts of different embedded MEMS sensors--video cameras, audio microphones, chemical sniffers and more--could then penetrate enemy territory in swarms to perform reconnaissance missions impossible or too dangerous for soldiers. "For instance, with genetic engineering Darpa could replace the sex attractant receptor on the moth antennae with receptors for other things, like explosives, drugs or toxins," said Easton.

Nanocoating Makes Perfectly Non-Reflecting Displays

A new nanocoating ensures a perfectly non-reflecting view on displays and through eyeglasses. The necessary surface structure is applied to the polymeric parts during manufacture, obviating the need for a separate process step. The hybrid coating has further advantages: the components are scratch-proof and easy to clean. Moths are the prototype. As they search for food at dusk they have to hide from predators. Their presence must not be betrayed by reflections on their facet eyes. On other insects these eyes shimmer, but the moth's eyes are perfectly non-reflecting. Tiny protuberances smaller than the wavelength of light form a periodic structure on the surface. This nanostructure creates a gentle transition between the refractive indices of the air and the cornea. As a result, the reflection of light is reduced and the moth remains undetected. Working in cooperation with industrial partners, the research scientists now aim to develop components for the auto industry, for example, which are not only attractive to look at but also hard-wearing and easy to clean.

From butterflies' wings to bank notes -- how nature's colors could cut bank fraud

Scientists have discovered a way of mimicking the stunningly bright and beautiful colours found on the wings of tropical butterflies. The findings could have important applications in the security printing industry, helping to make bank notes and credit cards harder to forge. The striking iridescent colours displayed on beetles, butterflies and other insects have long fascinated both physicists and biologists, but mimicking nature's most colourful, eye-catching surfaces has proved elusive.
According to Kolle: "We have unlocked one of nature's secrets and combined this knowledge with state-of-the-art nanofabrication to mimic the intricate optical designs found in nature." As well as helping scientists gain a deeper understanding of the physics behind these butterflies' colours, being able to mimic them has promising applications in security printing. "These artificial structures could be used to encrypt information in optical signatures on banknotes or other valuable items to protect them against forgery. We still need to refine our system but in future we could see structures based on butterflies wings shining from a £10 note or even our passports," he says.

Artificial butterfly in flight and filmed

Using motion analysis software, the researchers were able to monitor the ornithopter's aerodynamic performance, showing that flight can be realised with simple flapping motions without feedback control, a model which can be applied to future aerodynamic systems.

A Concise Summary of the General Nutritional Value of Insects

Edible insects may be closer now than ever before to acceptance in the western world as a resource that should be considered in trying to meet the world's present and future food needs. Insects have played an important part in the history of human nutrition in Africa, Asia and Latin America (Bodenheimer, 1951). They were an equally important resource for the Indians of western North America, who, like other indigenous groups, expended much organization and effort in harvesting them (Sutton, 1988). Hundreds of species have been used as human food.

Astronauts May Eat Insects

These tasty critters are full of protein, which makes them a very healthy snack. This means that one day astronauts may be taking a bucket of bugs into space. It would be very hard for astronauts to bring a cow aboard or grow plants. But a colony of worms would be ideal for space travel. They are easily stored, and can reproduce during the flight.

If only a robot could be more like a cockroach

He believes the research could help lead to better robots to search collapsed mines and buildings, to pilot drones, and for space exploration, where signals from Earth to a far off planet takes minutes, hours or longer. So, to make a robot that can turn, back up, climb over or burrow under and obstacle without the guidance of a far off rescue worker using computer controls, what could be better than mimicking an insect's comparatively simple brain? Easier said than done. To get these first recordings of neural activity, Research Assistant Allan Pollack spent more than a year perfecting techniques to perform brain surgery in an area the size of the head of a pin.

New Bee Sniffing Technology Can Detect Many Dangerous Vapors At Once

While bees are extremely important to our ecology, they are becoming important to our defense against biological and other weapons, as the bee’s discreet sense of smell, equivalent to a dog’s, is being exploited as a much cheaper way to detect various odors in the environment. As far back as 1999, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Controlled Biological Systems Program funded a bee-training program to detect buried landmines, so that many thousands of acres of the world’s land could be productively farmed without encountering landmines the ugly way. A bee’s natural instinct is to extend its proboscis when it encounters a desirable odor, anticipating the taste of a flower, let’s say. But the bees used in the 1999 DARPA experiment were trained, via classical Pavlovian conditioning, to respond to the odor of TNT instead. Their reward when they responded with a Proboscis Extension Reflex (PER), was a taste of sweet syrup. Then, trainers attached small diodes onto the backs of TNT-trained bees and used handheld radar tracking devices to chart where the bees went.
In 2010, bee training in the fields of defense and security, medicine, food, and building industries is big business. Bee training is essentially the same as it was in 1999, but the results are attained with more sophisticated and less expensive technology.

Artificial Bee Silk a Big Step Closer to Reality

CSIRO scientist Dr Tara Sutherland and her team have achieved another important milestone in the international quest to artificially produce insect silk. They have hand-drawn fine threads of honeybee silk from a 'soup' of silk proteins that they had produced transgenically. These threads were as strong as threads drawn from the honeybee silk gland, a significant step towards development of coiled coil silk biomaterials. "It means that we can now seriously consider the uses to which these biomimetic materials can be put," Dr Sutherland said. "We had previously identified the honeybee silk genes and knew that that the silk was encoded by four small non-repetitive genes -- a much simpler arrangement which made them excellent candidates for transgenic silk production." Possible practical uses for these silks would be tough, lightweight textiles, high-strength applications such as advanced composites for use in aviation and  marine environments, and medical applications such as sutures, artificial tendons and ligaments.

New analysis of the structure of silks explains paradox of super-strength

Spiders and silkworms are masters of materials science, but scientists are finally catching up. Silks are among the toughest materials known, stronger and less brittle, pound for pound, than steel. Now scientists at MIT have unraveled some of their deepest secrets in research that could lead the way to the creation of synthetic materials that duplicate, or even exceed, the extraordinary properties of natural silk. The long-term impact of this research, Buehler says, will be the development of a new material design paradigm that enables the creation of highly functional materials out of abundant, inexpensive materials. This would be a departure from the current approach, where strong bonds, expensive constituents, and energy intensive processing (at high temperatures) are used to obtain high-performance materials.

Caddisflies' underwater silk adhesive might suture wounds

Like silkworm moths, butterflies and spiders, caddisfly larvae spin silk, but they do so underwater instead on dry land. Now, University of Utah researchers have discovered why the fly's silk is sticky when wet and how that may make it valuable as an adhesive tape during surgery. Their adhesive is able to bond to a wide range of surfaces underwater: soft and hard, organic and inorganic. If we could copy this adhesive it would be useful on a wide range of tissue types."

Device could create real-life Spiderman

A device inspired by a tiny purple beetle that feeds on palm leaves could one day allow humans to walk up walls like the comic book hero Spiderman. The researchers, whose work was funded by the US military, hope to use their invention to develop gloves and shoes that will allow the wearer to climb up even the blankest of walls. The technology was inspired by the Palmetto tortoise beetle from Florida, which uses surface tension from tiny droplets of oil secreted by glands at the top of its legs to clamp its shell down onto a leaf when it is under attack from ants. Once attached, the beetle is capable of holding loads 100 times its own weight. Their research has been funded by Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is the research and development wing for the US military. Such a device could prove useful for special forces looking to scale buildings quickly as the ability to reverse the grip of the device makes it easy to release limbs independently. With such small power demands, the device could easily be incorporated into clothing, according to Professor Steen. "At the moment we don't know what DARPA envisages the end use of our research will be, but having the ability to stick and release a load easily could have a number of uses."

Pesky aphid thrives despite weak immune system

Aphids are not just pests, Gerardo says. They are also potential resources for questions related to human health. "Humans need beneficial bacteria for proper digestion in the gut and to protect against cavities in the teeth," she says. "Some people feel sick when they take antibiotics because the drug kills off all the beneficial bacteria. If we can study the process of how to keep beneficial bacteria while clearing out harmful bacteria across several organisms, including aphids, we might be able to understand it better."

Bees recognize human faces using feature configuration

What is really amazing is that an insect with a microdot-sized brain can handle this type of image analysis when we have entire regions of brain dedicated to the problem. Giurfa explains that if we want to design automatic facial recognition systems, we could learn a lot by using the bees' approach to face  recognition.

Why bees always have a safe landing-- Graceful and acrobatic motions would be well suited to aircraft design

Now, for the first time, scientists have figured out how these insects maneuver themselves onto all sorts of surfaces, from right side up to upside-down. The bees' technique, which depends mostly on eyesight, may help engineers design a new generation of automated aircraft that would be undetectable to radar or sonar systems and would make perfectly gentle landings, even in outer space. "This is something an engineer would not think of while sitting in an armchair and thinking about how to land an aircraft," said Mandyam Srinivasan, a  neuroscientist… "This is something we wouldn't have thought of if we hadn't watched bees do their landings." It's a graceful and acrobatic motion that would be well suited to aircraft design, Srinivasan said. Current landing systems use radiation-emitting systems, which are detectable and often undesirable for military applications."It's a beautiful way of landing using biological autopilot," he said of the bees. "We would like to make spacecraft that do smooth, flawless dockings.

See "Fantastic Flight".

Insect cells provide the key to alternative swine flu vaccination

Scientists in Vienna have developed a new technique for producing vaccines for H1N1, 'swine flu', based on insect cells. The research, published today in  the Biotechnology Journal, reveals how influenza vaccines can be produced faster than through the traditional method of egg-based production, revealing a new strategy for the fight against influenza pandemics. Using insect cells also bypasses the disadvantages of egg-based production, such as limited production capacity, allergic reactions to egg proteins and biosafety issues.

Cockroaches Offer Inspiration For Running Robots

The sight of a cockroach scurrying for cover may be nauseating, but the insect is also a biological and engineering marvel, and is providing researchers at Oregon State University with what they call “bioinspiration” in a quest to build the world’s first legged robot that is capable of running effortlessly over rough terrain. If successful, Schmitt said, running robots could serve valuable roles in difficult jobs, such as military operations, law enforcement or space exploration. Related technology might also be applied to improve the function of prosthetic limbs for amputees, or serve other needs.

Butterfly proboscis to sip cells

A butterfly's proboscis looks like a straw -- long, slender, and used for sipping -- but it works more like a paper towel, according to Konstantin Kornev of Clemson University. He hopes to borrow the tricks of this piece of insect anatomy to make small probes that can sample the fluid inside of cells.

Nanotechnology biomimics insects

Researchers in Australia and the UK are flying the idea that insect wings could act as a model for making self-cleaning, frictionless, and superhydrophobic materials. Insects are incredible nanotechnologists…For instance, some wings are superhydrophobic, due to a clever combination of natural chemistry and their detailed structure at the nanoscopic scale. This means that the wing cannot become wet, the tiniest droplet of water is instantly repelled. Likewise, other insect wing surfaces are almost frictionless, so that any tiny dust particles that might stick are sloughed away with minimal force. Now(scientists) are hoping to mimic these properties by using the surface of insect wings as a template for producing plastics, or polymeric, materials with novel surface properties. If they are successful, they might then develop self-cleaning, water-resistant, and friction-free coatings for a wide range of machine components,  construction materials, and other applications, including nano- and micro-electromechanical systems (NEMS and MEMS) and lab-on-a-chip devices for medical diagnostics and environmental sensing.

Locust flight simulator…

The simulator could be a big step forward for the many teams around the world who are designing robotic insects, mainly for military purposes, though Thomas expects them to have a massive role as toys, too. "Imagine sitting in your living room doing aerial combat with radio-controlled dragonflies. Everybody would love that," he says.

Secrets Of Insect Flight Revealed: Modeling The Aerodynamic Secrets Of One Of Nature's Most Efficient Flyers

Researchers are one step closer to creating a micro-aircraft that flies with the manoeuvrability and energy efficiency of an insect after decoding the aerodynamic secrets of insect flight. The breakthrough result, published in the journal Science this week, means engineers understand for the first time the aerodynamic secrets of one of  Nature's most efficient flyers – information vital to the creation of miniature robot flyers for use in situations such as search and rescue, military applications and inspecting hazardous environments.

Nanometric Butterfly Wings Created

Martín-Palma points out that the structures resulting from replicating the biotemplate of butterfly wings could be used to make various optically active structures, such as optical diffusers or coverings that maximise solar cell light absorption, or other types of devices. " The compound eyes of certain insects are sound candidates for a large number of applications as they provide great angular vision. "The development of miniature cameras and optical sensors based on these organs would make it possible for them to be installed in small spaces in cars, mobile telephones and displays, apart from having uses in areas such as medicine (the development of endoscopes) and security (surveillance)", Martín-Palma says.

Butterfly wings may help scientists better understand photonic crystals

Lakhtakia and his colleagues believe that there are several applications that could be enhanced through research of these butterfly wing replicas. “This could lead to smaller electronic circuitry, since it could lead to ultraviolet optics to fabricate semiconductor devices.” He also sees uses at infrared wavelengths. “There aren’t many materials that are useful with infrared, but this could help. Some of the applications include sensors for the military and police.” He and his colleagues are most interested in the photonic capabilities, as well as the possibility that studying butterfly wings could lead to better solar energy concentrators.

Butterflies and Photonic Crystals

If photonic crystals can have such a dramatic impact on butterfly thermal management, suggest the researchers, manmade photonic crystals may someday provide flexible thermal protection in extreme environments, possibly being incorporated into such things as space suits or desert garments. (L. P. Biro et al, Physical Review E, February 2003)

Remote controlled bugs buzz off

Cyborg beetles may serve as useful models for "micro air vehicles", the Berkeley team say in their findings. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), which funds their research, has been pursuing a Nano Air Vehicle (NAV). "It's actually quite useful to find out about the dynamics of flight and the biomechanics of the insect," says Professor Starkey.

Catch the Buzz about Nature's Elastic Band

In a move that could signal an end to bad backs, writing in last week's edition of Nature a team of Australian scientists led by the Queensland researcher Dr Chris Elvin have successfully copied the insect gene that enables the wings of a bee to flap at least 500 million times during its life, and has catapulted "frog hoppers" into the Guinness Book of Records as the world's greatest jumpers. Resilin is essentially Nature's elastic band. It's extremely tough, it can store energy like a spring, which is how blood-hungry fleas bounce from one tasty host to another, and it can expand and contract very fast without  wearing out. Until now it has been impossible to produce this substance artificially…

The Good Cop with a Sting in His Tail

Scientists in America have been training 'sniffer wasps' to sniff out explosives, dead bodies and mouldy corn…Maybe in future airports will be hiring sniffer wasps instead of sniffer dogs.

How manuka honey helps fight infection
"Manuka and other honeys have been known to have wound healing and anti-bacterial properties for some time," said Dr Jenkins, "But the way in which they act is still not known. If we can discover exactly how manuka honey inhibits MRSA it could be used more frequently as a first-line treatment for infections with bacteria that are resistant to many currently available antibiotics". (Manuka Honey is produced by bees that gather nectar from the flowers of the Manuka bush. Karl)

Silk-based optical waveguides meet biomedical needs

There is a growing need for biocompatible photonic components for biomedical applications – from in vivo glucose monitoring to detecting harmful viruses or the telltale markers of Alzheimer's. Optical waveguides are of particular interest because of their ability to manipulate and transport light in a  controlled manner in a variety of configurations. In an article featured on the cover of Advanced Materials, researchers at Tufts University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign demonstrated a new method for fabricating silk-based optical waveguides that are biocompatible, biodegradable and can be readily functionalized with active molecules. The Tufts-UIUC team successfully demonstrated light guiding through this new class of waveguides created by direct ink writing using Bombyx mori (silk worm) silk fibroin inks.

Japanese scientists to build robot insects

Police release a swarm of robot-moths to sniff out a distant drug stash. Rescue robot-bees dodge through earthquake rubble to find survivors. These may sound like science-fiction scenarios, but they are the visions of Japanese scientists who hope to understand and then rebuild the brains of insects and program them for specific tasks. Such modifications could pave the way to creating a robo-bug which could in future sense illegal drugs several kilometres away, as well as landmines,  people buried under rubble, or toxic gas, the professor said.,,25780913-2,00.html

Volvo Thinks Locusts Can Make Us Safer Drivers

Volvo is determined to build an injury-proof car by 2020, and the engineers working out the bugs developing so complex a vehicle hope to include a few as well. They’re studying the African locust to figure out how to make cars mimic the insect’s uncanny ability to avoid crashing into each other as they swarm.
"As it turns out, the locust processing system is much more sophisticated than the hardware/software currently available. In the end technology was no match for nature."

Modeling biomimetic algorithms for velocity discrimination in motion of natural scenes.

After 30 years of physiological research, the visual processing pathway mediating wide-field motion detection in insects is among the best studied of all neural pathways. We are using knowledge acquired about the key stages of motion analysis, in combination with our recent studies of adaptive properties of insect motion detectors, to develop and model 'biomimetic' algorithms based on insect vision…Thus we may be well served by 'reverse engineering' the relatively simple brain of the fly. The aim is not to model specific biological processes in detail, but rather to derive inspiration from the neurobiological system to seek simple solutions to tasks that have posed major challenges to traditional engineering approaches…we are presently developing algorithms for incorporation into analog VLSI hardware based on local adaptive properties of insect motion detectors. We aim to develop motion-processing chips with applications in the area of flight control for autonomous aerial vehicles and passive motion detection for surveillance. Analog VLSI has very low energy consumption compared with digital computer technology, so that the potential cost and size requirements of control systems based on insect vision may be very modest, and suitable for adding low-cost embedded control elements to a variety of vehicle types, from miniature unmanned vehicles to collision avoidance detectors that can be embedded into the bumper bars of future cars.

Bio-Inspired Engineering of Exploration Systems

Insects (for example, honey bees and dragonflies) cope remarkably well with their world, despite possessing a brain that carries less than 0.01 percent as many neurons as that of the human. Although most insects have immobile eyes, fixed-focus optics, and lack stereo vision, they use a number of ingenious strategies for perceiving their world in three dimensions and navigating successfully in it. We are distilling some of these insect-inspired strategies to obtain unique solutions to navigation, hazard avoidance, terrain following, and smooth deployment of payload. Such functionality can enable one to reach previously unreachable exploration sites.

Honeybees sterilise their hives

A number of studies have shown that propolis (a mixture made by honeybees) has a range of antimicrobial properties, but mostly in relation to human health. For example, numerous publications cite its effectiveness against viruses, bacteria and even cancer cells.

Genes Let Creepy-crawly Creatures Survive Deep Freeze

Understanding how animals (artic springtail insects in this article) survive harsh cold environments will hopefully provide novel solutions for medical research and preserving tissues for transplant operations".

Cyborg crickets could chirp at the smell of survivors

If yoou’re trapped under rubble after an earthquake, wondering if you'll see daylight again, the last thing you need is an insect buzzing around your face.  But that insect could save your life, if a scheme funded by the Pentagon comes off.
The project aims to co-opt the way some insects communicate to give early warning of chemical attacks on the battlefield - the equivalent of the "canary in a coal mine". The researchers behind it say the technology could be put to good use in civilian life, from locating disaster victims to monitoring for pollution and gas leaks, or acting as smoke detectors.

A young brain for an old bee

The scientists are planning to use them as a model to study general aging processes in the brain, and they even hope that they may provide some clues on how to prevent them… We thus hope to study the mechanisms responsible for age-dependent effects, like oxidative damage, and also to discover new ways to act against these aging processes."

See Like a Bee, Fly Like a Fly

An aerospace engineer in Australia was inspired by insects to design a better way for missiles to find their targets. Aviation Week reported…It is planned to incorporate the final Bioseeker technology in a low cost, miniaturised and rugged add-on device that provides autonomous guidance to airborne systems, increasing their ability to acquire, track and strike moving targets.

Drug-Sniffing Wasps May Sting Crooks

Sneaky drug smugglers and terrorists may soon meet their match: a handheld chemical detector powered by trained wasps.

Ancient Virus Gave Wasps Their Sting

Learning more about how these viruses work could have clinical applications, says Drezen. The polydnavirus acts as a gene vector, carrying much larger chunks of DNA to the caterpillar than any synthetic gene therapy agent can transport. Thus, studying these viruses could enhance gene-therapy techniques, Drezen says.

Natural Solar Collectors On Butterfly Wings Inspire More Powerful Solar Cells

The discovery that butterfly wings have scales that act as tiny solar collectors has led scientists in China and Japan to design a more efficient solar cell that could be used for powering homes, businesses, and other applications in the future.

New Insight Into How Bees See Could Improve Artificial Intelligence Systems

New research from Monash University bee researcher Adrian Dyer could lead to improved artificial intelligence systems and computer programs for facial recognition..."What we have shown is that the bee brain, which contains less than 1 million neurons, is actually very good at learning to master complex tasks. Computer and imaging technology programmers who are working on solving complex visual recognition tasks using minimal hardware resources will find this research useful," Dr Dyer said.

Wasp inspires brain-boring surgical robot

Now, a team that includes Rodriguez y Baena is mimicking this mechanism to create a medical probe. The researchers have developed a prototype silicon needle consisting of two shafts with 50-micrometre-long fin-shaped teeth. Motors oscillate the two shafts to propel the device forwards in the same way as the wood wasp's ovipositor.

View of Forest Insects Changing from Pests to Partners

>Insects aid decomposition, stimulate the breakdown of organic materials, enhance soil fertility and plant growth, burrow in soils and increase its porosity and water-holding capacity.
>Insects are herbivores that eat plants, influencing where they can grow. Sometimes they kill trees and other plants to reduce competition, and many times feed on trees without killing them in ways that actually improve the health and long-term growth of trees and forests.
>Insects are a key food source for vertebrates and other animals, and play a major role in the food chain.
>Insect are dispersal agents to carry seeds, fungal spores, and even other invertebrates from one place to another.
>Insects are pollinators, and in this role also help control the movement of plant species.

"When you have a highly destructive insect epidemic, what that really should be telling us is not that we have an insect problem, but that we have a   forest health problem," Schowalter said. "It's monocultures and fire suppression that cause insects to become nuisances. The pests that plague us are all too often of our own making."

Butterfly wings used to print self-cleaning windows

Butterfly wings - and lotus leaves - are able to repel water with ease because of the microstructures on their surface. The densely packed microscopic bumps of the lotus leaf and the waffle-like structures found on butterfly wings both make it difficult for water droplets to spread out. As a result, the drops roll off, and they take dirt with them. This makes the surfaces ideal as the basis for self-cleaning windows and windshields. wings-

Honey Adds Health Benefits

Antioxidant-rich honey is a healthy alternative to chemical additives and refined sweeteners in commercial salad dressings, said a new University of Illinois study.

Butterflies - causing a beauty flutter

Dr Abigail Ingram, a postdoctoral researcher at the Natural History Museum, is studying butterfly iridescence. Butterflies have two layers of scales on  their wings: the deeper basal one contains melanin, a pigment that absorbs light; the top cover scale reflects it. The complex 3-D structure of these scales, combined with the dual layers, creates the shimmering colours of the insect's wing. Dr Ingram is working with a leading cosmetics company to see if butterfly technology can be copied or adapted to create more luminescent, sparkling eye shadows, lipsticks and foundation. Butterflies also have an important place in our medical history. The mocker swallowtail (Papilio dardanus) is one of the butterflies you will be able to see at the Amazing Butterflies exhibition, which opened this week at the Natural History Musuem. It was the inspiration for a life-saving discovery, through its ability to closely resemble nasty-tasting species that birds avoid. Cyril Clarke, a Liverpool doctor who became a well-known medical geneticist, kept butterflies as a hobby. He realised that the butterfly's ability is an inherited trait and that the way it was passed from one generation to another was similar to the way the Rhesus blood groups were inherited in human beings. In the late 1950s, the babies of women who were rhesus negative often died or developed life threatening anaemia. Antibodies formed during a first  pregnancy caused problems in later pregnancies when they attacked the baby's red blood cells. Inspired by his butterflies, Dr Clarke developed anti-D, a way of destroying any antibodies that the mother had developed so that future pregnancies would be protected. Professor Parker agrees that whether a particular application takes off is dependent on the moment. He cites solar panels and flies as an example. There is a particular part of a fly's eye through which light passes with almost no reflection. Professor Parker's group copied this material, which is used on solar panels, resulting in a 10 per cent increase in energy capture. A decade ago, there was no commercial imperative to make solar panels more efficient.

Honeybees used to study effects of cocaine

Barron is confident that honeybees are as susceptible to cocaine's allure as humans, and is keen to find out more about the drug's effects. He hopes to identify the neural pathways that it targets to find out more about the mechanisms involved in human addiction and to find out whether the drug has as devastating an effect on honey bee society as it does on human society.

Cyborg cockroaches could power own electric 'brains'

Engineers have been attempting to gain control of insects' bodies for some time, to act as discreet spies or to take advantage of their advanced sense of smell to detect chemicals or explosives. -cockroaches-could-

Insects biomimicry for robots that hop, jump and stick

The goal is to create robots that can travel in swarms over rough terrain to come to the aide of catastrophe victims... This new form of AI (artificial intelligence) takes its inspiration from the insect world, but is more as an abstract reflection on their instincts and design principles than merely imitating their morphology... “I am fascinated by the creative process,” said Kovac, “and how it is possible to use the sophistication found in nature to create something completely new.”

Researchers Developing Cyborg Insects that Draw Energy From Their Own Wings

Researchers at the University of Michigan are currently working on a line of cyborg insects that would use the energy generated from their own wing motion to power sensors installed in tiny insect backpacks. The researchers see the insects being used in future first responder situations where they would investigate hazardous environments that could potentially be dangerous for humans to enter into. These little flying insecto-robots could be the first ones to scope out future nuclear disasters, areas where chemical warfare has been deployed, or even to survey land masses after natural disasters like volcanic eruptions or tsunamis.

“Borg” insects – mini spies of the future?

Insects’ agility in flight is unmatched. It’s been an inspiration to many inventors as in inventing helicopters or other flying machines. Instead creating robots which resemble insects, a few groups of engineers decided to develop technology which controls insects. An unquestioned fact is that nature developed the insects far better than humans are trying to mimic while building robots which resemble animals (if nothing else it had far more time)... The Hybrid Insect Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems project (HI-MEMS), led by Amit Lal, aims to miniaturize all the technology necessary so that it fits within the body of a flying insect.

Smack! Was that a Mosquito You Killed, Or a Drone?

(A) team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University is helping to develop a micro aerial vehicle (MAV for short) that will be no bigger than a bug...(Besides military reconnaissance) highly fuel efficient micro machines, MAV’s could become an essential part of the sustainable tech landscape, for example in wind turbine maintenance and other clean energy tasks, data collection, and environmental monitoring. -mav-the-size-of-a-bug/

Unraveling a Butterfly's Aerial Antics Could Help Builders of Bug-Size Flying Robots

By figuring out how butterflies flutter among flowers with amazing grace and agility, the researchers hope to help small airborne robots mimic these maneuvers... U.S. defense agencies, which have funded this research, are supporting the development of bug-size flyers to carry out reconnaissance, search-and-rescue and environmental monitoring missions without risking human lives... Butterflies move too quickly for someone to see these wing tactics clearly with the naked eye, so Lin, working with graduate student Lingxiao Zheng, used high-speed, high-resolution videogrammetry to mathematically document the trajectory and body conformation of painted lady butterflies. They accomplished this with three video cameras capable of recording 3,000 one-megapixel images per second... Lin's newest project involves even smaller bugs. With support from a Johns Hopkins Provost's Undergraduate Research Award, he has begun aiming his video cameras at fruit flies, hoping to solve the mystery of how these insects manage to land upside down on perches.

Researchers observe flying insects to create smaller flying machines

A group of researchers from the University of Oxford is developing small aerial vehicles with flapping wings inspired by those found on insects... “Nature has solved the problem of how to design miniature flying machines”, said lead researcher Dr Richard Bomphrey, from the University of Oxford Department of Zoology. “By learning those lessons, our findings will make it possible to aerodynamically engineer a new breed of surveillance vehicles that, because they’re as small as insects and also fly like them, completely blend into their surroundings”...(A) an insect’s flapping wings combine both thrust and lift. If manmade vehicles could emulate this more efficient approach, it would be possible to scale down flying machines to much smaller dimensions than is currently possible... “This will require a much more detailed understanding than we currently have of how insect wings have evolved, and specifically of how different types of insect wing have evolved for different purposes”, said Bomphrey. “For instance, bees are load-lifters, a predator such as a dragonfly is fast and maneuverable, and creatures like locusts have to range over vast distances. Investigating the differences between insect wing designs is a key focus of our work. These ecological differences have led to a variety of wing designs depending on the task needing to be performed. It means that new vehicles could be customized to suit particular uses ranging from exploring hostile terrain, collapsed buildings or chemical spills to providing enhanced TV coverage of sports and other events”. Supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Bomphrey and his team use both cutting-edge computer modeling capabilities and the latest high-speed, high-resolution camera technology to investigate insect wing design and performance.

Bugs of War

The Hybrid Insect Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (HI-MEMS) seeks to implant computer chips inside caterpillars before they undergo metamorphosis into moths or butterflies. Scientists hope to use that 1 circuitry to remotely control the flight path of insects so that they can someday be used to fly into enemy locations and transmit intelligence without ever being detected. Wicked Bugs by Amy Stewart

*Don’t get excited about the gene similarity—it is simply a mark of good design. Major creationist sites (ICR, AiG, CRS,CMI and others have debunked the famous “98% Chimp/Human DNA Similarity” evolutionist hoopla.

**Nearly every article from which these examples were obtained has the obigitory mantra of some reference to evolutionism. The reader should refer to the articles “ BWAH HAH HAH HAAAA!” and “Helping Evolutionists Get It Right” for a point of view regarding the pathetic attempts to attach “evolution” to the facts above.


(Red bold font added to show the hypocrisy of True Believers in Evolutionism and the FACT that Evolutionists Tacitly Admit Creation.)

Xenos peckii's Compound Eye Structure Inspired Flat Microlens Array for Super-resolution Imaging (2021)

Inspired by compound eye structures found in insects, we demonstrate an ultrathin arrayed camera enabled by a flat multilevel diffractive microlens array for super-resolution visible imaging, with resolution improvement factor of 1.4 compared to the diffraction limit.

Ultrathin but fully packaged high-resolution camera (2020)

The unique structures of biological vision systems in nature inspired scientists to design ultracompact imaging systems. Researchers have made an ultracompact camera that captures high-contrast and high-resolution images. Fully packaged with micro-optical elements such as inverted micro-lenses, multilayered pinhole arrays, and gap spacers on the image sensor, the camera boasts a field of view of 73°… Inspired by the eye structures of the paper wasp species Xenos peckii, the research team completely suppressed optical noise between micro-lenses while reducing camera thickness. The camera has successfully demonstrated high-contrast clear array images acquired from tiny micro lenses…An insect's compound eye has superior visual characteristics, such as a wide viewing angle, high motion sensitivity, and a large depth of field while maintaining a small volume of visual structure with a small focal length…

Professor Jeong said, "This research has led to technological advances in imaging technology. We will continue to strive to make significant impacts on multidisciplinary research projects in the fields of microtechnology and nanotechnology, seeking inspiration from natural photonic structures."

Ultrathin digital camera inspired by Xenos peckii eyes (2019)

The visual system of Xenos peckii, an endoparasite of paper wasps, demonstrates distinct benefits for high sensitivity and high resolution, differing from the compound eyes of most insects. Inspired by their unique features, a KAIST team developed an ultrathin digital camera that emulates the unique eyes of Xenos peckii. The ultrathin digital camera offers a wide field of view and high resolution in a slimmer body compared to existing imaging systems. It is expected to support various applications, such as monitoring equipment, medical imaging devices, and mobile imaging systems. Professor Ki-Hun Jeong from the Department of Bio and Brain Engineering and his team are known for mimicking biological visual organs. The team's past research includes an LED lens based on the abdominal segments of fireflies and biologically inspired anti-reflective structures. Recently, the demand for ultrathin digital cameras has increased, due to the miniaturization of electronic and optical devices… As the first insect-inspired, ultrathin camera that integrates a microcamera on a conventional CMOS image sensor array, our study will have a significant impact in optics and related fields."

Xenos peckii vision inspires an ultrathin digital camera (2018)

Increased demand for compact devices leads to rapid development of miniaturized digital cameras. However, conventional camera modules contain multiple lenses along the optical axis to compensate for optical aberrations that introduce technical challenges in reducing the total thickness of the camera module. Here, we report an ultrathin digital camera inspired by the vision principle of Xenos peckii, an endoparasite of paper wasps…The biologically inspired camera offers a new opportunity for developing ultrathin cameras in medical, industrial, and military fields.

The unusual eyes of Xenos peckii (Strepsiptera: Xenidae) have green- and UV­-sensitive photoreceptors (2016)

(W)e performed electroretinograms on adult male Xenos peckii: we measured spectral responses to equi-quantal monochromatic light flashes of different wavelengths, and established VlogI relationships to calculate spectral sensitivities… Strepsipteran eyes are remarkable. Unlike typical compound eyes, which consist of ommatidia that each collect information from a single point in space, the strepsipteran eye is constructed of a number of single-chamber eyes that are aggregated into a larger eye…(T)his extraordinary eye organization continues to inspire novel camera designs…(I)t would be interesting to determine whether the X. peckii female, which is rather cryptic in the visual spectrum, selectively reflects UV. If so, this could help explain another aspect of the complex life cycle of these extraordinary insects.

Bug Eye' to give troops better night vision (2009)

Frontline troops will soon be able to see better in the dark using a revolutionary new optical technology 'Bug Eye' that’s modelled on the eye of a tiny parasitic fly , said engineers at BAE Systems. The BAE team has developed the new ‘bug eye’ technology following several months of research examining the eye mechanisms of the Xenos peckii – a parasitic fly that lives on a wasp. The tiny bug has 50 separate lenses in each eye. Each lens produces an individual image, which are meshed together to form a single large panoramic image in its brain, they said. Scientists have recreated this effect in the new imaging device, which includes nine lenses – each about the size of a mobile phone camera lens – arranged on a curved surface…The ‘bug eye’ system is now being developed for missile tracking systems as well as night vision equipment…The insect-inspired technology provides the tracking system with 120 degree field of vision eliminating the need for accompanying hardware, which helps to minimise size and weight, while reducing maintenance costs. Away from the military arena, the technology could help to improve security in public places by developing CCTV cameras that could survey panoramas of crowded spaces without any of the usual black spots associated with such systems. The multiple lenses could also zoom in on certain areas of a scene without affecting the rest of the image on the screen. In the future, it could also be used in the medical field for key hole surgery, though this will require the scientists to shrink the system, which can currently be held in the palm of a hand, even further.

Bug-eyed warriors: Troops will see out of the corner of their eyes with revolutionary new night sight (2008)

The digital device, worn over one eye and attached to a helmet, will allow soldiers to spot an enemy out of the corner of their eyes without even moving their head. The device has been developed from studies into the 50 raspberry-like eyes of the Xenos peckii insect – a tiny bug that lives inside the bodies of paper wasps…The new ‘bug-eye’ lenses may be used later to improve the field of vision for CCTV cameras. And they will give infantry soldiers and helicopters fitted with the technology a huge boost on the battlefield. They are due to come into use within three years. As well as having the potential to save lives, the device’s images will be linked through secure military networks to commanders who can watch and record their soldiers at work on a video screen.

BIOLOGICAL OPTICS: Insect eye contains a twist (2000)

A group of scientists at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), led by neurobiology professor Ron Hoy, has discovered an insect eye unlike any other. Belonging to Xenos peckii, a tiny parasite of wasps (top), the eye's design combines the omnidirectional properties of a compound eye with the higher resolution of single-lens eyes.

New to science, a novel insect eye could be a very old way of seeing (1999)

An unusual type of eye -- resembling a tiny raspberry and possibly following a design principle that vanished with the extinction of trilobites…lives today in a parasitic insect… The biologists found that behind each of the eyelets is a nerve that connects that eyelet to the brain. The nerve exhibits a chiasma, rotating the nerve 180° around its own axis and re-inverting each portion of the image…Strepsipteran insects, such as the Xenos peckii examined by Cornell biologists for clues to its unusual visual system, are so different from other insects that they have been placed in their own insect order, strepsiptera, with about 500 known species. Although they exhibit some flylike characteristics, such as flight-stabilization structures located next to the wings, strepsipteran insects have antennae that more closely resemble those of beetles. When it comes to strepsipteran oddness, the eyes have it. The most prominent part of the insect's head, the large, composite eyes, protrude to the side. Each convex lens facet, or eyelet, in the composite eye is separated from its neighbors by rows of fine, brushlike hairs called microtrichia

X. peckii mating

Mature, unmated females emit a sex pheromone which attracts adult males through olfaction, while females also protrude their cephalothorax out of the wasp…Adult male X. peckii are about 4 mm long. They have a very well-developed flight apparatus…By means of their semicircular hindwings, they are able to fly immediately. Once airborne, with the assistance of their elaborate antennae and prominent eyes, they search incessantly for a virgin female with which to mate. Males die within a few hours. In X. peckii, the larviform female is situated primarily within the abdomen of her wasp host (with) only a small…portion of her body is exposed.

To emerge, males first cut the puparium with their mandibles along an ecdysial suture line, and then push aside the pupal cap during emergence. (F)emales engage in active calling (pheromone release)…Males approach calling females in a swaying flight with smooth turns. They typically land on the anterior portion of the host wasp's abdomen, and then step backward until they make contact with the cephalothorax of the female. As soon as their mesothoracic legs contact the female's cephalothorax, they curl around it, and the male initiates mating. Thereafter, the female fully retreats and never re-mates.

Also see Does God Think Insects are Good?, Why Insects Exist, and Fantastic Flight. Other articles are: Hi-tech Butterflies, Astonishing Acrobatics—Dragonflies, Dragonfly Flight and The Designer, Dragon Flies: Marvelous Flying Machines, Cold Light, The Steady Gaze of Flies: An Engineering Marvel, Ear Now: An Incredible Design in a Tiny Fly is Inspiring Engineers, Scientists Finally Copy Creator’s Super-Rubber, A Sweet Revelation, Science Copies Beetle’s Sprayer, Bombardier Idea, and The Amazing Jewel Beetle.Check the LINKS page for others.