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Technews in the Making

cockroach

Don't Squish That Bug! It Could Save Your Life

The key to your survival is a lowly cockroach! Researchers Alper Bozkurt and Tahmid Latif at North Carolina State have devised technology to navigate a cockroach into tiny spaces where emergency responders could not reach. By nature, cockroaches maneuver through terrain using their antennae as "touch sensors".

Read about glue-on "backpacks" that send signals to the cockroach antennae allowing them to steer a bug at will.
Firefly LED

Developing Technology with Biomimicry

Biomimicry (or biomimetics) is an approach to developing technology by mimicking biology. The term was coined by the polymath Otto Schmidtt who studied the nerves of squids in his attempt to develop a medical device that could help repair damaged nerves.

Scientists from Europe and Canada have recently adopted biomimicry to improve the efficiency of an LED. They borrowed their idea from the exoskeletal structure of the firefly and re-created the same structure on the surface of a gallium nitride LED. When they switched the LED to "on" they saw a light emission increase of fifty-five percent. Biomimetic Architecture

Much to their dismay, however, after they put the LED in a jar overnight, it was dead the next day.

See how a firefly inspired a new LED design.

Also, check out the fifteen coolest examples of biomimicry.

Can a Circuit Board Grow Whiskers?

Whiskers Mystery When your digital alarm clock stops working, you likely blame the failure on a bad circuit board then throw it away and spend $9 on a new one. But how could the board fail? There's a good chance the board was short-circuited by tin whiskers that somehow grew out of the solder points.

It was discovered in the early 20th century that metals put under stress can respond by forming "whiskers" through a type of metallurgical crystallization. But no one has really understood how this phenomenon occurred until Yong Sun published his study of tin whiskers in the material science journal, Scripta Materialia. Yong Sun's discoveries will go way beyond digital alarm clocks, leading to advances for electronics in the fields of medical science, space exploration and beyond.

Unravel the tin whisker mystery here.
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