Navigation Links
Squid and zebrafish cells inspire camouflaging smart materials
Date:5/1/2012

Researchers from the University of Bristol have created artificial muscles that can be transformed at the flick of a switch to mimic the remarkable camouflaging abilities of organisms such as squid and zebrafish.

They demonstrate two individual transforming mechanisms that they believe could be used in 'smart clothing' to trigger camouflaging tricks similar to those seen in nature.

The study is published today, 2 May, in IOP Publishing's journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, and is accompanied by a video showing the camouflaging in action.

"We have taken inspiration from nature's designs and exploited the same methods to turn our artificial muscles into striking visual effects," said lead author of the study Jonathan Rossiter.

The soft, stretchy, artificial muscles are based on specialist cells called chromatophores that are found in amphibians, fish, reptiles and cephalopods, and contain pigments of colours that are responsible for the animals' remarkable colour-changing effects.

The colour changes in these organisms can be triggered by changes in mood, temperature, stress or something visible in the environment, and can be used for camouflage, communication or attracting a mate.

Two types of artificial chromatophores were created in the study: the first based on a mechanism adopted by a squid and the second based on a rather different mechanism adopted by zebrafish.

A typical colour-changing cell in a squid has a central sac containing granules of pigment. The sac is surrounded by a series of muscles and when the cell is ready to change colour, the brain sends a signal to the muscles and they contract. The contracting muscles make the central sacs expand, generating the optical effect which makes the squid look like it is changing colour.

The fast expansion of these muscles was mimicked using dielectric elastomers (DEs) smart materials, usually made of a polymer, which are connected to an electric circuit and expand when a voltage is applied. They return to their original shape when they are short circuited.

In contrast, the cells in the zebrafish contain a small reservoir of black pigmented fluid that, when activated, travels to the skin surface and spreads out, much like the spilling of black ink. The natural dark spots on the surface of the zebrafish therefore appear to get bigger and the desired optical effect is achieved. The changes are usually driven by hormones.

The zebrafish cells were mimicked using two glass microscope slides sandwiching a silicone layer. Two pumps, made from flexible DEs, were positioned on both sides of the slide and were connected to the central system with silicone tubes; one pumping opaque white spirit, the other a mixture of black ink and water.

"Our artificial chromatophores are both scalable and adaptable and can be made into an artificial compliant skin which can stretch and deform, yet still operate effectively. This means they can be used in many environments where conventional 'hard' technologies would be dangerous, for example at the physical interface with humans, such as smart clothing," continued Rossiter.


'/>"/>

Contact: Michael Bishop
michael.bishop@iop.org
44-117-930-1032
Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Nano squid skin: DOD awards $6M for metamaterials research
2. GeneTex Antibody Company to Launch a Line of New Zebrafish Primary Antibodies
3. X-BODY BioSciences to Present Novel Methods of Selecting for Antibodies Against Targets on Live Cells at CHIs Protein Engineering Summit
4. Study dusts sugar coating off little-known regulation in cells
5. IntelliCell BioSciences Signs Technology Licensing Agreement with Stem Cells 21 Thailand
6. Scientists Discover How a Bacterial Pathogen Breaks Down Barriers to Enter and Infect Cells
7. Discovery in Nature elucidates immune cells in skin and supports novel vaccine approach
8. Mesenchymal Stem Cells Have New Cell Culture Environment
9. In solar cells, tweaking the tiniest of parts yields big jump in efficiency
10. Stem Cells: Worldwide Markets for Transplantation, Cord Blood Banking and Drug Development
11. Cord Blood America Announces Exclusive Agreement With National Childrens Leukemia Foundation to Store Stem Cells
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/9/2016)... 2016 China Cord Blood Corporation (NYSE: ... leading provider of cord blood collection, laboratory testing, hematopoietic ... the results of its 2016 Annual General Meeting, which was ... China . At the Annual ... of KPMG Huazhen LLP as the independent auditors of the ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... Lajollacooks4u, San Diego’s premier team building ... team building events, new program offerings and company expansion. , This is ... to include groups of over 30 people. Ever since, Lajollacooks4u has seen significant demand ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , Dec. 8, 2016  Renova™ Therapeutics, ... congestive heart failure and type 2 diabetes, announced ... a novel adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector developed in ... M.D., Ph.D., at Stanford University. The company plans ... paracrine gene therapy product pipeline. ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... OXFORD, England , December 8, 2016 ... Company, has expanded its customisable SureSeq™ NGS panel range with ... - allowing fast and cost-effective study of variants in familial ... copy number variation (CNV) detection on a single small panel ... and hotspot content. This includes all exons for LDLR ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:11/30/2016)... 2016  higi SH llc (higi) announced today ... national brands, industry thought-leaders and celebrity influencers looking ... for taking steps to live healthier, more active ... higi has built the largest self-screening health station ... people who have conducted over 185 million biometric ...
(Date:11/24/2016)... , Nov. 23, 2016 Cercacor today introduced ... and their trainers non-invasively measure hemoglobin, Oxygen ... Rate, and Respiration Rate in approximately 30 seconds. Smaller ... easy and immediate access to key data about their ... a training regimen. Hemoglobin carries oxygen ...
(Date:11/17/2016)... Global Market Watch: Primarily supported by ownership types; ... Academics) market is to witness a value of US$37.1 billion ... Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10.75% is foreseen from ... 2014-2020. North America is not way ... Europe at 9.56% respectively. Report Focus: ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):