Biomimetic Science: Beyond Dentistry
Biomimetic Dentistry is the philosophical and practical backbone we use here at Prescott Dentistry. Through numerous articles, we have explored the nature-mimicking elements biomimetic dentistry is comprised of. After all, earth’s life has had millions of years of development to get to it’s current evolutionary state, and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery isn’t it? As revolutionary and game-changing non-invasive biomimetic dentistry is, there are several more straight-out-of-science-fiction fields of study in the biomimetic area of research.
Snake Scale Body Armor
Now this certainly sounds like something pulled right from the latest Marvel Comics blockbuster, but scientists at Northeastern University’s College of Engineering are looking into dermal modification based on the evolution of a species’ skin. Studying the scales of fish, snakes, and butterflies may just lead to the creation of body armor that is light, provides excellent mobility, doesn’t compromise on protection, and could even incorporate optical properties like camouflage. These researchers are combining millions of years of evolution with modern technologies like 3-D printing that have only come about in the last 5 years.
Gecko Feet Inspired Wall Climbing Paddles
Another comic book style invention is a set of paddles developed by the U.S. Department of Defense than enables a person (or in this case soldier) to climb straight up surfaces as smooth as glass. A demonstration performed last year featured a man weighing 218 lb. with a 50 lb. pack successfully scaling a 25 foot glass wall with nothing but the paddles and a backup safety harness (which was not needed).
How does the technology work? Geckos are extremely efficient climbers due to feet covered in hundreds of microscopic bristles, each complete with even tinier fibers known as spatulae. This helps the geckos stick to wall via a kind of physical bond called can der Waals force. This happens because the hundreds of fibers between their feet and the wall create an electromagnetic attraction that is still weak enough to disengage and keep climbing.
We will continue our journey into the world of Biomimetic science in future articles, but if you have any questions regarding Biomimetic Dentistry in particular, contact the staff at Prescott Dentistry for more information.
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (3/22/2015) Tambako The Jaguar (Flickr)