Researchers reverse engineered the clingfish's suction disk and developed devices that cling well to wet and dry objects both in an out of water. The devices can hold up to hundreds of times their own weight. They could be used in a wide range of applications from handling and packaging for produce, to robotic grippers in manufacturing, to the recovery of archaeological artifacts.
The University of California San Diego team presents their findings in a recent issue of the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics.
Goal - Project - Technology - Grip - Objects
The overarching goal of the project was to develop a new technology capable of providing delicate grip to handle fragile objects. The study highlights the importance of biomimicry, which allows scientists across disciplines from engineering to biology to work together and take inspiration from nature to develop new technologies.
"I have always been fascinated by nature, and specifically the intricate and outright fascinating designs that have evolved and that can do what modern technology cannot," said Jessica Sandoval, a Ph.D. student at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and lead author of the study. "This was a perfect opportunity to get to study the adhesion mechanism in these clingfish and address how the technology behind adhesion from suction cups can be improved."
Widespread - Regions - Areas - Suction - Ability
Clingfish are small fish widespread in tropical and temperate regions. They are common in intertidal areas, where they use their powerful suction ability to adhere to rocks, algae, and seagrass. They can remain stuck to these surfaces even in powerful currents and when battered by waves. The clingfish used in this study were a species native to the West Coast, and were collected right off San Diego.
By studying the clingfish they collected, Sandoval and colleagues found that the secret mimicking the attachment mechanism that the animal uses was to incorporate a soft layer and slits in the...
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