Ladybug’s ability to transform from a flying beetle to a walking one and vice versa in a fraction of a second, offers it access to a broad range of habitats. Isn’t it amazing to hear that the way their wings maintain strength and rigidity during flight while becoming elastic for compact folding, has provided hints for the innovative design of a wide range of structures from satellite antennas to umbrellas and fans!
Frogs can nab a fly with remarkable speed using their tongue. But did you know that the real secret of their bug-catching prowess is in the saliva? Sticky frog saliva can behave as both a liquid and solid! When the tongue smacks its prey, saliva becomes more liquid spreading all over the prey. As the frog reels its meal back into the mouth, saliva thickens making it harder for the prey to separate from the tongue.
When we yawn, the Eustachian tube which connects the pharynx and the middle ear gets filled with air. This rise of air pressure inside the Eustachian tube bends the ear drum and also reduces the ability to amplify the sound from the external ear canal. This is the reason, why we hear our internal sounds more and don’t hear external sounds properly when we yawn.
Haven’t you noticed that when we yawn, it is hard to hear any external sounds? Do you know why?
Can you believe that after solar power, wind power and all ‘footsteps of pedestrians’ is going to be the next renewable energy source? A British company is currently working to harvest the energy generated by pressure of footsteps, through installing special tiles in public places. This can be used to generate tiny amounts of electricity. But a lot of tiny from thousands of pedestrians can add up to something big!
When choosing fruits we try to select the ripened fruits from the raw ones. Ripe ones are softer than the raw. Want to know why? Activation of pectinase enzyme during the ripening process catalyses degradation of pectin, the glue found between plant cells. This unglues fruit cells so they can slip past each other. Ultimate result is a softer fruit!
Have you ever noticed that bees are nowhere in sight before it rains? Cold temperatures slow them down and rain drops can make their wings stick together. Fortunately bees have got the ability to sense moisture changes in the atmosphere, causing them to take shelter in hives before downpours begin.
Goosebumps spring up automatically when we get cold or experience strong emotions. They are caused by contraction of miniature muscles attached to hair follicles, which causes hairs to stand up pulling our skin up just a bit. These hairs trap a layer of air above skin which helps to insulate the skin against heat loss and keeps us warm.
Do you know why we get “Goosebumps” on our skin, when it is cold? Are these goose bumps useful in keeping us warm?
Have you ever seen bamboo blossoms? Flowering of bamboos is an intriguing rare phenomenon in the plant kingdom. Most bamboo species flower once every several decades. They flower all at the same time all over the world, irrespective of geographic location and climate, as long as they were derived from the same mother plant!
Isn’t it amazing to hear that a bizarre robotic arm inspired by octopus tentacles could make it easier for surgeons to access hard-to-reach parts of the body? This new device uses a series of inflatable chambers to mimic how an octopus can twist, elongate and bend its limbs in any direction. This technique could reduce the number of tools and incisions needed for a surgery.
Significant hump on camel’s back makes it easy to distinguish them from other animals. But do you know what is actually inside this hump? Most probably one might say that humps are filled with water, right? Wrong! Camels use their humps for storing fat which is used during food shortage. Converting this fat to energy produces water.
The polymers in chewing gum are mainly hydrophobic. Interior of our mouth is almost always wet with watery saliva. Since these polymers repel water and don’t make bonds with teeth or tongue covered with saliva, chewing gum doesn’t stick to them. But its polymers are attracted to oil and form strong bonds with oily surfaces tightly sticking to them.
When chewing gum is inside our mouth it normally doesn’t stick to our teeth, tongue and gum. But when taken out, it can make a catastrophic mess by sticking with our fingers, hair and soles of shoes. What’s the reason behind this?
Ever wondered why birds in the sky don’t crash into each other? It’s because they follow a simple rule. They almost always turn right when they approach head on. Did you know that aircraft pilots are also taught to veer to the right when they perceive imminent head-on collision with another aircraft? Isn’t it interesting to discover that biology has invented this rule millions of years ago!
In the microwave oven, microwaves produced are reflected by its metallic doors and are absorbed by water molecules and certain polymers. This energy is converted to heat to cook the food. When extra metals are put inside, they too reflect microwaves because they have free electrons. This may increase charge density creating a high electric potential and will cause arcing. These sparks can damage the oven.
Though the inside walls of the microwave oven are made of metal and its window has a metal mesh lining, our microwave manual warns us not to put metal in it! Why it is not recommended to put too much metal in the microwave oven?
While we keep on struggling to invent renewable energy sources, using nature as a design guide can give solutions to most of them. Isn’t it amazing that the movement of sea sponges have cleared a path to create a novel power system? ‘bioWAVE’ Ocean Wave Power System mimics the swaying motion of sponges found in the seabed. This consists of three floating blades constantly oscillated by the motion of sea, generating electricity as they do so.
We’ve previously said that elephant’s trunk is a marvelous creation of nature that has been mimicked even in making robotic arms. But did you know that baby elephants use their trunks for another unique purpose? They use to suck their trunks, just like human babies suck their thumbs for comfort. Even adult elephants do this when they feel nervous or unsure.
If you suddenly found yourself lost in a faraway place, would you be able to find your way back on your own? We’ll have to rely on a variety of tools like compasses and GPS to find our way. Surprisingly sea turtles can find their birthplace using only earth’s magnetic field without any devices to help them! Using this ability female sea turtles return to the exact beach they were born, to lay eggs.