Have you ever wondered what billions of years of evolution has left us with? Incredible answers to some of the toughest questions, say scientists. In fact, it has given rise to a new field called biomimicry that aims to provide some of the incredible solutions to design problems inspired by nature. Think of the aeroplanes, super fast bullet trains, artificial glues for bones, climate controlled buildings -- all these are a result of us looking close into nature’s way of dealing with problems and drawing an inspiration from them. But there are more such examples that are gamechangers. Read more to know how biomimicry is all set to influence our lives more than ever.
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Malaria, a deadly mosquito borne disease, kills about half a million people around the world, every year. Developing countries face a challenge in accurately diagnosing malaria in early stages due to the need of sophisticated diagnostic devices and skill. A new study at IISc has developed a technique to test for malaria with very small quantities of blood samples using laser light. By holding a single RBC using a pair of 'optical tweezers', this technique can detect malarial parasites in the RBCs even at an early stage, say the researchers. The researchers claim this technique can help save many lives if commercialised on a larger scale.
Securing communication channels has been a long standing challenge for humans ever since early civilisations. Thanks to advances in computation, many so called 'secure' algorithms have been broken and the risk of information being in the wrong hands is at an all time high. A new study by researchers from IISc and NIT-Karnantaka has now developed an improvised version of a cryptographic algorithm based on quantum physics. This algorithm, the researchers claim, works efficiently and faster than their previous versions and allows higher data rate. They also also developing a new breed of communication devices running the improvised algorithms. These devices, the researchers claim, can be integrated into existing infrastructure, making them all the more secure.
Nature has inspired humanity in many ways. A whole new field of biomimicry has now evolved, which deals with nature inspired techniques to address many of our challenges. Now, a new study inspired by the eye structure of trilobites -- sea creatures known to be extinct since the age of dinosaurs -- has discovered a novel method of lens fabrication that can ward off spherical aberration. The scientists have fabricated these lenses based on the shape of trilobites’ eyes which are unique and are not adjustable. These lenses, the scientists say, have superior optical performance and find use in a range of optical applications.
Images with low quality spell doom not only for your photographic skills, but also for the numerous medical diagnosis that doctors do using scanned images of your body. Now, researchers have developed a new algorithm that can denoise such bad quality images in a few seconds. Running on advanced processing units called graphical processing units, the algorithm promises to be a new hope in the rising field medical imaging, satellite imaging and other fields dealing with high resolution images.
Our need for energy is growing at an unprecedented rate and we have tried every source of energy to quench our thirst. We have almost used up all our fossil fuels and have tried to harness as much as renewable sources of energy like solar, wind, water and nuclear power. Inefficiency and high cost involved in harnessing these renewable sources have now forced us to look at other approaches. In a recent study, scientists have tried to mimic what plants do best -- convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into food and oxygen! By building artificial photosynthetic systems, the researchers claim to have a unending flow of clean and green energy for the future.
Human hair has become all the more valuable, according to a spate of recent studies finding diverse applications of keratin, a protein found in our hair, in tissue engineering and stem cell research. Gone are the days when discarded hair was used for wigs, making fertilizers or in construction materials. Now, researchers have demonstrated the use of keratin derived from human hair as a scaffold to grow cells in bioengineering. The easy availability o f human hair and keratin makes research in tissue engineering very inexpensive, claim the researchers.
Missions to the outer space always bring a sense of excitement in the scientific community and hope to find answers to one haunting question - do aliens exist? The Cassini-Huygens mission, launched to orbit Saturn and study its moon - Titan, is no different. Although it has not yet found a convincing answer to the question, it has revealed various facets about the majestic planet, its spectacular rings and the splendid moons. And of course, the possibility of finding life based on many earth-like conditions in the atmosphere of one of Saturn’s moons. Come September, the glorious journey of this spacecraft comes to an end after two eventful decades. Here is a wishing Cassini-Huygens a long goodbye.
Researchers at the Center for Nanoscience and Engineering (CeNSE) at IISc, in collaboration with Iowa State University and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, have developed a novel device that can simultaneously measure the electrical and mechanical properties of a cell. Using a technique called Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS), they have successfully measured the electrical properties of a cell by passing it through two electrodes while applying an external electric field. They then calculated the the resistance offered by the cell.
Today is World Bicycle Day, a day celebrated to commemorate the joy of cycling. In a country like Netherlands, almost every person owns a cycle, and 99.1% are cyclists! But a city like Bengaluru -- almost thrice as big and with 12 times more population -- loses hands down to Amsterdam, in citizens choosing to cycle. Why is that so? And what can be done to make people here fall in love with their bikes? The Research Matters team caught up with Prof. Ashish Verma, an Associate Professor at the Department of Civil Engineering, at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.