Sometimes new things are inspired from very small things. Such as in this "bug" story... What the Grasshopper Knew.
Imagined newly revised excerpt from the 1974 TV show, Kung Fu.
Master Po: Close your eyes. What do you hear?
Young Caine: I hear the water, I hear the birds.
Po: Do you hear your own heartbeat?
Po: Do you hear the grasshopper (feet eletrode) which is at your feet? (Checking your heartbeaat?)
Caine: Old man, how is it that you hear these things?
Po: Young man, how is it that you do not?
Soft material inspired by grasshoppers for better electrode adhesive, Isabelle Herold, ETH Zurich, phys.org, 15 Jan 2018.
Learning from grasshoppers
"Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a new type of health-monitoring electrode that exhibits optimum adhesion to skin and can record high quality signals. Two young spin-off founders want to turn it into a marketable product as early as this year."
"Now, ETH researchers led by Janos Vörös, Professor of Bioelectronics, and Christopher Hierold, Professor of Micro and Nanosystems, have found a solution. They have developed an electrode that is as elastic as skin, so that it is barely noticeable to the wearer. The special surface structure allows signals from the heart and brain to be recorded in high quality. The researchers recently published details of their work in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials."
Inspired by nature
"For the new electrode, the researchers used a soft material – a non-irritant mixture of silicone rubber and conductive silver particles – that stemmed from an earlier research project by Vörös' group. For the surface structure, the scientists looked to nature for inspiration: they used the mechanism that allows grasshoppers to walk even on vertical surfaces."
"The soles of these insects' feet are covered with countless tiny pads, which look like mushroom heads under a microscope and are arranged like a mosaic. When they come into contact with another surface, an adhesive effect occurs, known in technical terms as Van der Waals interaction."
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