tissues and fibers for artificial
High-Powered Imaging Tech
Modeled On Mantis Shrimp
These reef-dwelling crustaceans
have some of the best vision in the
ocean with eyes that could serve
as a blueprint for a new class of
imaging technology used in cancer
What makes a mantis shrimp’s
eye so powerful is that it’s comprised of thousands of light-trap-ping facets called ommatidia that
are each divided into three sections
that can move independently. The
unique design means that mantis shrimp can perceive polarized
light in a way that humans can’t.
If that design could be replicated
in an endoscopic tool, it would
allow doctors to detect hard-to-see
cancerous tissue that lies flat and
blends in with healthy tissue.
Currently, the only other way doctors can find out if a tumor has been
successfully removed is to wait until
after surgery when tissue can be extracted and sent to a lab for testing.
But recently a team of researchers
at the University of Illinois used the
inspiration of mantis shrimp eyes to
create an endoscopic camera that
hunts for cancerous cells. A human
clinical trial with breast cancer
patients utilizing the new scope is
Mussels Inspire Biologically
Titanium is a great material for artificial joint and dental implants, but
it lacks useful biological properties
found in natural tissues such as
bone and teeth.
Recently a team of researchers
from RIKEN found the inspiration
they needed to improve titanium
surfaces by studying mussels, who
are able to attach themselves to
smooth metallic surfaces thanks
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to special proteins found in their
After using one of the proteins
found in mussels, the team was
able to create a hybrid protein that
bonded with metal and remained
undisturbed, even when washed
with a saline solution.
“This is similar to the powerful
properties of mussel adhesive,
which can remain fixed to metallic
materials, even underwater,” one of
the researchers in the study said.
“It could allow us to prepare new
cell-growth enhancing materials,
with potential applications in cell
culture systems and regenerative