Researchers and engineers employed at Cornell University have broken yet another incredible barrier in the scientific community, this time in the form of a new morphing material whose camouflage abilities are based on that of octopuses. The men were aided by an expert from Massachusetts’s Marine Biological Laboratory, with the discovery having been in the works for quite some time.
According to The Washington Post, the invention is described by its creators as a “thin membrane that contorts into complex 3-D shapes.” It is in this way that the morphing technique is similar to that of octopuses, as the creature’s skin is shape-shifting. Rubber and mesh were used to make this amazing discovery, with the end result being that the material can mimic that of many different things within mere seconds.
The potential this discovery has to alter not only the course of science and technology, but also that of world safety on the whole, is not to be denied. In the future, reveals Digital Trends, military camouflage could be created which would greatly help those nations at war.
A statement was issued by the paper’s lead author, James Pikul, in which he gave detail to the manner in which the decades-long project finally became complete. A series of concentric rings was cut into the aforementioned rubber and mesh by the research team, after which time they inflated the rubber and thus caused the membrane’s subsequent contortion, based on the shape of the cuts made. He went on to explain that, if one knows the final shape of the radial stretch, the slope can then be calculated and the ring patterns can be matched accordingly, much like the shape-shifting of octopuses.
This is the second morphing technology to be created within the past week, reports News Nation. On Friday, October 13, it was announced that a robotic skin had been developed which can transform flat surfaces into 3D. This invention was also inspired by the way octopuses transform themselves, with researchers going on to observe the patterns of similar cephalopods in order to get a better framework for their project. This discovery came out of New Delhi, India, although researchers relied heavily on the previous work published by those at Cornell.
[Featured Image by NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Hohonu Moana/AP Images]