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7 amazing examples of biomimicry

By: Shea Gunther on Feb. 8, 2010, 2:30 p.m.
Bug = water collection

Photo: Bug: WikiCommons; material:

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Bug = Water collection

The Stenocara beetle is a master water collector. The small black bug lives in a harsh, dry desert environment and is able to survive thanks to the unique design of its shell. The Stenocara's back is covered in small, smooth bumps that serve as collection points for condensed water or fog. The entire shell is covered in a slick, Teflon-like wax and is channeled so that condensed water from morning fog is funneled into the beetle's mouth. It's brilliant in its simplicity.


Researchers at MIT have been able to build on a concept inspired by the Stenocara's shell and first described by Oxford University's Andrew Parker. They have crafted a material that collects water from the air more efficiently than existing designs. About 22 countries around the world use nets to collect water from the air, so such a boost in efficiency could have a big impact.