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     Each year three or four essays which deal with some aspect of technology appear on the site during the summer. An attempt is generally made to relate the subject(s) covered to the summer theme in some way. The designs of this year's Essay and Essay Archives pages are related to the animals of the Chinese zodiac. In China and throughout much of Asia, the Lunar New Year is celebrated each year in January or February. A particular animal is associated with each year in accordance with the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac. 2012 is "The Year of the Dragon." The divisions and subdivisions of the Chinese zodiac relate each year with reputed attributes of a particular animal, but often within a different context than the animal might have in the West. Some qualities associated with the animals are said to govern everything from leadership to luck -- and even compatibility for love or marriage with those born in different animal years.

     As said before, 2012 is "The Year of the Dragon." The dragon is considered to be one of the most auspicious creatures of the Chinese zodiac and was used throughout history by the Emperor of China as a symbol of imperial power. Though dragons were generally thought of as evil in European lore, dragons in China were symbols of strength and good luck as well. Dragons are also associated with water and have been considered to be the rulers of bodies of water such as rivers or seas. As a result, each of the essays in this year's series (with possible exception of the last one), will touch in some way on something that has a relationship to water.

Essays - September 2012


     Please note: This is the first essay which has attempted to incorporate/embed video or links to video within the text. Feedback would be appreciated as to whether viewers find this approach interesting and/or useful, and whether or not there were any problems viewing the videos. Please send any comments via email to:

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     In the description of the 2012 summer theme, Animal Magnetism, it was noted that animals have been part of humans' lives throughout history, from pets and companions at home to awe-inspiring creatures in the wild. The final essay of summer 2012 will look at animals (and to a certain extent nature) as a different source of inspiration -- for products, processes or technologies, something generally referred to as biomimetics or biomimcry.

     The terms biomimetics and biomimicry come from the Greek words bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate. (n1) Websters defines biomimetics as "the study of the structure and function of biological systems as models for the design and engineering of materials." A more scientific description of biomimetics delineates and defines three separate terms:

  • Biomimicry: Learning the mechanistic principles used by living systems to achieve a particular function and then attempting to copy the same strategy to achieve biomimetic function

  • Bioinspiration: Observing a particular function performed with precision by a biological system and then attempting to create a synthetic system that performs the same function for technological applications. The strategy devised to achieve this goal can be quite different from that employed by the biological system.

  • Bioderivation: Using a biomaterial with desired properties in concert with an artificial material to create a hybrid material (n2)

The term "biomimicry" also was familiarized by a 1997 book by scientist and author Janine Benyus entitled "Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired By Nature." She is the founder of the Montana-based Biomimicry Institute, and you can find out more about Benyus, the Biomimicry Institute and her perspective on biomimicry at or

Animals as Inspiration

     Accounts of products or technologies inspired by nature are many. One of the earliest and best-known products is familiar to just about everyone: Velcro. Velcro was developed in the late 1940s and patented in the 1950s by Swiss inventor and engineer George de Mestral. The inspiration for the product was "the seed-propagation strategy of plants such as cocklebur and burdock. The fruits of these plants, known as burrs, are covered by thin spines with sharply hooked ends. So sharp are these that they snag anything that passes by. Animal fur is the prime target of burrs, but they stick to pretty well anything that comes their way." (n3). As the story has it, Mestral was

". . . on the lookout for fasteners . . . When he got back home from [a] walk, his dog was covered in burrs, and instead of just picking them off, he marvelled at their their tenacity, and this started him thinking. Nature maximizes the number of spines on a burr to make the attachment more 'probable" . . . The burr is spherical because it needs to maximize the angles by which it might catch a passing animal, but if a burr were rolled flat, as it were, a small square of hooks would stick to a rough fabric at whatever angle it was presented -- the sort of precision docking required to fasten a single hook and loop would not be necessary. . . De Mestral then took several years to find a machine process for creating [what has now come to be known as Velcro], . . . and the product came to market in 1955." (n4)

     From Velcro to self-cleaning products based on the properties of lotus leaves, the number of examples of products mimicking or inspired by nature continues to grow. However, since the summer site's theme focused on animals, the remainder of this essay will do the same. What follows is a collection of a wide variety of finished products, work in progress and research for which the basis is animals, birds, ocean creatures and insects. Because of the unique nature of some of these products or the body of research behind them, an attempt is being made for the first time to incorporate video into the essay. The visual depictions of many of these are much better than what words could describe, and in some cases the scientists behind the research or products explain in greater detail the thinking or processes behind what is being developed. Since birds were one of humans' earliest inspiration for flight, the examples will begin with a "hummingbird" named by Time Magazine as one of the 50 Best Inventions of 2011.

AeroVironment's "Hummingbird" Nano Air Vehicle

     AeroVironment is a Monrovia-based company specializing in unmanned aircraft and electric vehicle products and solutions. The company has developed the world's first fully operational life-size hummingbird-like unmanned aircraft (pictured at left) for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) of the U.S. government. According to company information, the hand-made prototype aircraft has a wingspan of 16 cm (6.5 inches) tip to tip and a total flying weight of 19 grams. The weight includes all systems required for flight, batteries, motors, communications systems and video camera. (n5). The Nano Hummingbird uses only the flapping of its wings for propulsion and control. (n6) The "bird" can fly both indoors and outdoors, and AeroVironment says that the aircraft could someday provide new reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities in urban environments. You can find the Nano Hummingbird page, along with videos demonstrating its flight and "view" from onboard camera, at

Photo credit: Aerovironment press photo


     What do a dog, a pack mule, a cheetah and even a flea have in common? They all have robotic equivalents created by Massachusetts company Boston Dynamics. Boston Dynamics builds "advanced robots with remarkable behavior: mobility, agility, dexterity and speed." (n7) You can read (and see) more about these robots below.

DARPA's Legged Squad Support System (LS3)

     Pack animals have been in use in various terrains for thousands of years, but DARPA is now bringing the pack mule in to the 21st century. DARPA's Legged Squad Support System (LS3), the equivalent of a robotic pack mule, has been developed by Boston Dynamics with funding from DARPA and the U.S. Marine Corps. It is pictured below.

Photo credit: LS3, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

     Because today's warfighters can carry one hundred pounds of gear or more, DARPA says that "reducing the load on dismounted warfighters has become a major point of emphasis for defense research and development." (n8) The goal of the LS3 program is to develop a robot that will go through the same terrain as a squad goes through without hindering the squad's mission. The LS3 also seeks to demonstrate that a highly mobile, semi-autonomous legged robot can carry 400 pounds of a squad's load, follow squad members through rugged terrain, and interact with troops in a natural way, similar to a trained animal with its handler" (n9) - not to mention serve as a recharging station for cellphones and other electronic devices! You can view a video of the LS3 below. (In case the embedded video doesn't work, click on either of the links below it.)

Not able to see the video above? Go to or

Big Dog, Cheetah and SandFlea

     Smaller than the LS3 but also able to carry items is Boston Dynamics' Big Dog robot. The company refers to it as the "alpha male" of its robots, and it also can carry heavy loads, run, climb, and self-correct its gait. Big Dog is about the size of a large dog or small mule and can be seen in action in the video below.


     Boston Dynamics' cheetah robot set a robotic speed record this year, running (tethered, on a treadmill) more than 28 miles per hour, and the company's RiSE robot can climb vertical surfaces such as walls, trees and fences. However, if you've ever owned a pet that has fleas and have seen a flea jump on or off your animal, you'll probably be able to appreciate the company's SandFlea robot. The 11-pound robot can jump up to 30 feet in the air and has an onboard camera. It currently is being developed with funding from the U.S. Army's Rapid Equipping Force. Click on the screen below to view the video.

If you can't see these videos or would like to see all the Boston Dynamics robots, go to, and to visit the Boston Dynamics company website, go to

Learning From the Sea: Sharks, Whales, Cephalopods, Jellyfish and Others

     The mechanical and robotic creatures above might be considered as mimicking nature on a macro scale. However, most biomimetic research, and many of the products which have been developed to date, focus not on entire animals or creatures but on one or several of their unique features or functions. Sharks, whales, squid and other ocean creatures have provided a wealth of inspiration for products and research in a number of areas, some of which will be discussed below.


     Sharks, some of the most feared ocean predators, have a tough protective skin "covered with small, sharp tooth-like . . . scales also known as dermal denticles." (n10) One of the most important functions of the denticles is "to provide a surface that minimizes surface drag and maximizes swimming efficiency." (n11) A couple of companies have brought products to market which make claims of mimicking shark skin in ways that increase efficiency or speed in moving through air or water. Swimwear maker Speedo has advertised that their Fastskin (swim)suit was designed to mimic the shark and was "developed in the Speedo Aqualab using biomimetics." (n12) Another company, FastSkinz, has developed a "skin" for cars which the company claims helps improve gas mileage. (See One researcher, however, has adapted the dermal denticle pattern and function as a means of controlling bacterial growth.

     Dr. Anthony Brennan, a research scientist and endowed professor in Materials Science and Biomechanical Engineering at the University of Florida, is founder and Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of a company called Sharklet Technologies, Inc. ( In his initial work for the Office of Naval Research (ONR), Brennan was tasked with finding a better antifouling agent for naval ships. (Biofouling of ship hulls, primarily caused by the accretion of marine crustaceans such as barnacles and tubeworms, poses a significant impediment to ship performance. On its course, a ship can add barnacle weight at 150 kg per square meter in as little as six months. [It is estimated that] vessel speed is reduced by up to 10 percent from biofouling, which can require up to a 40 percent increase in fuel consumption to counter the added drag . . . Previous biofouling solutions have included the use of biocides, which use toxins to kill organisms that try to attach to the hull. (n13))

Photo: Galapagos sharkskin (left) and Sharklet micropattern (right). Photos courtesy of Sharklet Technologies, Inc.

     In his research, Brennan discovered that of all large marine animals, "only sharks don't have tiny tagalongs," (n14) or sea creatures which attach to the shark's body. This is due primarily to the denticles and their properties. As a researcher he had "long studied the factors that cause microorganisms to attach to surfaces [and] colonize, create biofilms and begin their destructive or beneficial cycles. He found that microorganisms settling on surfaces respond in a controlled way to physical surface differences and [thought] that these surfaces might then be engineered to either encourage or discourage microorganism growth and biofilm formation." (n15). He and his research team engineered a product based on the topography of shark's denticles (see photos above). The unique micro-topography of the Sharklet pattern was found to inhibit bacterial growth. According to the company's website, "When manufactured into [or attached to] surfaces of products, the pattern cannot be detected with the naked eye or felt to the touch . . . Each Sharklet diamond is about 1/5 the width of a human hair," (n16) but inhibit bacterial growth due to the disruption of the bacteria's ability to form colonies. Sharklet anti-microbial products currently can be applied for surface protection and to enhance medical devices. You can find more information on the company's website.

The "Squid Skin" Project

     Star Trek and science fiction fans are probably familiar with the notion of "cloaking," or making something invisible in its immediate environment. On a more earthly level, cephalopods (octopi, squid and cuttlefish) have long been recognized as the ocean's masters of camouflage and "can adapt their color and body pattern to various visual features of the immediate background." (n17) They accomplish this through the "dual action of thousands of chromatophores, which are small pigmented organs, . . . and by light-reflecting cells [known as] iridophores and leucophores . . . [The] chromatophores have attached to them dozens of radial muscles that are innervated directly by the brain, and by contracting and relaxing these muscles, the pigmented sac of a chromatophore increases or decreases in area." (n18)

     Roger Hanlon of the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory has spent more than three decades studying cephalopod camouflage, and he is a co-recipient of a $6 million grant by the Office of Naval Research "to study and ultimately emulate . . . the ability of some [of these] marine animals to instantly change their skin color and blend into the environment . . . [He] is collaborating with materials scientists and nanotechnologists at Rice University toward the goal of developing materials that can mimic cephalopod camouflage." (n19) You can view some examples of this camouflage ability and hear one of the researchers discussing the work in the video below.

If you are not able to view the video above, you can click here. If you'd like to learn more about cephalopod camouflage, you can listen to Rogen Hanlon's lecture series by clicking here.

Other Inspiration From Marine Life

     Other products inspired by or mimicking different forms of marine life are many, and a few more will be included here. The German company Festo (; for Aqua Jellies go to has developed the Aqua Jelly (pictured at left; photo credit - Festo press photos), an "artificial autonomous jellyfish with an electric drive unit and an intelligent adaptive mechanism that emulates swarming behavior." (n20) The Aqua Jelly has a sophisticated sensor system and a light-based underwater communication mechanism which may have applications suitable for autonomously controlled systems. At Caltech, professor John Dabiri also studies jellyfish, but for biological propulsion mechanics and dynamics with potential applications for aquatic locomotion, fluid dynamics and cardiac flows. You can find his home page at, including a link to a research summary video.

     Some whales' fins are also unique in certain ways. "Rounded proturbances on the flippers of a humpback whale delay the dramatic loss of lift known as 'stall,' and wind turbine blades that mimic these features can perform much better than conventional blades at low wind speeds." (n21) For a company capturing this aspect of biomimicry, visit David Kisailus, a professor of chemical and environmental engineering at UC Riverside, and his team of researchers study marine creatures like abalone and the peacock mantis shrimp for lessons in developing super-durable and super-strong materials. (n22) You can view a video with Kisailus discussing his research by clicking here.. Last but not least are automobile industry developments inspired in some way by fish. In 2005 Mercedes-Benz unveiled a concept car based on the streamlined shape of a boxfish, and Nissan's EPORO intelligent robot cars provide prototypes for anti-collision behavior by mimicking behavioral patterns of schools of fish in avoiding obstacles. You can view a video of these robot cars which made their debut at the CEATAC JAPAN show in 2009 below.

Unbounded Potential to Inspire

      Although many of the finished products or outcomes of the research above are not typical of what most people will encounter on a daily basis, one - inspired by a butterfly's wings - may be as close as the screen on your cell phone, tablet or e-reader. For many butterfly wings (and peacock feathers), the brilliant, shimmering colors seen are not created by pigments but by visible light reflected off their surface, "colors . . . based on the microscopic structure of the butterfly wing." (n23)

     The company Qualcomm has taken this notion and translated it into its Mirasol displays. "Typical displays like LCD or OLED . . . use light passed through filters, polarizers and liquid crystal (for LCD) or chemicals that illuminate when charged with a current (OLED)." (n24) Qualcomm's Mirasol displays are the "first low-power, color, video-capable and sunlight viewable displays based on Interferometric Modulation (IMOD)," (n25) or one based on reflected light (from microscopic mirrors) instead of emissive light. "The product is unique in that this method allows it to be clearly seen in full sunlight, [and] battery units in devices that use the Mirasol display typically last three times [longer than] a comparable device with an LCD." (n26) To view an online presentation about the "Mirasol Effect" and Qualcomm's IMOD technology, go to

     Butterfly wings are only one more example in what could be an endless list of how animals, insects - and nature in general - have inspired products in the world around us. Others on the list could include the kingfisher, a proficient diving bird from which came the idea for the front of the Japanese shinkansen, or "bullet trains." The unique shape helps avoid sonic booms as the train emerges from tunnels. A light-absorbing hornet studied by scientists in Israel may yield clues for more effective and efficient solar panels. The nature of a gecko's foot which allows it to climb walls and ceilings may be the source for future super-durable and water-proof adhesives. Ant colonies and swarms may provide clues for future architectural designs or telecommunications networks, and spider silk has long been the "holy grail" of strong fiber materials. Hundreds of other cases of biomimicry could be included here. To find more information and other examples, viewers can visit one of two other websites. Janine Benyus's Biomimicry Institute established an open-source database of biological literature organized by design and engineering function, and further case examples can be found on that site at Also, the San Diego Zoo has partnered with the City of San Diego and local universities to become the world's first bioinspiration hub. More information about this is available at

     In conclusion, it is not possible to state what impact products and technologies inspired by or mimicking nature may have in the future. A recent report by the National Research Council says that ". . . Practical design of biologically inspired materials has the potential to improve the well-being of people everywhere and our nation's economic competitiveness by addressing some of the most urgent national challenges. Biomolecular materials and processes may improve medical therapeutics, allow the creation of reliable sensors to detect biological and chemical threats, and facilitate the transition to energy independence." (n27). If the examples above are any indication of what the future may have in store as the result of learning from and mimicking nature, it could be a very interesting future indeed.

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Thank you for visiting the 2012 "Essay" section, and please come back again next summer!

FOOTNOTES - The following are the footnotes indicated in the text in parentheses with the letter "n" and a number. If you click the asterisk at the end of the footnote, it will take you back to the paragraph where you left off.

n1 - Wikipedia entry; viewed online at (*)

n2 - Committee on Biomolecular Materials and Processes, National Research Council. Inspired By Biology: From Molecules to Materials to Machines. Washington D.C.: National Academies Press, 2008, p. 150 (*)

n3 - Forbes, Peter. The Gecko's Foot. New York/London: W.W. Norton and Company, 2005, p. 93 (*)

n4 - Ibid., pp. 93 - 95 (*)

n5 - Aerovironment press release; viewed online September 2012 at (*)

n6 - Ibid. (*)

n7 - Boston Dynamics home page; viewed online September 2012 at (*)

n8 - Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), LS3 program information, viewed online September 2012 at (*)

n9 - Ibid. (*)

n10 - Compagno, Leonard, Dando, Marc and Fowler, Sarah, Sharks of the World. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2005, p. 24 (*)

n11 - Ibid. (*)

n12 - Speedo website information; viewed online September 2012 at (*)

n13 - Office of Naval Research (ONR), ONR Program Code 34, Fact Sheets: Biofouling Prevention Coatings, June 2009, viewed online September 2012 at, pdf file link; also Program Code 34 from (*)

n14 - Wier, Kirsten, "Skin Care," Current Science, September 23, 2011, p. 6 (*)

n15 - Ibid, p. 7 (*)

n16 - Sharklet product information. Viewed online September 2012 at, "Products" section (*)

n17 - Sutherland, Richard L; Mathger, Lydia M.; Hanlon, Roger T.; Urbas, Augustine M.; and Stone, Morley O., "Cephalopod Coloration Model. I. Squid Chromatophores and Iridophores," Journal of the Optical Society of America A, Vol. 25, No. 3, March 2008, p. 588 (*)

n18 - Mathger, Lydia M. and Hanlon, Roger T., "Malleable Skin Coloration in Cephalopods: Selective Reflectance, Transmission and Absorbance of Light By Chromatophores and Iridophores," Cell Tissue Research, Vol. 329, 5 April 2007, p. 179 (*)

n19 - "The Ultimate Camo: Team to Mimic Camouflage Skill of Marine Animals in High-Tech Materials," news release, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA; viewed online September 2012 at (*)

n20 - Festo Corporation, AquaJelly: An Artificial Jellyfish with Electric Drive Unit, product information brochure, available online in projects section of Bionic Learning Network on Festo website, viewed September 2012 at Also accessible via "Innovation and Techology" tab from main navigation section at (*)

n21 - Peacock, Thomas and Bradley, Elizabeth, "Going With (or Against) The Flow," Science, Vol. 320, 6 June 2008, p. 1303 (*)

n22 - Brown, Eryn, "Super Claw Could Help Shield Troops," Los Angeles Times, Section AA/LATExtra, June 9, 2012, pp. AA 1 - 2 (*)

n23 - Fermanian Business and Economic Institute, The Global Biomimicry Efforts: An Economic Game Changer. Point Loma, CA: Fermanian Business Institute, 2010, p. 26 (*)

n24 - Ibid. (*)

n25 - Ibid. (*)

n26 - Ibid. (*)

n27 - Committee on Biomolecular Materials and Processes, National Research Council. Inspired By Biology, p. 1 (*)

LINKS LIST - The following is a list of links external to the website found in the essay.

  • 1. Biomimicry Institute -

  • 2. -

  • 3. AeroVironment's Nano "Hummingbird" page -

  • 4. Boston Dynamics LS3 Robot -

  • 5. DARPA's LS3 Robot News Release -

  • 6. Boston Dynamics Big Dog Robot -

  • 7. Boston Dynamics You Tube page -

  • 8. Boston Dynamics website -

  • 9. FastSkinz website -

  • 10. Sharlet Technology, Inc. website -

  • 11. Project "Squid Skin" video -

  • 12. Roger Hanlon cephalopod lecture series -

  • 13. Festo Corporation - and

  • 14. Caltech, Professor John Dabiri -

  • 15. Whalepower Company -

  • 16. "Living the Promise," UCR/David Kisailus video -

  • 17. Qualcomm's "Mirasol Effect" -

  • 18. Biomimicry Institute's "" -

  • 19. San Diego Zoo Bioinspiration Hub -

  • 20. National Research Council 2008 "Inspired By Biology" report -

BIBLIOGRAPHY - The Bibliography for the September essay is included below.

Aerovironment, Nano Hummingbird press materials, www.avinc.nano

"Biofouling Prevention Coatings," Office of Naval Research (ONR) information sheet "At A Glance," ONR Program Code 34, viewed online September 2012 at

Boston Dynamics, company robot information. "Robot" link at

Brown, Eryn, "Super Claw Could Help Shield Troops," Los Angeles Times, June 9, 2012, pp. AA 1-2.

Committee on Biomolecular Materials and Processes, National Research Council, Inspired By Biology: From Molecules to Materials to Machines, Washington D.C.: National Academies Press, 2008.

Committee on Forefronts of Science at the Interface of Physical and Life Sciences, National Research Council, Research at the Intersection of the Physical and Life Sciences. Washington D.C.: National Academies Press, 2010.

Compagno, Leonard; Dando, Marc; and Fowler, Sarah. Sharks of the World. Princeton/Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2005.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), LS3 project information., "Our Work"

Fermanian Business and Economic Institute, The Global Biomimicry Efforts: An Economic Game Changer. Point Loma, CA: Fermanian Business and Economic Institute, October 2010.

Festo Corporation, Bionic Learning Network product information. Available at

Forbes, Peter, The Gecko's Foot. New York and London: W.W. Norton and Company, 2006.

Hanlon, Roger, "Cephalopod Dynamic Camouflage," Current Biology, Vol. 17, No. 11, pp. R400 - R404.

Huang, Jingyun; Wang, Xudong; and Wang, Zhong Lin, "Controlled Replication of Butterfly Wings for Achieving Tunable Photonic Properties," Nano Letters, Vol. 6, No. 10, 2006, pp. 2325 - 2331.

Kang, Soyoung, "Biomimetics: Engineering Spider Silk," Illumin, Volume XIII, Issue II, September 28, 2012, pp. Available online at

Lee, Luke P. and Szema, Robert, "Inspirations from Biological Optics for Advanced Photonic Systems," Science, Vol. 310, No. 5751, 18 November 2005, pp. 1148 - 1150.

"Lifting a Whale", Nature, Vol. 451, 21 February 2008, p. 868.

Loeffler, William, "Designs Take Advantage of Nature," Pittsburgh Tribute-Review [Pittsburgh, PA], September 11, 2011. Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 20 September 2012.

Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, "The Ultimate Camo: Team to Mimic Camouflage Skill of Marine Animals in High-Tech Material," 2011 news release available online at

Mathger, Lydia M. and Hanlon, Roger T., "Malleable Skin Coloration in Cephalopods: Selective Reflectance, Transmission and Absorbance of Light By Chromatophores and Iridophores," Cell Tissue Research, Vol. 329, 5 April 2007, pp. 179 - 186.

"Nissan EPORO Robot Car 'Goes to School' on Collision-Free Driving by Mimicking Fish Behavior," Nissan Company news release, viewed online September 2012 at

Office of Naval Research (ONR), ONR Program Code 34, Fact Sheets: Biofouling Prevention Coatings, June 2009. Available at

Peacock, Thomas, and Bradley, Elizabeth, "Going With (or Against) The Flow," Science, Vol. 320, 6 June 2008, pp. 1302 - 1303.

"Sharklet Technologies, Inc. Bioorganism Control Surfaces," University of Florida Office of Technology Licensing profile, viewed online September 2012 at

Sutherland, Richard L.; Mathger, Lydia M.; Hanlon, Roger T.; Urbas, Augustine M.; and Stone, Morley O., "Cephalopod Coloration Model I. Squid Chromatophores and Iridophores," Journal Optical Society of America A, Vol 25, No. 3, March 2008, pp. 588 - 597.

Underwood, Anne, "Nature's Design Workshop; Engineers Turn to Biology For Inspiration," Newsweek, September 26, 2005, online version.

Weaver, James C.; Milliron, Garrett W.; Miserez, Ali; Evans-Lutterodt, Kenneth; Herrera, Steven; Gallana, Isaias; Mershon, William J.; Swanson, Brook; Zavattieri, Pablo; DiMasi, Elaine; and Kisailus, David, "The Stomatopod Dactyl Club: A Formidable Damage-Tolerant Hammer," Science, Vol. 336, No. 6086, pp. 1275 - 1280.

Weir, Kirsten, "Skin Care," Current Science, September 23, 2011, pp. 6 - 7.


Zi, Jian; Yu, Xindi; Hu Xinhua; Xu, Chun; Wang, Xingjun; and Fu, Rongtang, "Coloration Strategies for Peacock Feathers," PNAS, Vol. 100, No. 22, October 28, 2003, from


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