MM: An Octopus-Inspired Adhesive & Motion-Sensing Walls

In this episode we look at new suction-based adhesive and a building installation full of motion-sensing walls.

Flexible pressure sensors could be used to help improve a wide range of industries, from medicine to electronics to automaking. But producing conventional flexible sensors requires the transfer of tiny ribbons of semiconductor material onto polymer sheets — a labor-intensive and costly process.

A team of Korean scientists, however, could have a solution. They examined the structure of the suckers on octopus tentacles and used the results to craft a new suction-based adhesive.

Octopi control their suckers with surrounding muscles, making them thicker or thinner and increasing or decreasing pressure on command.

The researchers' new smart microscale suckers are comprised of a rubbery material called PDMS that increases suction in response to heat.

The technology could be used in wearable devices and could provide a better sense of touch to future prosthetics and robots.

It also achieves the principal goals of bio-adhesives: it's non-toxic and bonds strongly and quickly but can be reversed and used repeatedly — even in wet or other adverse conditions.

How else could manufacturers deploy similar types of adhesives? Tell us what you think by leaving your comments below.

Motion-Sensing Walls

Manhattan-based experiential design firm ESI Design has created a solution to boring blank building walls. The firm installed 1,700 sq ft of interactive media displays that react to activity within the Terrell Pace building in Washington, DC. 

Three sets of content have been created to be shown on the displays called Seasons, Color Play and Cityscape, with each reacting to the amount of motion detected by 14 infrared cameras placed around the installation to monitor activity so that the scenes can ebb and flow based on activity within the building, such as the morning rush and the afternoon lull.

The whole system is powered by three computers with dual Nividia Quadro M5000 Graphics cards, while a Mac Pro is used for sensor processing and two Mac Minis control accompanying audio streamed through speakers hidden in the walls and ceilings.

The largest media wall is 80-ft wide and 13-ft high and uses a high-brightness LED display. All the displays in the installation have a diffusion screen that sits in front to soften the light emitted.

A supervisory system monitors the computers, gets LED temperature warnings, communicates with the building lighting system to trigger preset content scenes and sends status notifications to the team.

With display manufacturers aiming for larger, commercial applications for their products, could you see something like this becoming a product offering? Tell us what you think by leaving your comments below. 

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