Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Woodpecker research unlocks the key to avoiding head injury

22.11.2011
Why don't woodpeckers injure themselves? Researchers at Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the Beihang University in Beijing have been investigating...

A pioneering study by researchers of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and the Beihang University in Beijing has unravelled the mystery of why woodpeckers don't hurt themselves in the act of pecking on the trees. This finding is expected to provide fresh insights on the safety design of helmets and other related products.


Comuptation models were developed by the researchers to show the stress distributions with different lengths of beaks. Copyright : PolyU

The research was jointly led by Professor Ming Zhang of PolyU's Department of Health Technology and Informatics and Professor Yubo Fan of Beihang University. A series of experimental studies and computer simulation were conducted. Two synchronous high-speed video systems were used to observe the pecking motion, and a force sensor was used to measure the pecking force. The mechanical properties and macro/micro morphological structure in the woodpecker's head were investigated using a mechanical testing system and micro-CT scanning. Computational models of the woodpecker's head were established to study the dynamic intracranial responses.

Based on the result of this study, the research team has come up with answers on why the repeated daily head-banging motion of woodpeckers does not sustain any brain injury. The experimental data and simulation showed that three factors are at work in sparing the injury.

Firstly, the skulls of woodpeckers are protected by hyoid bone's looping structures which acts as a kind of "safety belt". Secondly, the upper and lower halves of the birds' beaks are uneven in length - this asymmetry lowers the impact of pecking force transmitted from the tip of the beak onto the brain. Last but not least, the "spongy" bone structure at different points in the skull helps distribute the incoming force, thereby protecting the brain.

The team says it's the combination of these three features that allows woodpeckers to peck without injury. It is anticipated that more quantitative studies will take place before applying the bio-mechanism to human protective device design and probably industry design.

The study was published in the online edition of PloS ONE journal.

Press Contacts
Professor Ming Zhang
Department of Health Technology and Informatics
Tel: (852) 2766 4939
Email: ming.zhang@polyu.edu.hk

Wilfred Lai | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.polyu.edu.hk
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A room with a view - or how cultural differences matter in room size perception
25.04.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für biologische Kybernetik

nachricht Studying a catalyst for blood cancers
25.04.2017 | University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Early organic carbon got deep burial in mantle

25.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

A room with a view - or how cultural differences matter in room size perception

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Warm winds: New insight into what weakens Antarctic ice shelves

25.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>