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.
Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München
Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences