Biomimicry: Namib Beetle teaches Engineers New Tricks

Read the full story at Treehugger.

If you lived where the rainfall was less than half an inch (12mm) for the whole year you’d either die, or get pretty smart about how to get a drink.

The Namib Desert beetle is one such clever critter. Its shell has evolved microscopic hydrophillic (water-loving) bumps that attract fine water droplets in the fog that blows across the desert, but would not otherwise condense. The minute water drops collect more fog, growing like weeny snowballs until they are heavy enough to roll down the mounds into waxy, hydrophobic (water-repelling) channels. Whoosh! Into the beetle’s thirsty mouth.

Inspired by an article about this phenomena in Nature journal, engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have had a stab at some biomimicry to see if they could recreate the effect.

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