Longhorn beetle inspires ink to fight counterfeiting
Image source: Optical Society of America
Highlight: “From water marks to colored threads, governments are constantly adding new features to paper money to stay one step ahead of counterfeiters. Now a longhorn beetle has inspired yet another way to foil cash fraud, as well as to produce colorful, changing billboards and art displays. In the journal ACS Nano, researchers report a new kind of ink that mimics the beetle’s color-shifting ability in a way that would be long-lasting and difficult to copy.”
Insight: Species and how they use light is an important aspect of their natural history. There are many examples in nature of species using effects of light as a communication mechanism. For instance bright flashy colors displayed on species are often associated with meanings of their toxicity intended to discourage predators (e.g. tropical fish, salamanders, snakes…). Furthermore, adaptations utilizing light effects in remarkable ways can be found not only in displays but down to the structural level (e.g. structures on a butterfly wings). A deeper study of the complex usage of light in nature is likely to lead to technological breakthrough (e.g. TV screens, camouflage…).
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What is Biomimetics: the field of gaining inspiration from nature first to solve some of our most difficult challenges. Instead of coming up with our own solutions to a problematic, the odds are that species on the planet already offer an ultimate solution. This simple fact is also another strong case to preserve species at all cost as the intellectual heritage contained within or through the study of species is both irreplaceable and invaluable…