The principles behind structures and chemicals in nature can be transferred to commercial products to boost their performance. Structures include shells, whose clever shapes minimize the material needed and contain parts that are all as strong as each other, so there’s no over-engineering as found in our buildings. Then there are the whole bodies of birds and fishes, which flawlessly manipulate the flow of air or water to optimize locomotion. Mussel shells, meanwhile, fix to the spot after evolving chemicals that function as underwater glues, which may equally allow us to bond objects in the sea.
Lifescaped is developing devices with parts that can only be seen under a microscope, including the mud-shedding ‘microstructures’ that cause mud to simply fall off a surface such as that of a Wellington boot or a car mud flap. On a related subject, we consider the management of water on surfaces, originally using ‘super-hydrophobic’ feathers and leaves as our models. Here, we have developed surfaces that can instantly become clear of water.
We build predictive software based on evolutionary events or social animals, which can help to make transport or commercial operations run more efficiently, and also contribute towards the planning of large buildings and towns. For example, we developed a security system for mobile phone payments for Monitse/Visa.
We have considerable focus on optical devices, including super-efficient fibre-optics, and contact lenses incorporating the microstructures that allow some shells to become ultra-transparent.
We are building a portfolio of products in this category, and in so doing attract public attention to the conservation of the species and environments that have inspired our work.