The Honey Bee Inspires Scientists

The honey bee, bio inspiration
Photo Credit: Design Rage. Shutterstock photo. Used with permission under standard license.

I’m pulling out a Creator’s Trademark newsletter article on the Honey Bee to use for today’s blog. On Monday, I returned from a four-day trip to Alton and Chicago, IL, so I’m still playing catch up in the writing department as well as life.

The trip concluded early Monday morning when Mel caught a flight to London. I’m on my own for a month. No worries. I have lofty goals carefully laid out on my calendar. If I accomplish everything, the month will be an enormous success.

Enough about me. I wrote this article on the honey bee for last week’s newsletter. What a remarkable little creature. Hope you enjoy it.

The Honey Bee

An incredible laborer, engineer, manufacturer, and homemaker. The honey bee sets out at sunrise to eat nectar and gather pollen, returning at sunset or when they’re so loaded down they can barely fly. Every ounce of effort is directed toward securing the future of the next generation. In the process, mankind is gifted with the sweets of their labor.

The ability to transform nectar into honey and beeswax is not their only secret. Researchers from Temple University in Pennsylvania discovered a way to improve the accuracy of surgical needles by studying the stinger design.

honey bee, creator's trademark, bio inspiration
Photo credit: Ruksutakarn Studios, shutterstock photo used with permission under standard license.

“One problem with surgery needles is that they will often deflect when inserted into human tissue. The needle deviating from its intended path becomes a critical issue when applying a precise dose of medication to damaged tissue.”

While studying honey bees, scientist noted that the stingers are barbed rather than linear like a typical needle. These notches decrease insertion and extraction forces, and therefore limit a needle’s ability to curve.

“WITH THIS SHAPE, THE CURVE IS LIMITED—IT MAKES IT EASIER TO CONTROL IN A ROBOTICS SETTING.”

So far, the bee-like needles have been 3D printed in a unique polymer mixture but the hope is to 3D print a hybrid metal-polymer needle in this shape and then obtain FDA approval.

You can read the full article on the bio inspired needles by clicking here.

Honey, beeswax, a super-designed stinger… That’s not all….

Engineers at Tsinghua University in Beijing have been studying the insect’s scope of movement as it wraps around small flowers to gather pollen. Note its body position in the above photo. Six lateral structures that resembles the hydraulic shocks on a car are attached to the exoskeleton by tissue and muscles. The way in which the bee extends and contracts demonstrates extreme flexibility. Scientists feel this design may help in the construction of rocket nose cones that need to morph into different shapes to accommodate the aerodynamics, mobility, and flight control required to punch through and re-enter the atmosphere.

What a fabulously designed creature. No wonder he has such an incredible defense.

If you would like to read more articles like this, check out our article on the Electric Eel. Also consider signing up for our newsletter to receive the newest Creator’s Trademark articles.

Thank you for reading! Have a wonderful rest of your day.

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