Ladybug wings could lead to unbreakable umbrellas

Ladybug wings could lead to unbreakable umbrellas

Ladybug wings could lead to unbreakable umbrellas

For years, researchers have marveled at how ladybugs managed to pack large, super-efficient wings under their tiny beetle shells.

Just how they did it, however, was always hidden by the shells themselves — until now.

Scientists in Japan created clear replica shells for the insects and actually transplanted them — you go, science! — and the see-through shells revealed the complex, origami-like ways the wings fold up.

Why is this important? The researchers say there are many other applications, like adapting similar folds for solar arrays for satellites, medical instruments, and yes, keeping you dry in the rain.

“I believe that beetle wing folding has the potential to change the umbrella design that has been basically unchanged for more than 1000 years” University of Tokyo’s Institute of Industrial Science assistant professor Kazuya Saito says.

“Usually, transformable structures require a lot of parts including joints and rigid parts but, ladybugs effectively use flexibility and elastic behavior in the structures and achieve complex transformation by very simple structures,” Saito says.

“Frames of collapsible umbrellas have many parts and easily to be broken at joints. The ladybug umbrella will be made by seamless flexible frames therefore indestructible even in strong wind, and able to be deployed very quickly by using stored elastic energy.”


Recent Posts

Leave a comment