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Bending right

Life Science

Venture outside during a storm. A strong gust of wind and your umbrella is blown inside out.

A sophisticated mechanism prevents the same thing from happening to dragonflies in flight. Their filigree wings are interwoven with a honeycombed web of protein resin which provides flexible support.

If the creature’s wings are overextended, further bending is prevented by the presence of small spikes. Based on this knowledge, university researchers in Kiel have developed a new splint.

Used for ligatures when sprains or strains need resting, it blocks joint movement if it exceeds angles of 70 degrees.

The splint is made from polylactic acid and can be 3D printed. The stop mechanism could also be used in robotics.

For safe joints.

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