Intelligent artificial material. Collects environmental information, capable of capturing and analyzing information from the environment and making responses to external stimuli.
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- 1 Developed
- 2 Description
- 3 Versatile materials
- 1 New environmental detection sensors
- 4 Features
- 5 Sources
Developed by a group of engineers and researchers at the University of Southern Mississippi and the National Science Foundation. This artificial material, widely applied in sensors and environmental analysis devices, imitates the behavior of cilia, natural structures present in cells and single-celled organisms, which obtain sensory-type data and make mechanical responses to adapt to the environment.
The new artificial material that mimics the functioning of cilia, tiny natural structures that can be found in cells and single-celled organisms. They collect sensory information and produce mechanical responses, something that seeks to reproduce itself in the new artificial material, which would have wide industrial application in sensors intended to control different environmental indicators.
With this new artificial material, engineers and scientists seek to imitate nature, specifically the functioning of the cilia, small structures found in a variety of cells and single-celled organisms, including, for example, human skin.
Its main function is to collect sensory information and generate mechanical responses.
In this way, the organisms that possess them can move spontaneously under different stimuli. For the first time, researchers have created artificial cilia, which respond to changes in temperature, electromagnetic radiation, acidity, and other characteristics.
On the other hand, as the environment changes and returns to its original state, artificial cilia also vary and adapt to new conditions. Although the new artificial material is not exactly the same as natural cilia, it responds to thermal, chemical, and electromagnetic stimuli.
Consequently, the finding allows researchers to control the material and open up a set of limitless possibilities for future use. The cilia are corrugated structures, hairlike, extending in the outer surface of various organisms, suchas human skin.
Cilia are used by humans, different animals and single-celled organisms to detect different data from the environment, gathering information that allows them to adapt to it. Now, a new thin copolymer film developed in the framework of the aforementioned research allows the same functions and applications to be obtained artificially.
The research focuses on the development of materials that can elicit responses from various levels, under different conditions and on various time scales. According to the engineers in charge of the project, this type of intelligent materials that imitate natural processes will shape the future of science and engineering and will drive future technologies.
New environmental detection sensors
To develop the new artificial material, a process used for years to produce latex paints has been applied, forming thin films based on copolymers. Their chemical composition makes it possible for molecular sensors to be incorporated into the filaments.
The sensors respond to temperature, acidity, and ultraviolet radiation. On the other hand, the filaments that the material presents are capable of making movements of locomotion, shaking, contracting and expanding in response to different stimuli. Consequently, artificial cilia can have a wide field of applications.
Furthermore, they are capable of absorbing and emitting light, changing color in reaction to ultraviolet rays. All these characteristics would allow the incorporation of the new material in different devices to facilitate the detection of the presence of toxins or the lack of oxygen in a given environment.
The opportunities for the future for the use of sensors that would apply this new material would be truly limitless. For example, they could be applied in detecting the levels of different substances or drugs in the human body, or for tests and analyzes of air or water.