It is not uncommon for scientists to turn to nature for inspiration. Leonardo da Vinci did it oh so long ago.
Today, reearchers turn to butterfly wings that channel water and repel dirt and dust. And they look at the sturdy cockroach as the inspiration for tiny robots.
And today, researchers at Case Western Reserve University say they have found a natural model that could lead to safer, more comfortable medical devices. The squid beak. That's right, the squid beak.
The tip, according to a press release, is harder than human teeth. But its base is soft. How do they work together? The beak has a mechanical gradient that "acts as a shock absorber so the animal can bit a fish with bone-crushing force yet suffer no wear and tear on its fleshy mouth."
The gradient is there when the beak is dry, but even more so when it is wet. And let's face it, squid beaks are most often wet.
The university says this technology could lead to medical devices - from glucuse sensors to prosthetic limbs - that are more durable and comfortable.