Believe it or not, your future phone will more likely than not contains parts of insects, or at least parts inspired by insects. Nature has been giving us clues as to how we should operate and build within our world for centuries, so it is about time we took some of its clues to improve our technology. Thanks to insects, the future generations of devices will be more functional, lighter, and a lot more sustainable than ever before.
The microphone on your phone will soon be able to isolate certain sounds. It will be able to do this because of the startup Soundskirt’s research amongst crickets and mosquitos. These insects have microscopic hairs to detect where sound waves are coming for, which allows them to focus in on certain sounds while blocking others out. Soundskirt used this as inspiration and created a microphone that measures the particle velocity of sound waves. This allows the mic to focus in on only certain sounds, which has very useful applications for voice recognition software. In the future, Siri and similar programs will be able to recognize your voice in loud places like concerts or crowded buildings.
Glucose Powered Battery
Researchers at Virginia Tech have been inspired by how insects store glycogen to later fuel themselves. Using this as a backbone, they have created a battery that uses synthetic fuel to change glucose (sugar) into energy. This battery stores 10 times the energy of a normal lithium ion battery and is far more sustainable. It is such a revolutionary idea that it has recently caught the eye of Sony, a company that has been investing heavily in the technology.
A Screen Without Glare
The eyes of moths are covered by a biological film that lessens the shine of their eyes at night so that they can not be spotted when they are hunting for prey. Using this as inspiration, scientists have developed a coating for a smartphone screen that would completely eliminate the glare caused by the sun on your phone screen. When implemented, this would make using a phone in full sun actually possible and it would also improve battery life because the brightness of the phone could be kept low.
A 160 Degree Wide-Angle Camera
The eyes of beetles and ants are actually composed of nearly 200 separate eyes. This gives the insects a much wider field of vision with a huge depth of field. After studying the eyes of these insects, scientists created a very small, round lens that is actually made up of 180 smaller cameras. These cameras all focus in on a different point and look at it with a different perspective, which allows the user to take completely clear pictures in 160-degrees.
A butterfly wing contains an extremely complex waterproof coating to keep the flimsy wings dry during rain or near water. The wings basically contain a drainage system using grooves and a wax coating. The combination of these two elements gets rid of moisture before it’s able to stick to and drench the wing. Researchers from Ohio State University copied the wings grooves and created a phone coating that repels any liquid it touches. This coating repels water 40% faster than hydrophobic coating.