A Pine Cone-inspired Innovation

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It’s amazing what you can learn from nature. We recently discovered that Chao Chen, a student at the Royal College of Art in London, found inspiration in Hyde Park on a rainy day. He picked up a pine cone and noticed that it had reacted to the rain by closing up. So he took a few pine cones home and sliced them in half. Chen then designed a material, based on the anatomy of a pine cone, that can shapeshift in response to the weather. Fast Company reports:

‘Each pine cone has two layers,’ Chen says in a phone interview. ‘When it gets wet, the outer layer elongates more than the inner layer and closes in on itself. As a designer, this was very important for me.’

Thank you, Innovation Daily, for sharing the good news, as reported by Fast Company! And thank you, Fast Company, for keeping us up on new inventions! READ THE ARTICLE. 

P.S. More About Pine Cones:  Pine cones open and close depending on the humidity to help seed dispersal. Inside the pine cone there are lots of feather light seeds. When the weather is dry, the pine cone opens so that the wind, even a slight breeze, will catch the seeds and disperse them far away from the original tree. But when it rains, pine cones close to protect the seeds from becoming waterlogged and falling to the ground, where the seed would be in the shade of its “parent” and need to compete for resources.

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