Real Time Web Analytics

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Mimicking The Cat's Tongue For A Better Hairbrush

We all know cat tongues make the perfect hairbrush... for cats. But now researcher Alexis Noel, a doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering at the Hu Biolocomotion Lab at Georgia Tech, is thinking a brush that works like a cat tongue would also be perfect for humans.

Cats' tongues have tiny backward-facing barbs that pull out tangles and remove dirt and loose hair. Unlike a human hairbrush, the barbs rotate to penetrate a snag even further and pull it out. Also unlike a human brush, the barbs fold back when not in use. In cats, that can cause hairballs. But if the bristles of a human hairbrush folded back, they'd be super-easy to clean.

Noel likes this idea so much, she's planning to talk with beauty specialists about a more efficient hairbrush. And she told Science Daily she and her team have already submitted a technology disclosure form and intend to file a patent within the next year.

Filming A Cat's Tongue At Work

The idea of a better hairbrush popped into Noel's head as she was watching her cat lick a blanket. When his tongue got stuck, he pushed it into the blanket to unhook it from the fabric loops, rather than pulling it back. When she thought about it, Noel saw all kinds of possibilities in human devices that mimic a cat's tongue.

She and her team of researchers used high-speed cameras to film cats' tongues pushing food around a fur mat. Then they made a 3D-printed model of a cat's tongue.

Aside from a handier human hairbrush, Noel thinks devices that mimic cat tongues could be used for soft robotic designs. And a brush that mimics a cat's tongue might also be useful for wound cleaning.

But none of those things will happen tomorrow. For now, she and her colleagues are developing their cat tongue technology through the Innovation Corps at Georgia Tech.

No comments:

Post a Comment