Future motorcycle jackets could be made with lightweight rider armour designed like fish scales and with technology derived from sea creatures’ eyes.
A team of Boston University engineering researchers believe fish, snake and even butterfly scales hold the key to creating strong and lightweight armour.
The researchers have constructed scales with a 3D printer and added them to a soft impact-resistant material to create the armour which has extra structural stiffening.
Now MIT researchers have found the eyes of chitons – or Acanthopleura granulata – can make out images and focus light within a photoreceptive chamber beneath the lens.
The researchers have been x-raying the eyes to investigate the architecture that makes this possible both in the water and out of the water.
“High-resolution structure and property studies of the chiton system provide fascinating discoveries into materials-level tradeoffs imposed by the disparate functional requirements in this case protection and vision, and are key to extracting design principles for multifunctional bio-inspired armor,” says MIT professor Christine Ortiz.
Both of these discoveries could be applied to lightweight and high-strength body armour as used in motorcycle apparel.