Surfers Intrigued By MIT Engineers Developing Beaver-Inspired Wetsuit Technology

Picture: Felice Frankel

MIT engineers, in collaboration with the biology of beavers, have dreamt up a bushy wetsuit idea designed to maintain surfers drier and extra agile.

Inspiration for the thought got here when members of MIT’s [email protected] (Sports activities Technology and Schooling at MIT) program traveled to Taiwan. The group, led by MIT Affiliate Head of Engineering Operations Anette Hosoi, visited quite a few sporting items producers, one being wetsuit producer Sheico Group, in response to a narrative revealed on MIT Information.

Sheico Group inquired a few sustainable wetsuit choice that emphasised shedding water shortly and staying heat, Hosoi stated.

Hosoi advised her workforce of engineers look to nature to unravel the issue. “We began taking a look at animals which might be small and agile, however need to survive in arctic environments and spend a part of their time underwater and a part of their time on land,” Hosoi stated in a video for MIT Information.

Semiaquatic mammals, like beavers and otters, are coated by two separate layers of insulating fur that assist them survive in chilly moist circumstances. MIT graduate scholar Alice Nasto headed the undertaking that went about replicating this naturally occurring phenomenon utilizing delicate casting rubber and laser slicing know-how. The ultimate product was a skinny rubbery pelt coated with tiny artificial hairs. 

Nasto and her staff confirmed that the load of water towards a beaver’s outer fur pressured air in, however water stopped brief. This course of created a pure insulating barrier, Nasto stated. “The water sticks to those hairs, which prevents water from penetrating all the best way to their base.”

The [email protected] staff took its findings a step additional and developed an equation predicting how thick an air barrier would outcome from hair layers of various lengths and densities, Hosoi stated. “We have now now quantified the design area and may say, ‘If in case you have this type of hair density and size, and are diving at these speeds, these designs will lure air, and these won’t.’ Which is the knowledge you want in case you’re going to design a wetsuit.”

Hosoi has already acquired messages from surfers desperate to get their palms on the brand new wetsuit know-how, in response to a report on Outdoors..

Outside retail juggernaut Patagonia can also be preserving tabs on the potential innovation. “It’s tremendous fascinating,” Patagonia’s wetsuit designer Hub Hubbard informed Outdoors. “Our innovation workforce has performed round with bio-mimicry on different tasks, and I feel there’s potential with this type of factor. Whether or not they could make a go well with that may stand up to the turbulence of being in surf is the actual query. I’m actually hopeful it really works out.”