Inspiration for novel medical devices could come from a seahorse tail

In a study reported in the journal Science, researchers examine the mechanical factors involved in the shape of a seahorse's tail. These are structured into square prisms that are surrounded by bony plates connected by joints. Cylindrical, rather than square tails, are much more typical in the animal world. To explore the relative advantage, researchers created a square prism modeled on a seahorse tail and a similar, but cylindrical, version. The researchers subjected both to physical abuse and found the square prototype was stiffer, stronger and more resistant to crushing. But it was not able to twist as far, although they could bend similarly. They expect this research could have biomedical implications. Release | Abstract