Researchers shed light on how earwig wings fold
NHK -- Jul 15
Researchers say they have discovered how earwigs, a type of small insect, are able to fold their wings into a compact size. They say the findings can be applied widely, from space development to everyday goods.

Earwigs, seen widely across Japan, are able to fold their wings into about one-fifteenth of the original size, giving them the most compact wing storage among all insects. But the mechanism is extremely complex, and little was known about it until now.

Saito Kazuya of Kyushu University's Faculty of Design and teams from other institutions, including Oxford University Museum of Natural History, released their findings in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

They say they used X-rays to analyze the wing's design and found that its shape and structure were similar to those of a fan. They say its creases radiate outward in a relatively simple pattern.

They say this design can be applied to parabola antennas and other circular objects, or to fan-shaped objects placed adjacently like wings.

The researchers say the folding structure is similar to those of earwig relatives dating back 280 million years and its long-term use suggests that it is a superior mechanism.

The technology to fold structures into compact shapes and ensure durability when unfolded has been applied to solar panels on satellites.

Saito said their findings could be used for not just state-of-the-art technology but in designs for everyday items, such as fans and umbrellas.

News source: NHK
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