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
Aug 10
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines says it believes more than 1,000 tons of oil have leaked from a bulk carrier that ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean on July 25. (NHK)
Aug 10
Japan's male smoking rate fell below 30 percent for the first time in 2019, slipping to 28.8 percent, down 2.3 percentage points from the previous study in 2016, according to a health ministry survey. (Japan Today)
Aug 08
NHK has learned that Japan's first supply of an experimental coronavirus vaccine being developed by British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca may be provided between next January and March. (NHK)
Aug 08
In recent years, coral in the seas around Okinawa Prefecture has been turning black and dying off due to a particular variety of coral-killing sponge called Terpios hoshinota. (Japan Times)
Aug 07
Researchers in Japan say the death rate of hospitalized coronavirus patients was 7.5 percent in the country. This is about one third of the COVID-19 death rates reported in Britain. (NHK)
Aug 07
A zoo in the Austrian capital of Vienna has bred a great purple emperor butterfly, Omurasaki in Japanese, from an egg after receiving caterpillars from a conservation group in Japan. (NHK)
Aug 06
Japan's daily number of confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday topped 1,300, remaining at high levels ahead of next week's summer holiday peak, with health authorities calling on people to be cautious when they travel to their hometowns and elsewhere. (Kyodo)
Aug 03
Japanese company ispace has updated the design of its commercial lunar lander while delaying its first flight by a year. (
Aug 03
An NHK survey shows the Japanese prefecture of Okinawa has the nation's highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the preceding seven days. (NHK)
Aug 02
Companies racing to introduce the successor to the batteries that power everything from our smartphones to drones to electric cars are closing in on their goal. But they are not alone. Startups have joined the fray to develop technologies for higher-performance power packs that can relegate today's lithium-ion batteries to an earlier stage along the march of progress. (Nikkei)