Gorodetsky Serves as Expert for National Academies Workshop

Alon Gorodetsky

March 10, 2020 - Alon Gorodetsky, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, was invited to serve as a subject-matter expert by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine for a workshop on the potential military applications of bio-inspired materials. Called Bio-Inspired Signature Management for the U.S. Army, the workshop’s in-brief proceedings have just been published.

The workshop, held in September, convened researchers from across the country, including Gorodetsky, whose lab develops new camouflage technologies inspired by cephalopods, such as octopus, cuttlefish and squid.

The goals were to identify clear paths that illuminate knowledge of how biological systems sense prey and mask their presence (signatures); explore promising avenues to pursue and ways to improve information sharing; and encourage a community of scholars to pursue these ideas further.

Gorodetsky discussed how understanding the biological capabilities of cephalopods could inspire the engineering of dynamic materials for human camouflage applications, which would enable signature masking and infrared invisibility. He brought up the possibility of thermal infrared camouflage and illustrated potential thermo-comfort and thermo-regulatory materials, along with their fabrication and technical characterization. He also showed comparisons of temperature change, using these materials as part of a wearable system (on the forearm, for example) under various levels of strain.

“The workshop was a wonderful opportunity to interface with and learn from colleagues,” said Gorodetsky. “I came away with a great deal of inspiration from recent work on cephalopods and other biological systems.”

– Lori Brandt

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