What do cicadas have to do with lasers and cellphone screens? The question would leave most of us scratching our heads, but not the Greek scientific team at Biomimetic, which, as the name suggests, develops technology that mimics elements found in the natural world.
“Inspired by nature, Biomimetic uses lasers in the treatment of glass surfaces so as to reduce glare,” explains Evangelos Skoulas, researcher and chief operating officer at Biomimetic, adding that that the majority of anti-glare techniques used today are mainly of a chemical nature and aren’t very durable.
“This can be applied to the screens of cellphones, laptops, televisions and watches, allowing us to see what’s on them better without being hindered by the reflection of light,” he says, using simple terms to explain what the technology does.
Skoulas also stresses that reducing the glare from electronic devices also helps save energy, while Biomimetic’s technology could replace the environmentally harmful chemical methods used to tackle the same problem.
But where do the cicadas come in? Skoulas explains that Biomimetic was inspired by the study of the wings of these insects, as well as those of the glasswing butterfly (Greta oto), in the development of its anti-glare technology.
“Cicadas’ wings are non-reflective, allowing sunlight through to warm their bodies while also ensuring that they are not spotted by predators,” he says. “Basically, while it took millions of years for this quality to develop in nature, also through the process of natural selection, we can mimic it quite faithfully by using lasers.”
The Biomimetic team comprises five researchers from the Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser at the Foundation for Research and Technology in Crete. Apart from Skoulas, they also include Manolis Stratakis, Andreas Lemonis, Alexandros Mimidis and Antonis Papadopoulos.
They have spent the last three years developing their technology and are now looking for funding in order to get the idea off the ground. They are one small step closer to accomplishing this after reaching the finals of the recent NBG Business Seeds competition of the National Bank of Greece.
Skoulas says that Biomimetic’s technology has already attracted the interest of major mobile phone and timepiece manufacturers, adding that should an investor be found, the team would like to keep production in Greece.