In Maryland, researchers at the US Army Research Institute are developing a renewable, self-healing material inspired by squid teeth in the hopes it can be used to design self-repairing robots and uniforms.
Squids catch and hold food using tentacles, which can regenerate if lost or damaged. Researchers at Penn State University have already developed soft robotic components from self-healing polymers.
The findings were described in Nature Materials. Stephanie McElhinny, a biochemistry program manager at the US Army Research Office, told the Army Times a prototype for the self-healing materials could be ready in 5-8 years, with real-life military applications potentially ready in 10-15 years.
In addition to clothing and robotics, the material could also be used for ventilators, personal protective equipment, or prosthetic legs.