Moths, Inspiring Innovation

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Deilephila elpenor, commonly called the elephant hawk-moth, has specialized eyes that don’t reflect light. Such moths inspired scientists to invent an anti-glare coating for smart screens. Ullstein Bild/Getty Images

We have lots of reasons to believe in biodiversity, and here is one more important case in point. Thanks to Madeline K. Sofia at National Public Radio (USA) for this:

If you’re standing in the blazing sun struggling to read this on your cellphone, there may be some relief in sight.

And you’ll have a moth to thank.

The reason you have to find shade to read your phone is the way the light reflects off the screen. The reflection reduces contrast, washing out images.

And so “the lower the surface reflection, the better,” says Shin-Tson Wu, a professor of optics and photonics at the University of Central Florida.

Wu’s team of researchers has developed a film that coats cellphone screens to cut down the glare. Their inspiration? The eyes of a moth.

Most moths are nocturnal. Their eyes are covered in anti-reflective nanostructures that prevent light from reflecting off them when they fly at night and giving away their location — helping them to avoid predators.

Think of all the terrible photos of people with glowing red eyes. It’s like that, but a bit worse. Because instead of being embarrassed, you’d be eaten.

The researchers copied those light-trapping structures on the moth eyes for their film…

Read the whole article here.

3 thoughts on “Moths, Inspiring Innovation

  1. I love moths. I found a huge specimen in the road in front of my home some years ago and I freaked out. I always freak out whenever I see an animal in the road and this was nothing different – still a feeling and living thing that needs cared for. Luckily, no car was coming. I grabbed it and carried back to our yard and placed it near a shrub out of harms way. Interesting read👍

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