closeup of a sandgrouse feather

Johns Hopkins researchers draw engineering inspiration from sandgrouse feathers

The next generation of absorbent materials could draw inspiration from this image, an extreme close­- up of feathers from a bird with an uncanny ability to hold water while it flies. Using high-resolution microscopes and 3D technology, researchers at Johns Hopkins and MIT captured an unprecedented view of feathers from the desert-dwelling sandgrouse. "It's super fascinating to see how nature managed to create structures so perfectly efficient to take in and hold water," says Jochen Mueller, an assistant professor in Johns Hopkins' Department of Civil and Systems Engineering. "We think the findings could lead to new bio-inspired creations."