John Bush, a professor of applied mathematics, and renowned Spanish chef Jose Andres combined talents to create two culinary novelties inspired by nature.
The cocktail accessory- an edible "boat" produced by 3-D printing- motors around on the surface of an alcoholic drink, propelled by the same fluid mechanics as certain water bugs.
About the size of a raisin, the boat is filled with alcohol of a higher proof than the drink in which it floats. The boat steadily releases alcohol through a notch at one end, creating a difference in surface tension that propels it forward. This approach mimics one used by some insects, which release a chemical that drives them toward shore after an accidental fall into water.
The team also designed a "floral pipette" resembling an upside-down flower. When dipped into a drink, the pipette captures and closes around a drop or two of liquid, which a diner can sip as a palate-cleanser. The device is the opposite of a water lily, which closes its petals when submerged, keeping liquid out. Both mechanisms work via surface tension and hydrostatic forces.
Bush said the culinary novelties stem from his group's attempts to rationalize nature's designs.
The study is published in journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics.
--ANI (Posted on 07-11-2013)