The Loh Down On Science

Bombin' Beetles

Scientists see opportunity in this beetle's, ahem, behind.

Introducin'. . . the beetles'. . . bottoms!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

and on the secret life of the Bombardier Beetle. When threatened, this tiny bloke shoots a boiling-hot jet of noxious steam out its, um, tiny backside.

But hello goodbye, indeed! Where frogs and spiders might see crisis, scientists see opportunity.

At the University of Leeds, engineers who make spraying devices like fire extinguishers and squirt guns are capitalizing on the beetle's spraying power.

Andy McIntosh recently worked out the physics and built a lab version of. . . the beetle's behind. His device can blast hot water all the way "across the universe"--or at least, across the room.

Now, a company called Swedish Biomimetics Three Thousand is using the beetle blaster technology in all kinds of sprayers, including fuel-injection systems and inhalers. The new devices are eco-friendly, which means bye bye, chemical propellants.

Just what you've always wanted to put up your nose. A beetle's bottom. Talk about a British Invasion!


blog comments powered by Disqus