Motorcycle armour could be fishy

Armour like fish scales

Future motorcycle jackets could be made with lightweight rider armour designed like fish scales and with technology derived from sea creatures’ eyes.

A team of Boston University engineering researchers believe fish, snake and even butterfly scales hold the key to creating strong and lightweight armour.

The researchers have constructed scales with a 3D printer and added them to a soft impact-resistant material to create the armour which has extra structural stiffening.

Now MIT researchers have found the eyes of chitons – or Acanthopleura granulata – can make out images and focus light within a photoreceptive chamber beneath the lens.

The researchers have been x-raying the eyes to investigate the architecture that makes this possible both in the water and out of the water.

Chiton eyes could provide clue to strong protective layers 

“High-resolution structure and property studies of the chiton system provide fascinating discoveries into materials-level tradeoffs imposed by the disparate functional requirements in this case protection and vision, and are key to extracting design principles for multifunctional bio-inspired armor,” says MIT professor Christine Ortiz.

Both of these discoveries could be applied to lightweight and high-strength body armour as used in motorcycle apparel.