• Strategy

Shape-shifting aids swimming: bacteria

Body of bacteria moves through water by shape-shifting.

"On the scale of a bacterium, water is as viscous as treacle. This makes swimming difficult because a simple symmetrical stroke gets you nowhere: the recovery stroke pushes you as far back as the first part of the stroke pulled you forward. So these bacteria adopt different geometrical shapes during the first and second parts of the stroke to maximise the forward movement. Swimming robots and moving parts in nanomachines are already engineered in this way." (Hogan 2003:24)
About the inspiring organism

Learn more at EOL.org
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Water transportation, space transportation; nano-scale transport.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Transportation, nanotechnology

Hogan, Jenny. 2003. Shape-shifter beats the laws of physics. New Scientist. (2385):
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