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It is known as Hai-Tech (Hai = German for shark): Researchers from Jade University of Applied Sciences in Wilhelmshaven in Lower Saxony and Mittweida University of Applied Sciences in Saxony have taken their inspiration from sharks. Shark skin has what are known as ‘riblets’, a surface geometry that reduces the viscous drag, enabling the shark to move around in an energy-saving manner. According to the researchers, this structure can also be transposed to wind turbines, gas turbines, and aircraft fuselages, and has already been subjected to experimental investigations. The two universities have also developed a program to predict how much the riblet structure will increase the efficiency of a given component. A consortium of companies from the Wilhelmshaven region will put to the test the practical suitability of the research.

The Association of German Engineers (VDI) has also been quick to recognize the potential of nature for industry, setting up its own bionics department in 2007, with the main objective of intensifying collaboration between research and industry.