Closing the trap by Dr Hortense Le Ferrand

A feather falling –

hungry inert soul wakes up,

snaps, closing the trap.


The Venus flytrap, Dionaea muscipula, is a carnivorous plant that performs one of the fastest movements in the flora: when an insects touches the hairs inside the leaves of the trap, it closes in a few milliseconds.

Inspired by the plants and its internal microstructure, a team of researchers from ETH Zürich and Purdue University have developed a composite material mimicking the Venus leaf and able to change shape as fast as the plant (Schmied & Le Ferrand et al, 2017).

Thanks to the good match between the theoretical simulations and the experimental results, their method opens new avenues for the creation of autonomous and fast robotic devices.

Original research:

Dr Hortense Le Ferrand is a postdoctoral fellow at Nanyang Technical University, Singapore. Hortense’s interests are on the fabrication and design of novel materials and systems inspired by nature.

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