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Shark skin inspires Sharp and Nikon design for energy-saving A/C

Japan-based partners explore biomimicry for high-performance appliances

A shark swims behind a glass window at the Sydney Aquarium. The animal's skin is being emulated in the design of energy-saving fans for air conditioners.   © Reuters

OSAKA -- Japan-based manufacturers Sharp and Nikon have partnered to develop home appliances with features that take a page from the biological world, starting with an energy-efficient air conditioner inspired by shark skin.

The tie-up announced Tuesday combines Sharp's appliance expertise with Nikon's microfabrication techniques, including the use of a laser on resin or metal surfaces. The companies aim to explore biomimicry, creating components with new features such as antifouling or water-repellency. They look to commercialize the technology by fiscal 2023.

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