The Jelly Inside a Shark’s Nose is More Electrically Sensitive than any Man Made Material on Earth

Shark 2 640x0

Via Digitaltrends

A biological material that has existed for millions of years may find new applications in modern electronics. A team of scientists from UC Santa Cruz, the University of Washington, and the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason discovered that shark “jelly” is the highest proton conductive biological substance ever found, according to GizMag. In plain English, that means the material is extremely good at detecting weak electrical signals from great distances away — something that scientists and engineers believe could be useful in future sensor design.

Sharks, skates, and rays all have the sensitive jelly, which is what allows them to detect the presence of tiny fish from extremely long distances away. The jelly is found in ampullae on the skin. As you may recall from ancient history class, the word ampullae (plural for ampulla) refers to a kind of two-handled flask used in early Roman times to hold sacred oil. Biologically speaking, the word refers to a network of tiny jelly-filled pores that collectively act as a electroreceptor system. These were first discovered in 1678 by Stefano Lorenzini, and have since been called the “ampullae of Lorenzini” or AoL for short (which is amusing in its own right).

The jelly inside these AoL is the magic sauce that makes the whole “find-that-fish” system work, because of its high degree of proton conductivity. Proton conductors are substances that can carry an electrical charge. Most are solid, usually made of ceramic material or polymers. The most common application of proton conductors is with small fuel cells, usually made of highly conductive polymers. Now it turns out that shark jelly is only slightly less conductive than polymers designed in the lab.

Perhaps there will be applications for shark jelly in fuel cell design. The potential use of shark jelly in biomedical sensors where slight signal strength changes could indicate brain activity, cell state change, or any number of biomechanical, biochemical, or bioelectrical changes or fluctuations may be even greater.

See more


As 2022 starts, let’s take some time to share our goals for CircuitPython in 2022. Just like past years (full summary 2019, 2020, and 2021), we’d like everyone in the CircuitPython community to contribute by posting their thoughts to some public place on the Internet. Here are a few ways to post: a video on YouTub, a post on the CircuitPython forum, a blog post on your site, a series of Tweets, a Gist on GitHub. We want to hear from you. When you post, please add #CircuitPython2022 and email circuitpython2022@adafruit.com to let us know about your post so we can blog it up here.

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Join 32,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more https://www.instagram.com/adafruit/

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org


Maker Business — Pololu’s account of the chip shortage

Wearables — Monster-inspired costuming!

Electronics — How to make your own magnetic field probe!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: New Releases of MicroPython and CircuitPython and more! #Python #CircuitPython @micropython @ThePSF

Adafruit IoT Monthly — 2021 in Recap!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — JP’s Product Pick of the Week 1/18/22 KB2040 Kee Boar @adafruit @johnedgarpark #adafruit #newproductpick

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !



No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.