The interface between the rock-hard tip of a squid's beak and the beak's soft base is the inspiration behind research that aims to make a wide array of medical devices more comfortable for patients. "We're mimicking the architecture and the water-enhanced properties of the squid to generate these materials," said Stuart Rowan, Kent H. Smith professor of macromolecular science and engineering at Case Western Reserve University. The key is developing a material, using nanofibers, whose gradient -- from soft to hard -- is steeper when wet, making it especially suitable for implants.

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