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Skin-inspired hull hydrogel may sense and repel barnacles

Barnacles may seem fairly low down the list of troublemaking sea creatures, but their habit of building up on ship hulls can be the bane of a boat-owner's existence. Known as biofouling, this problem is a serious drain of time and money for the Navy, and existing control methods can harm aquatic ecosystems. Now a project out of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and MIT has developed a coating to make anti-fouling hydrogels more effective and, in future, it could actively detect and respond to their presence.
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