drewsup (990717) writes "As quoted in Daily Science, Wolfgang Sigmund, a professor of materials science and engineering at University of Florida, has created a material modeled after spider hairs. A paper about the surface, which works equally well with hot or cold water, appears in this month's edition of the journal Langmuir.
Spiders use their water-repelling hairs to stay dry or avoid drowning, with water spiders capturing air bubbles and toting them underwater to breathe. Potential applications for UF's ultra-water-repellent surfaces are many, Sigmund said. When water scampers off the surface, it picks up and carries dirt with it, in effect making the surface self-cleaning. As such, it is ideal for some food packaging, or windows, or solar cells that must stay clean to gather sunlight, he said. Boat designers might coat hulls with it, making boats faster and more efficient. Hairy glass anyone?