Invented to deter harmful particle buildup in medical devices, design also could be used in industrial pipes and more.


  • Reduced maintenance
  • Increased product lifespan


  • Medical devices & surfaces
  • Marine vehicles & surfaces
  • Pipes

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing

  • Goal 6: Clean Water & Sanitation

The Challenge

We may think of smooth surfaces as slippery, but in various situations for living organisms and constructed objects, “smooth” can also mean “stable.” And being stable, they can attract other organisms and debris that can build up and cause problems in a wide range of situations. Finding a way to prevent such harmful  buildup holds enormous potential to save money and lives across a broad spectrum of industries.

Innovation Details

Closely examining the interior of human arteries and the exterior of dolphin skin, Aruga Technologies has invented TOPOGraft, a synthetic material for vascular implants that deters the accumulation of debris. It has a dynamic effect that fluctuates between smooth and wrinkled, which helps to shed platelets or blood clots that might adhere and cause blockage. So, while material used in conventional medical devices usually has to be replaced after two or three years due to the accumulation of material, TOPOGraft can maintain free-flowing conduits for much longer.

The same design principle could also work to prevent buildup of unwanted material on a host of surfaces that liquids flow across. These include equipment for dialysis and coronary bypasses, food processing, wastewater treatment, and engines.

An animated computer model demonstrates the transition of the tube's interior between smooth and wrinkled as pressure within it changes.

Biological Model

Despite appearances, neither the inside of blood vessels nor the outside of dolphin skin is smooth.

When hearts contract, they pump blood that expands arteries as it flows through. But then hearts relax, the arteries contract, and their interiors wrinkle up like accordions. This rhythmic expansion and wrinkling creates a self-cleaning mechanism that inhibits platelets and clots from clinging.

Dolphin skin has a related feature. On a microscopic scale, dolphins’ apparently slick skin is rippled with minuscule niches that leave too little space for marine critters such as barnacles or snails to grip on to.

Ray of Hope Prize®

Aruga Technologies was selected as the second-place winner for the 2019 Ray of Hope Prize. The Ray of Hope Prize® celebrates nature-inspired solutions addressing the world’s biggest environmental and sustainability challenges. Created in honor of Ray C. Anderson, founder of Interface, Inc., and a business and sustainability leader, the $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize helps startups cross a critical threshold in becoming viable businesses by amplifying their stories and providing them with equity-free funding. The prize shines a light on the innovative, nature-inspired solutions that we need to build a sustainable and resilient world.