Humans are clever, but without intending to, we have created massive sustainability problems for future generations. Fortunately, solutions to these global challenges are all around us. A sustainable world already exists.
What is Bio mimicry?
Bio mimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. The goal is to create products, processes, and policies—new ways of living—that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul.
The core idea is that nature has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with. Animals, plants, and microbes are the consummate engineers. After billions of years of research and development, failures are fossils, and what surrounds us is the secret to survival.
History of bio mimicry
Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) was a keen observer of the anatomy and flight of birds, and made numerous notes and sketches on his observations as well as sketches of various “flying machines.”
The Wright Brothers, who finally did succeed in creating and flying the first airplane in 1903, also derived inspiration for their airplane from observations of pigeons in flight.
Otto Schmitt, an American academic and inventor, coined the term biomimetics to describe the transfer of ideas from biology to technology. The term biomimetics only entered the Websters Dictionary in 1974.
The term biomimicry appeared as early as 1982. The term biomimicry was popularized by scientist and author Janine Benyus in her 1997 book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature.
Biomimicry is defined in her book as a “new science that studies nature’s models and then imitates or takes inspiration from these designs and processes to solve human problems”.
Benyus suggests looking to Nature as a “Model, Measure, and Mentor” and emphasizes sustainability as an objective of biomimicry.
Applications of biomimicry that changed the world
The Shinkansen Bullet Train was the fastest train in the world, traveling 200 miles per hour. The problem? Noise. Air pressure changes produced large thunder claps every time the train emerged from a tunnel, causing residents one-quarter a mile away to complain.
Eiji Nakatsu, the Shinkansen 500 train’s chief engineer and an avid bird-watcher, asked himself, “Is there something in Nature that travels quickly and smoothly between two very different mediums?”
Modeling the front-end of the train after the beak of kingfishers, which dive from the air into bodies of water with very little splash to catch fish, resulted not only in a quieter train, but 15% less electricity use even while the train travels 10% faster.
Have you ever noticed a mosquito bite that seemingly appeared out of nowhere? It turns out that the tip of the mosquito’s mouth is composed of several moving parts that work into skin with the minimum of fuss–and the minimum of pain.
Materials researchers and engineers at Kansai University in Japan saw amazing potential in the structure of the mosquito’s mouth. They used sophisticated engineering techniques that can cut out structures on the nanometer scale.
The result of this blend of materials science and biology was a needle that penetrates like a mosquito, using pressure to stabilize and painlessly glide into the skin. Tests proved it worked flawlessly.
These are few examples which had a huge impact in our world and showed us that when we emulate nature we would be able to achieve extraordinary things.
Nature inspired innovation has earned a US patent
There are considered as super-solar powered, green energy machines commonly known as tree and at fist glance you might see a trunk, branches, leaves; but if you pay attention for long enough you will uncover ingenious designs.
So plants and trees are obviously experts when it comes to capturing sunlight. Trees branch in specific patterns and then the branches branch according to the same pattern. And this creates a canopy of leaves with spiral blue print and this spiral shaped canopy allows the tree to capture sunlight regardless of the Sun’s position in the sky as it moves during the day.
Normally when we make solar panels, we make them as flat static surfaces. But what would happen if we apply trees genius to our designs? In doing so, it almost doubles the efficiency of the solar panels.
This nature- inspired innovation has earned a US patent.He just happens to be 13 years old Aidan Dwyer. This shows that you don’t need to have grey hair to change the future, you just need to use your grey matter.
“I think the biggest innovation of the 21st century will be at the intersection of biology and technology. A new era is beginning.” – Steve Jobs