Let us start with a simple question: If you had a water leak in your house, would you call a recent graduate with no experience or would you call a seasoned expert? I think we would agree that the latter is the most suited to the role. Simply put this is the crux of biomimicry.
Mankind has achieved some great feats during its limited time on Earth but have we really tapped into all the skills that are available to us? Great minds such as Newton and Einstein have shaped the way we see the world but their experience is a mere blink of an eye in the history of our blue planet. Humans have been around for 200,000 years. This may seem like an age ago but in comparison to life in general it was yesterday. 3.5 billion years ago, life on Earth began to flourish, and it is this wealth of knowledge that is perhaps the greatest resource available to modern man. How could we possibly compete with this amount of experience!?
Mankind’s technical know-how and achievements have made our world what is it today, but in the process we have put great strain on our planet’s ability to provide for us. In fact we are quickly raping our home of all that it once was. It is now time to look to nature’s vast experience to better our world. The human brain is a remarkable piece of equipment but it is no match to billions of years of evolution!
Biomimicry is a relatively new field of engineering that looks to take inspiration from nature to create greener, more efficient and ultimately more sustainable answers to a whole host of problems. Here is a list of some of the more well-known inventions that have been inspired by observing the mechanisms that have shaped Life’s success on planet Earth:
1. Velcro Velcro is used the world over as a fastener of a whole host of objects but its birthplace was not in a laboratory, but rather a field in Switzerland. With the help of a dog… In 1941, Swiss engineer George de Mestral examined the cockleburs that had become entangled in his dog’s fur after a walk and discovered the mechanism of tiny hooks. After a few years of research de Mestral patented is ‘velcro’ strips, and the rest is history.
3. Wind Turbines In the search for reusable clean energy sources, wind farms are becoming more and more common place in the world. Despite their clean energy production, they are not overly efficient. One of the big problems is air resistance and drag created by the smooth sails. Humpback whales however can more effortlessly through the water using fins that are lined with tuberculous projections. Studies have shown that these tubercles can reduce drag by up to 35%! This design concept is now being used to increase the efficiency of wind farms and has overwhelming implications in the field of air and water travel.
Blog written by Ben Coley