Climate Change, rising global population (which has already exceeded 7 billion, according to the United Nations), global extinction of species on a massive scale, worsening quality of food and rising levels of temperature, pollution, global problems with clean water, melting glaciers, drying rivers…etc… sound like the continuous artillery fire. As intense and frightening as it might be…
And it is not going away.
This is a part of the modern day picture, of the world we live in.
There are solutions…
simply, because we love to fix problems.
The troubles we see and experience, have showed us that the systems of transport, food production, air travel, development of new products based on old schemes, production of toxic fabrics and paints, even shoes with traditional soles that pollute the upper part of the soil, are not good enough any more. We needed to change and develop something new, to save the earth’s ecosystem and to prosper in the same time.
It meant creation of a new fresh industry/ science. It’s name is Biomimicry– “innovation inspired by nature” (also called Biomimetics or Bionics).
Simply put, it is a process of developing new technologies based on the systems developed by nature through 3.8 billion of years of evolution. Observing and adapting the best ideas. How cool is that? Scientists and biologists, designers observe how nature does things. The results of such observations are … already solving some of our major problems and making hundreds of millions of dollars.
1.Velcro (Brand fasteners)
Sales from it today exceeded 100 million dollars…and yes…annually. It all started in 1948, when George de Mestral, a Swiss electrical engineer went with his dog on a hunting trip. The dog came back with his fur full of burrs from burdock plants. They were so well stuck, that it made George thinking…about the mechanism behind it. He analyzed the plant, and discovered the system now known as velcro, that is being used by many of us every day, in our shoes, jackets, even by NASA clothes for the astronauts.
2. Passive Cooling
Termites, (the African insects) build towers to live in. There wouldn’t be much to add to it, if they didn’t learn to maintain a constant temperature inside their homes. They do it by opening and closing vents throughout the structure, to create currents of fresh air. Then hot air can naturally leave the mound through the upper chimneys, while new fresh and cool air is drawn in through the lower parts of the tower. This true innovation was successfully used in the high rise Eastgate Centre building in Harare, Zimbabwe.
3. Displays inspired by Butterflies
One of the nature’s most remarkable developments is the color of butterfly’s wings. Those vivid and pure colors are created by the wings structure that reflects light. Different wavelengths interfere with each other to form what we see as colors. Company called Qualcomm has followed this groundbreaking innovation and created an electronic display screen, that uses nearly no energy.
4. War ships outer surface inspired by the skin of sharks
The car’s shape mimics the highly aerodynamic boxfish. Researchers found the fish to be a “prototype” of a car of the future. Multiple reasons explain their interest: the creature is an outstanding swimmer, maneuverable with minimal effort, even in the most turbulent areas. The secret to the latter is explained by the construction of its outer skin- structure created by the numerous hexagonal plates, that are interlinked to stabilize and protect the fish from injury. Biologists and engineers at Mercedes-Benz studied the creatures aerodynamic qualities and applied them in their concept vehicle called the Bionic Car.
6. Lotus effect-new paints, glass, fabric finishes, that keep dirt away
Extremely water repellent Lotus leaves, have very interesting leaf surface structure. The scientists discovered that it is bumpy, and waxy which explains its superhydrophobic qualities. Dirt particles are easily picked up by water droplets and taken off the surface of the leaf. That means that the leafs are self-cleaning.
7.Mosquito inspired nearly painless needle
Your skin itch when mosquitoes bite, but it only happens when the bloodsucking is over, and because of the bacteria injected by the insect. The bite itself is not felt. It happens due to the insects proboscis. It consists of an “internal tubular labrum” -a tube that transmits the blood from the victims body to the insect, and two outer walls, harpoon-like, that first penetrate the skin, and allow the inner part to enter it without interfering with its nerves. Mechanical engineer Seiji Aoyagi from Osaka Kansai University developed a needle that mimics the system so expertly constructed in the body of the mosquitoes. It is now being used in the hospitals in Japan.
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