What Is Biomimicry
Biomimicry offers an empathetic, interconnected understanding of how life works and ultimately where we fit in. It is a practice that learns from and mimics the strategies used by species alive today. The goal is to create products, processes, and policies — new ways of living — that solve our greatest design challenges sustainably and in solidarity with all life on earth. We can use biomimicry to not only learn from nature’s wisdom, but also heal ourselves — and this planet — in the process.
Biomimicry is designing and producing materials, structures, and systems for the modern world that are modeled on designs found in nature which have proven their worth over millennia and are naturally sustainable and regenerative.
Here are some well-known examples of biomimicry; their stories are fascinating and worth googling.
The most famous example is Velcro, which was inspired by the burrs on the inventor’s dog.
A large office building in Africa has a ventilation system modeled after the amazing ventilation system of a termite mound.
A new bird-safe glass has been developed by scientists studying the UV-reflective strands in spider webs, which they found that birds could see and therefore avoid (which explains why you don’t see birds covered in spider webs).
The scientists at Speedo developed swimwear for the 2008 Olympics that was based on the skin of sharks. The sharkskin-like suits were so effective that 98% of the medalists were found to have worn them: the technology is now banned from the Olympics.
A severe noise problem of the original Japanese bullet trains (the shock waves were so severe that tunnels were being damaged) was eliminated when engineers emulated the beak of the kingfisher bird. Kingfishers, it turns out, make no noise when diving into the water to hunt.
Science behind the light of fireflies has vastly improved the light in your LED devices.
Scientists and engineers are fascinated with woodpeckers: how can they sustain so much shock? They have four unique structures in their little heads that do the trick, including a semi-elastic beak. Shock-absorbing products are now being developed based on woodpecker technology.
Sustainable, regenerative eco-products for modern living include products that use the circular systems in nature to recycle waste, such as clothing made from recycled plastic bottles and paper with embedded seeds that can sprout when the paper is discarded.
And a desert beetle
Scientists are working on a bionic leaf that creates hydrogen fuel from sunlight, which will mean cleaner air and less reliance on fossil fuel, and a system for pulling water out of air based on a dime-sized desert beetle.