Biomimicry: Design Ideas from Nature

This excellent video from the TED Talks website deals with biomimicry, the concept of getting engineering inspiration from the natural world.

From the abstract: With 3.8 billion years of research and development on its side, nature has already solved problems that human designers and engineers still struggle with.

In this inspiring talk, Janine Benyus provides fascinating examples of biomimicry — the way humans mimic nature in the products we build and the systems we implement. And because the champion adapters in the natural world are, by definition, those that can survive without destroying the environment that sustains them, biomimicry can contribute to the long-term health of our planet.

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2 responses to “Biomimicry: Design Ideas from Nature

  1. Here’s a great example of biomimicry from Technology Review, in which the microscopic structure of mother-of-pearl becomes the model for a new nanomaterial that is stronger and lighter than the metals it replaces. Read “Strong, Light, and Stretchy Materials” for more details.

  2. Here’s another one from Technology Review. Scientists have long suspected that the bumps on a humpback whale’s flippers give them their great agility and provide some sort of hydrodynamic advantage. Engineers at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have recently tested this theory in a wind tunnel, and found that bumps on the leading edges of wings can increase critical angle-of-attack (the angle at which the wing stalls and loses lift) by as much as forty percent!

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