What is biomimicry? It’s taking inspiration from nature to innovate effective technologies across a whole range of human activities. Bio (life) and mimicry (imitating) is the study of nature’s design principles. “Doing it nature’s way” has the potential to improve how we grow food, make materials, harness energy, heal ourselves, store information, and conduct business. In a biomimetic world, we would manufacture the way animals and plants do, using sun and simple compounds for production. Biomimicry is based on what works in the natural world, and more importantly, what is sustainable. After 3.8 billion years of research and development, failures become fossils --and what surrounds us is the secret to survival. Engineers and scientists who study nature’s successes and failures have found ways to create technologies that often work better than what we might attempt to design from scratch ourselves. For example, Japan's Shinkansen streamlined bullet trains are modeled on a kingfisher's beak! And the scales on butterfly wings have provided inspiration for solar panel construction. Through examining nature's designs, patterns and strategies, we can find lasting solutions to technical and design problems. Beyond its purely pragmatic uses, biomimicry’s respect for the natural environment nurtures a deep connection between humans and nature.
Originally presented December 8, 2021
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