Video by permission of TED
If you are a designer, architect, builder, engineer or love design, this a must see video by Janine Benyus, a biologist and author of Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. In this video produced by TED, Janine explains how so many of our design challenges from scale in water pipes to fuel efficient airplanes can be designed based upon what nature has already perfected.
What exactly is Biomimicry?
“Biomimicry (from bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate) is a new science that studies nature’s best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems. Studying a leaf to invent a better solar cell is an example of this “innovation inspired by nature.”
The core idea is that nature, imaginative by necessity, has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with. Animals, plants, and microbes are the consummate engineers. They have found what works, what is appropriate, and most important, what lasts here on Earth. This is the real news of biomimicry: After 3.8 billion years of research and development, failures are fossils, and what surrounds us is the secret to survival,” as explained on the website of the Biomimicry Institute.
According to Janine, some of the pioneers in biomictry are as follows:
“Thomas and Ana Moore and Devins Gust ( University of Arizona) are studying how a leaf captures energy, in hopes of making a molecular-sized solar cell. Their light-sensitive “pentad” mimics a photosynthetic reaction center, creating a tiny, sun-powered battery. J. Herbert Waite ( University of California Santa Barbara) is studying the blue mussel, which attaches itself to rocks via an adhesive that can do what ours can’t-cure and stick underwater. Various teams are attempting to mimic this underwater glue. David Knight and Fritz Vollrath ( Oxford University, Spinox) are mimicking the spider’s sustainable manufacturing process to find a way for humans to manufacture fibers without heat or toxins. Daniel Morse (UC Santa Barbara) has learned to mimic the silica-production process employed by diatoms. This could signal a low-energy, low-toxin route to computer components.” (based upon a conversation with Janine of Biomimcry Institute.)
For more pioneers in this field, click here.
But how does it differ from biology? Janine explains, “Biomimicry introduces an era based not on what we can extract from organisms and their ecosystems, but on what we can learn from them.”
Now that you are hooked on the concept of designing through biomimcry, where do you go to collaberate? Go to AskNature, a free online community collaberation.
“AskNature is a free, open source project, built by the community and for the community. Our goal is to connect innovative minds with life’s best ideas, and in the process, inspire technologies that create conditions conducive to life. To accomplish this, we’re doing something that has never been done—organizing the world’s biological literature by function.”
Get involved in this community to start to solve your own design challenges they way Mother Earth intended.
This video will open your eyes and change the lens in which you see the world.