Biomimicry
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Biomimicry
Nature inspired innovation
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Silvery Hairs Turn Ants into Walking Mirrors

Silvery Hairs Turn Ants into Walking Mirrors | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

One ant species in the Sahara Desert is covered by a silvery sheen of body hair that acts as a wearable sun shield for the creatures, a new study finds. The silvery hairs completely reflect the light like mirrors, preventing the ants from absorbing too much heat. That may help to explain how the Saharan silver ants can stay cool when temperatures in the arid region reach a blistering 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsisus).

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Using Saharan Silver Ants as an Inspiration for Surface Cooling Coatings

Using Saharan Silver Ants as an Inspiration for Surface Cooling Coatings | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Yu’s team is the first to demonstrate that the [Saharan silver] ants use a coat of uniquely shaped hairs to control electromagnetic waves over an extremely broad range from the solar spectrum (visible and near-infrared) to the thermal radiation spectrum (mid-infrared), and that different physical mechanisms are used in different spectral bands to realize the same biological function of reducing body temperature. [,,,] Their discovery that there is a biological solution to a thermoregulatory problem could lead to the development of novel flat optical components that exhibit optimal cooling." 

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The Remarkable Self-organization of Ants

The Remarkable Self-organization of Ants | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Give a colony of garden ants a week and a pile of dirt, and they'll transform it into an underground edifice about the height of a skyscraper in an ant-scaled city. Without a blueprint or a leader, thousands of insects moving specks of dirt create a complex, spongelike structure with parallel levels connected by a network of tunnels. [...] Knowing the rules behind ant-made structures could help scientists understand how other complex systems emerge in nature."

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Why Organizations Should Embrace Randomness Like Ant Colonies

Why Organizations Should Embrace Randomness Like Ant Colonies | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Consider the common ant. Each one is by genetic design capable of only a few simple behaviors and binary choices, making it a pretty dumb, rigid, inflexible being. Yet the collective behavior of an ant colony is adaptive, flexible and even creative; it’s a highly structured social organization. Now consider your average human. Most of us are individually adaptive, flexible and very creative. Yet the large organizations in which we work are often inflexible and incapable of adaptation and true innovation. Why are ant colonies so much better than the sum of their parts, while governments and companies are so often much worse?"

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Army Ants Act Like Algorithms to Make Deliveries More Efficient

Army Ants Act Like Algorithms to Make Deliveries More Efficient | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"To optimize its delivery drones, maybe Amazon could take inspiration from the actual Amazon. Army ants in Central and South America aggressively seek out the shortest path over the forest floor to bring home enough food and ensure the future of their colony. This focus on efficiency led the insects to develop a clever trick: They link their bodies together to fill potholes and build living bridges. As more ants join in, the bridges shift locations to span larger and larger gaps, shortening the path ants have to take when carrying food back to the nest. But because each brick in the bridge is also a lost forager, the ants reach a point where a slightly better shortcut just isn’t worth the cost, according to new analysis of this insect construction work."

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Festo's Fantastical Insectoid Robots Include Bionic Ants and Butterflies

Festo's Fantastical Insectoid Robots Include Bionic Ants and Butterflies | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"The German automation giant unleashes a swarm of new robotic insects. [...] The theme of Festo’s “Bionic Learning Network” program this year is “Join the Network,” and their flagship projects are both based around swarms of small robots that mimic the way insects work together and interact with each other."

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With Their Amazing Necks, Ants Don't Need 'High Hopes' to do Heavy Lifting

With Their Amazing Necks, Ants Don't Need 'High Hopes' to do Heavy Lifting | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
Researchers have discovered that the neck joint of a common American field ant can withstand astounding pressures. Similar joints might enable future robots to mimic the ant’s weight-lifting ability on earth and in space.
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Biomimicry: Ant Movements Inspire Tunnel-digging Robots

Biomimicry: Ant Movements Inspire Tunnel-digging Robots | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Biomimicry is a great tool to solve problems. Rather than reinvent the wheel, we can often look at the solutions that nature has come up with over millions of years of trials & errors. For example, the study of how ants can so quickly move underground and dig relatively stable tunnels in all kinds of soil can teach scientists and engineers a lot, some of which might be quite useful to make robots that could do search & rescue missions or explore hard to access corners of the Earth (equipped with the proper sensors, they could be used for all kinds of environmental monitoring jobs)."

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