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Beauty Inspired By Nature

Beauty Inspired By Nature | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

People often ask me for examples of ‘businesses inspired by nature’. While there are many examples of organisations with aspects of applied nature’s inspiration, for example: InterfaceFLOR taking inspiration from nature for product design, Marks & Spencer taking inspiration from nature for process design (industrial ecology), and HOK taking inspiration from nature for place/structural design (architecture); the current reality is that there are few examples of organisations working in harmony with nature and applying nature’s inspiration to all aspects of the organisation (purpose, people, process, product & place). Fortunately, the appetite in businesses (corporate and non-corporate) for embracing nature’s inspiration at all levels is growing as organisations increasingly realise the benefits of transforming to models and mind-sets more in harmony with life on Earth.

 

Photo details: Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta. Copyright © 2009, Alan D. Wilson. http://www.naturespicsonline.com

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New Bioinspired Innovation Case Study: Efficient Heat Transfer in Manufacturing

New Bioinspired Innovation Case Study: Efficient Heat Transfer in Manufacturing | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
Like all injection molding processes, HARBEC heats solid plastic until it liquefies, presses the molten plastic into the cavity of a mold, and waits for the part to cool before ejecting it. This series of steps—melt, press, cool, eject—is called a cycle. When thousands or even millions of parts are being manufactured for a customer, the duration of each cycle is critical, and HARBEC knew that the cooling step was adding up to significant time and energy costs.

The project focused on the challenge of decreasing the time and energy spent during the cooling phase of the injection molding process. Turning to the many cooling systems in nature for inspiration, Terrapin worked with HARBEC’s engineering and manufacturing teams as well as topical experts from our network to innovate on current designs. After abstracting the underlying principles of the fluid-carrying channels in certain leaves, the project team combined these insights with the capabilities of additive manufacturing. The result is a design that reduces the time and energy used by more than 20% compared to conventional solutions. Read the case study for the full account of how we unlocked these significant energy and time savings!
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Spider Silk: Nature's Bio-superlens

Spider Silk: Nature's Bio-superlens | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Extending the limit of the classical microscope's resolution has been the holy grail of microscopy for over a century. Physical laws of light make it impossible to view objects smaller than 200nm – the smallest size of bacteria – using a normal microscope alone. However, superlenses that enable us to see beyond the current magnification have been the goal since the turn of the millennium.
After a team at Bangor University's School of Electronic Engineering used a nanobead-derived superlens to break the perceived resolution barrier, the same team has achieved another world first. The team, led by Dr Zengbo Wang, and in colloboration with Professor Fritz Vollrath's silk group at Oxford University's Department of Zoology, has used a naturally occurring material – dragline silk of the golden web spider – as an additional superlens, applied to the surface of the material to be viewed, that provides an additional 2-3 times magnification. This is the first time that a naturally occurring biological material has been used as a superlens."

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NASA, Coating Technology, and the Lotus Leaf Phenomenon

NASA, Coating Technology, and the Lotus Leaf Phenomenon | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"It only takes a brief journey down a B road during the summer months to end up with a car looking like it has driven through a plague of insects. Amplify this effect by the power of a space shuttle wingspan and bug remnants can result in a significant increase in drag. The problem is that when an insect hits an aircraft at speed its mass ruptures and undergoes some chemical changes which make it stickier. Flying through a swarm of insects leads to an accumulation of debris on the leading edge of wings which creates drag and increases fuel consumption. NASA researchers, in collaboration with engineers at Langley and Boeing, studied the microscopically-rough texture of lotus leaves in order to understand how the surface is so effective at repelling dirt, dust and water."

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Biomimicry Approach to Cleaning Future Oil Spills - 'Nanofur' Material is Superhydrophobic and Superoleophilic

Biomimicry Approach to Cleaning Future Oil Spills - 'Nanofur' Material is Superhydrophobic and Superoleophilic | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Some water ferns can absorb large volumes of oil within a short time, because their leaves are strongly water-repellent and, at the same time, highly oil-absorbing. Researchers of KIT, together with colleagues of Bonn University, have found tha the oil-binding capacity of the water plant results from the hairy microstructure of its leaves. It is now used as a model to further develop the new Nanofur material for the environmentally friendly cleanup of oil spills."

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Marcelo Errera's curator insight, September 2, 7:19 PM
That is a very interesting breakthrough. Let's see the applications that will emerge.
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New "Bionic" Leaf Is Roughly 10 Times More Efficient Than Natural Photosynthesis

New "Bionic" Leaf Is Roughly 10 Times More Efficient Than Natural Photosynthesis | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
A tree's leaf, a blade of grass, a single algal cell: all make fuel from the simple combination of water, sunlight and carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. Now scientists say they have replicated—and improved on—that trick with their own “bionic leaf.”
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Geckos, The Superstars of Bioinspired Adhesion

Geckos, The Superstars of Bioinspired Adhesion | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
Photo details: Tokay gecko by Aparajita Datta (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Miguel Prazeres's insight:
When it comes to adhesion, the gecko is the superstar of bioinspiration. Check out the fantastic examples in this collection of scoops (click on photo).
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Venus Flytrap Inspires New Material That Snaps Back into Shape

Venus Flytrap Inspires New Material That Snaps Back into Shape | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
Scientists in China have designed a smart material that rapidly switches from one shape to anotherjust like a Venus flytrap plant snaps close when trapping prey.
Inspired by carnivorous plant’s movement, researchers have been designing polymers that rapidly change shape in response to external stimuli. However, the snapping process is usually irreversible, which has so far limited the materials’ practical potential.
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Hummingbirds’ Unique Way of Seeing Prevents Them From Crashing

Hummingbirds’ Unique Way of Seeing Prevents Them From Crashing | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Hummingbirds have a unique collision avoidance system built into their brains that allows them to perform high-speed aerobatics in safety. The super-agile birds, whose wings beat up to 70 times a second, can hover, fly backwards, and whizz through dense vegetation at more than 50 kilometres per hour. How they manage to avoid potentially fatal crashes has remained a mystery until now. Researchers in Canada conducted a series of experiments which showed that the birds process visual information differently from other animals. As they dart and dive at speed, they judge distance from the way looming objects appear to get bigger, and vice versa."

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Robotic Stingray Powered by Light-Activated Muscle Cells

Robotic Stingray Powered by Light-Activated Muscle Cells | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
Kevin Kit Parker wants to build a human heart. His young daughter loves the New England Aquarium in Boston. In this Science report, father’s and daughter’s obsessions have combined in an unlikely creation: a nickel-sized artificial stingray whose swimming is guided by light and powered by rat heart muscle cells. 
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Coconuts Can Inspire Us to Make Stronger Buildings

Coconuts Can Inspire Us to Make Stronger Buildings | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Coconut palms can grow as high as 30m, and when the ripe fruits fall to the ground their walls must protect them from splitting open. To protect the internal seed, coconuts have a structure of three layers which allow them to withstand heavy impacts. The university’s Plant Biomechanics Group believes this specialised structure could be applied in architecture, and has been working with civil engineers and material scientists to develop this idea as part of a programme called Biological Design and Integrative Structures. [...] The group found that the ladder-like design of vessels in the coconut’s inner endocarp layer “dissipates energy via crack deflection," meaning newly-developed cracks created by an impact don't run directly through the hard shell, but are diverted and stop before the crack separates the fruit. "

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Getting a Grip on Mussel Adhesion

Getting a Grip on Mussel Adhesion | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
The Asian green mussel (Perna viridis) anchors itself underwater by timed secretion of adhesive proteins from threadlike foot extensions, a team of researchers in Singapore finds1.

Lab experiments and computer simulations reveal that an especially long sticky protein acts as a primer — first catching the surface and repelling water molecules to make way for two proteins that form the final adhesive pad.

The discovery could lead to new submersible glues or improved paints to prevent biofouling on ship hulls and drilling platforms.
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Researchers Uncover the Secret Behind Ivy’s Natural Adhesive

Researchers Uncover the Secret Behind Ivy’s Natural Adhesive | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Charles Darwin was the first to observe that Ivy exudes a liquid adhesive that helps it to cling to surfaces. Now researchers at Ohio State University have identified the protein that allows Ivy to stick. Nanospherical arabinogalactan proteins (AGPs) allow Ivy’s adhesive to enter nanoscale openings rather than just coating surfaces. Curing takes place due to calcium-driven electrostatic interactions among carboxyl groups of the AGPs and pectic acids. As water evaporates from the adhesive, chemical bonds are formed between adhesive and substrate. The researchers say that their discovery opens up the possibility of applying its findings to the development of adhesives for a wide range of applications ranging from medical adhesives to coatings and even cosmetics."

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Novel 4D Printing Method Blossoms From Botanical Inspiration

Novel 4D Printing Method Blossoms From Botanical Inspiration | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"A team of scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has evolved their microscale 3D printing technology to the fourth dimension, time. Inspired by natural structures like plants, which respond and change their form over time according to environmental stimuli, the team has unveiled 4D-printed hydrogel composite structures that change shape upon immersion in water."

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Insect-Wing-Inspired Design Wins Moscow Circus School Competition

Insect-Wing-Inspired Design Wins Moscow Circus School Competition | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"The team of architects Maryan Fazel and Belinda Ercan, from Iran and Germany, respectively, have won first prize in the competition for the design of the Moscow Circus School launched by the Architectural Competition Concours d’Architecture (AC-CA). 
The winning proposal, entitled Elytra, is an “eye-catching, cutting-edge, [and] unconventional” design that will tower over Moscow’s Tverskoy District, an area which features a burgeoning artistic scene. Inspired by the forewings of insects—called elytra—the project opens upwards as a protective shell, and will feature both public and private space."

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Sound-Proof Metamaterial Inspired by Spider Webs

Sound-Proof Metamaterial Inspired by Spider Webs | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Spider silk is well-known for its unusual combination of being both lightweight and extremely strong—in some cases, stronger than steel. Due to these properties, researchers have been developing spider-silk-inspired materials for potential applications such as durable yet lightweight clothing, bullet-proof vests, and parachutes. But so far, the acoustic properties of spider webs have not yet been explored. Now in a new study, a team of researchers from Italy, France and the UK has designed an acoustic metamaterial (which is a material made of periodically repeating structures) influenced by the intricate spider web architecture of the golden silk orb-weaver, also called the Nephila spider."


Photo details: An orb-weaving spider (Nephila clavipes), by Ianaré Sévi [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

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Insects are Helping us Develop the Future of Hearing Aids

Insects are Helping us Develop the Future of Hearing Aids | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"Spend a summer in the countryside in a warm climate and you’ll likely hear crickets chirping, males of the species “singing” in an attempt to attract a female. What’s surprising is how small the creatures are given the very high sound levels they produce. Could studying crickets allow us to learn something about how to design a small speaker that is also loud, just as you need for a hearing aid?"

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Bee-Inspired Algorithm Helps Delivery Companies Plan The Most Efficient Route

Bee-Inspired Algorithm Helps Delivery Companies Plan The Most Efficient Route | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"For a delivery truck making rounds, minor tweaks in a route can save huge amounts of time and gas. That's why UPS spent a decade and hundreds of millions of dollars building an algorithm to help calculate where trucks should turn. A startup called Routific designed an algorithm to help everyone else—like local flower delivery companies—also save fuel.  To help find the best routes, they took inspiration from bees. Their algorithm is based on the "bees algorithm," which describes how bees find the best route to flowers. Scout bees fly long distances in random directions, and if they find food, they fly back and buzz around in the so-called "waggle dance" to notify everyone else. When others go to the same location, they'll come back and waggle even harder if they find a better spot."



Photo details: Apis mellifera by Muhammad Mahdi Karim (www.micro2macro.net) Facebook Youtube), GFDL 1.2, via Wikimedia Commons

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Strain-induced Color Changes in Biomimetic Materials

Strain-induced Color Changes in Biomimetic Materials | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
Taking a clue from jellyfish and squids that quickly alter their appearance via muscle-controlled morphology changes in their bodies’ surface structures, researchers have designed polymeric materials that change appearance reversibly in response to mechanically induced folds and deformations
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IBM Scientists Imitate the Functionality of Neurons With a Phase-change Device

IBM Scientists Imitate the Functionality of Neurons With a Phase-change Device | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"IBM scientists have created randomly spiking neurons using phase-change materials to store and process data. This demonstration marks a significant step forward in the development of energy-efficient, ultra-dense integrated neuromorphic technologies for applications in cognitive computing. Inspired by the way the biological brain functions, scientists have theorized for decades that it should be possible to imitate the versatile computational capabilities of large populations of neurons. However, doing so at densities and with a power budget that would be comparable to those seen in biology has been a significant challenge, until now."

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Scientists Have Created Self-Healing Fabrics that Also Protect from Harmful Chemicals

Scientists Have Created Self-Healing Fabrics that Also Protect from Harmful Chemicals | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

2Protective clothing is critical to the health and safety of workers who handle hazardous chemicals. A new fabric coating promises to not only neutralize toxins, but also to heal tears and holes on its own while the clothes go through the laundry. The coating, developed by a team of researchers from Penn State and Drexel University, is derived from proteins that make up the rings of teeth on squid suckers."

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Mudskipper Robot Gives Us a Lesson in Locomotion

Mudskipper Robot Gives Us a Lesson in Locomotion | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
The mudskipper is a fascinating animal, in that it's a fish that both swims in the water and crawls on the land. It's probably not unlike the prehistoric fishes that first ventured out of the ocean, hundreds of millions of years ago. Looking at it, you might think that its two pectoral fins do all the work when it's out of the water, while its tail just flaps around. By building a robotic version of the mudskipper, however, scientists have learned that its tail plays a crucial role while it's on the land – the finding could have implications for the design of walking robots.
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DNA Could Be The Perfect Place to Store Our Data

DNA Could Be The Perfect Place to Store Our Data | Biomimicry | Scoop.it

"It looks like a test tube with dried salt at the bottom, but Microsoft says it could be the future of data storage. The company reported today that it had written roughly 200 megabytes of data, including War and Peace and 99 other literary classics, into DNA. Researchers have demonstrated that digital data can be stored in DNA before, but Microsoft says none have written so much of it into DNA at once. DNA is a good storage medium because data can be written into molecules more densely than the basic elements of conventional storage technologies can pack it in companies rely on today."

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Scientists Just Figured Out How This Bird Can Fly For Months Without Landing

Scientists Just Figured Out How This Bird Can Fly For Months Without Landing | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
Plenty of birds fly vast distances on their migratory trips around planet Earth. But the most amazing of all might the frigate bird, which can stay aloft for two months straight without landing or resting. How the heck do they do that?

A team of biologists led by Henri Weimerskirch at the French National Center for Scientific Research just announced the results of a major new study on great frigates (Fregata minor), these fascinating seabirds native to the central Indian and Pacific Oceans. Using super-lightweight GPS trackers, the biologists followed four dozen birds from 2011 to 2015, some for up to two years continuously. What they found was astonishing. The birds could stay aloft for up to 56 days without landing, gliding for hundreds of miles per day with wing-flaps just every 6 minutes, and reaching altitude of more than 2.5 miles.
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Marcelo Errera's curator insight, July 4, 3:19 PM
A design that evolved together with a flight plan. Evolution is simultaneous for all traits.
In order to move mass over the Earth surface, i.e., to make energy flow, systems evolved in order to reduce the exergy expenditure.
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The Jelly Inside a Shark's Nose is More Electrically Sensitive Than Any Man Made Material on Earth

The Jelly Inside a Shark's Nose is More Electrically Sensitive Than Any Man Made Material on Earth | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
A biological material that has existed for millions of years may find new applications in modern electronics. A team of scientists from UC Santa Cruz, the University of Washington, and the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason discovered that shark “jelly” is the highest proton conductive biological substance ever found, according to GizMag. In plain English, that means the material is extremely good at detecting weak electrical signals from great distances away — something that scientists and engineers believe could be useful in future sensor design.
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Spider Silk Inspires Creation of ‘Liquid Wire’

Spider Silk Inspires Creation of ‘Liquid Wire’ | Biomimicry | Scoop.it
Scientists have discovered a previously unknown property of spider silk, and used it to create a remarkable new “hybrid” material. The new bio-inspired thread, which acts like both a solid and a liquid, could lead to a host of new materials and technologies.
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