"You can learn a lot from an armadillo. That’s what we found, despite watching new products and packaging launch every day, some with thousands of hours invested in research and development, many with significant sustainability improvements."
"There’s an entire industry built around how to be a better leader and build strong, dynamic teams. But for the last few years, my colleague and dear friend Jane Fulton Suri and I have been looking to the earth and seas and sky for inspiration. A Partner, Chief Creative Officer, and a founding member of IDEO’s human-centered design practice, Jane believes that the natural world has much to teach us about cultivating the optimal conditions for creative teams. Together, with help from design biologist Tim McGee, we’ve come up with a few bio-inspired tips."
"US engineers have created the "most waterproof material ever" - inspired by nasturtium leaves and butterfly wings. The new "super-hydrophobic" surface could keep clothes dry and stop aircraft engines icing over, they say."
"[...] people are also starting to look to nature not just for technical assistance, but for system-wide strategic solutions. Whether it is working out the best strategy to deal with economic recessions or contemplating the best way to lay out a new town, problem solvers are looking to nature for deeper insights. And little wonder. Over millions of years nature has managed thousands of interrelated components and living systems that collaborate to deliver a sustainable and self-generating system that benefit all its members. It is the way that nature organises itself to deal with this complexity that is the key for a new way of thinking about our problems according to Tim Winton, the founder of Pattern Dynamics. “Biomimicry takes the tactics of nature to make actual physical mechanisms, but Pattern Dynamics uses the patterns in nature to develop high level principles that can be used to build generative strategies,” he said."
"Entomologists study insects known for their hard exoskeletons, jointed appendages, segmented bodies, bilateral symmetry and antennae. But perhaps the most impressive part of an insect is its lateral compound eyes. Scientists wishing to study insects have over 1 million species to select from!
Insect eyes are so impressive scientist and researcher John Rogers of the Science Research Group at Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois, is designing miniature drones cameras based on their unique design. The big challenge for engineers is to build a drone camera with a 180° range of vision and clear vision throughout that line of sight. Insects have this ability when born."
"In the field on controlling liquid movement on surfaces, super water-repellent surfaces have been well-documented. In contrast, comparatively fewer reports are available on the design of water pinning surfaces."
"New research conducted by marine biologists reveals that the mantis shrimp Haptosquilla trispinosa uses a unique color vision system. [...] «Modern cameras struggle with the amount of data they take in due to increased pixel numbers. Maybe there is a more efficient way and the bio-inspiration provided by the shrimp could be the answer», Ms Thoen [lead author of study] concluded."
"Insects don’t have the capacity to reason, and yet some are capable of building complex structures and executing complex foraging expeditions with no central organizing. That’s why researchers recently sent ants to the International Space Station and will observe how the change in gravity affects the ants’ ability to organize. At Harvard, scientists are taking their inspiration from termites, which can spend generations building mounds that stretch multiple feet into the air. On Thursday, a research team revealed a crew of iPad-sized robots that can build structures with no input from a central leader."
"In 1991, the multinational Old Mutual investment group approached the Zimbabwean architect Mick Pearce with an audacious assignment. The group wished to construct a retail and office complex called the Eastgate Centre in Zimbabwe’s capital city of Harare that, at 55,000 square meters, would be the country’s largest commercial building. What Old Mutual didn’t wish to do was pay the high cost of air-conditioning such a massive space. Could Pearce, working with the Arup construction firm, devise a design that relied solely on passive, natural climate control? Pondering the problem, Pearce found inspiration in the termite mounds that dotted the savannas across his country. "
"Rene Binet, a French architect and artist, created the entrance for the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900. Binet modeled that main entrance after an illustration of Clathrocanium reginae by Ernst Haeckel. When you consider that this microscopic sea fauna, a Radiolarian, inspired a structure that used about 192 tonnes of metal and cost about 676,000 French fr., you may want to view Rene Binet’s and Ernst Haeckel’s illustrations to see how they might be of inspiration to you.."
"A team of Harvard engineers are developing a way of producing color that could produce paint that never fades, and displays that never go dark. Believe it or not, the method is based on bird feathers, which last centuries without losing their bright hues. [...] Bird feathers stay bright because their feathers contain nanostructures that amplify specific wavelengths of light. It's called structural color. Basically, the feathers' cells contain a series of tiny pores spaced in such a way that they only reflect, for instance, shades of red."
"Designer Massoud Hassani hails from Qasaba, Kabul, amid a landscape ravaged and weaponized by landmines that still lurk in off-limits regions. Although the "Mine Kafon" dates back to 2011, when he presented it as his graduation project at Design Academy Eindhoven, the lo-fi de-miner was recently the subject of a short film by Focus Forward Films. Like Theo Janssen's Strandbeests, the Mine Kafon moves with the wind; however, it's more like a tumbleweed or a clump of dandelion seeds than zephyr-powered locomotion."
"The Morpho is a jewel among butterflies, with its gracefully contoured, iridescent blue wings flashing in the breeze. Familiar from the cover of Illustra's film Metamorphosis, this species exhibits additional intelligent designs the film didn't have time to discuss. Their brilliant color comes not from pigments but from precisely aligned structures in the wing scales that play tricks with light, producing what physicists call "structural color." Certain colors are canceled out, and others reinforced, by the arrangement of "photonic crystals" that resemble tiny trees made of biomolecule chitin. Engineers have already mimicked the iridescence by creating photonic crystals of their own. But there's more. The structures on Morpho butterfly wings also absorb heat, repel water, and control the flow of vapors. The Morpho is a treasure house of design ideas for biomimetics projects, as research news from the University of Exeter reveals. From fabrics to cosmetics to sensors, all kinds of innovations are being inspired by this one genus of butterfly."
"Nature’s inventiveness often inspires human innovation as in the well-known case of hook-and-loop fasteners: Swiss engineer George de Mestrel turned a hiking annoyance (burrs) into a handy tool (Velcro). But did you know that safety road markers were inspired by a cat’s eyes reflecting headlights. [...] “Eyeshine” may be most familiar as a feline phenomenon, but it occurs in a tremendous variety of animals, from moths to whales. It’s caused by the tapetum lucidum, a reflective layer behind the photosensitive part of the eye which bounces photons back, giving them a second chance to be seen. This ability is a major advantage at night and in the deep sea and has evolved many times in many different forms."
"Human body armor has come a long way since the steel-plated suits of the Middle Ages, but protective animal structures — such as some shells and scales — still beat the most sophisticated man-made gear in terms of mobility and rigidity. Researchers at MIT are now using3D printing to bring humans up to speed with their animal kin by studying some of the sturdiest forms of animal armor, particularly fish scales, to design gear that matches the flexibility, comfort and durability found in the natural world."
"StartupNectar enables early-stage, biomimicry-based ventures to access resources and gain traction in the marketplace. The incubation model is informed by nature’s strategies for creating conditions conducive to life".
"A composite aluminum announced in a new study this week borrows its structure from the Asian pomelo. When you´re trying remove them to reach the tastiness within, the peels of citrus fruits are a waxy annoyance. This is especially true of the pomelo, a type of Asian grapefruit. But while this thick peel thwarts hungry humans, it lets the pomelo take a pummeling. A 4-pound fruit can fall 30 feet and land without splitting open because its peel has a composite structure that absorbs the impact. And now, that fruit has inspired a new kind of metal."
"In the ongoing drive to create and communicate about sustainability in the emerging economy, it can be useful to conceive of sustainability not as a quantifiable end goal, but as an emergent property. [...] We could learn a thing or two from the collective creatures, the super-organisms, for whom emergence is no big deal —or whom sustainability is given, understood and inevitable."
"The mystery of why so many birds fly in a V formation may have been solved. Scientists from the Royal Veterinary College fitted data loggers to a flock of rare birds that were being trained to migrate by following a microlight. This revealed that the birds flew in the optimal position - gaining lift from the bird in front by remaining close to its wingtip. The study, published in the journal Nature, also showed that the birds timed their wing beats."
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.
Scientists report advances toward perfecting a functional artificial leaf. Designing an artificial leaf that uses solar energy to convert water cheaply and efficiently into hydrogen and oxygen is an important goal. Hydrogen is an important fuel in itself and serves as an indispensible reagent for the production of light hydrocarbon fuels from heavy petroleum feed stocks. Society requires a renewable source of fuel that is widely distributed, abundant, inexpensive and environmentally clean. Society needs cheap hydrogen.
"Natural hierarchical systems share some common traits that are worthy of emulation: They use a few components (like keratin) to make a wide array of different structures in controlled orientations with durable interfaces between different materials. They are dependent or sensitive to water and produced with benign chemistry. Their properties and performances can vary in response to the environment. These complex, controlled shapes are resilient and often are able to repair themselves."
"Based on friction tests of surfaces mimicking the textures evolved on frog, cricket and salamander feet, Technion scientists innovate a way to significantly improve the shaving process. Technion scientists discovered a way to significantly improve shaving process, following friction tests of surfaces mimicking the textures evolved on frog, cricket and salamander feet."
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