Be a Natural Born Copycat
Ape a green leaf to harness solar energy in just the right way..
Nature has always inspired humans beings to create new kinds of technologies. Look around and you will be surprised to find the number of bio-mimetic (copy of nature) technologies around us. A soaring vulture perhaps caught the attention of the Wright Brothers. Barbs on weeds led to the Velcro-perhaps the most well-known biomimetic invention. The design of the human tongue and ear drum led to the Telephone speaker and receiver — Bell's original design was biomimetic too.
No one can be a better engineer than Nature itself. After all ‘life’ has been on the job for over 3.8 billion years, evolving the best possible solutions. This living laboratory knows what works and what lasts on earth. Nature does not know the concept of waste. It is surprisingly efficient in its use of materials and resources. It is humans who create waste and pollution. Bioengineering has been defined as any area of biology mixed with any area of engineering in any proportion! What does a bio-engineer do? He/She designs, fabricates and tests all kinds of devices — artificial, biological or a hybrid of the two.
Classic bio-engineering activities include Bioinstrumentation (hospital equipment); Biomechanics (crash test dummies, artificial hips); Biosignal Processing (ECG, functional brain mapping); Biomaterials (implantable pacemakers); Neural Engineering (biosensors, neuroprosthetics); Cell & Tissue Engineering (artificial skin); BioMEMS (implantable drug delivery devices). A fascinating new field of bioengineering is now emerging.
As we consume more and more natural resources — endangering the ecosystems on earth — we need to get creative like nature and learn from it. Writes Beynus in the book ‘Biomimicry — Inspired by Nature’, “Mimicking these designs and strategies — their recipes — could change the way we grow food, harness solar energy, run businesses, even the way we make materials.” What better way to harness solar energy than how a humble green leaf does it.
Baynus lists some inspiring ideas from nature which could yield fascinating results in the future, Rhinoceros horn — Self-healing material-that is both compressively and laterally strong — a new fender for your car? Dolphin and shark skin — Submarines-Hull material that deforms slightly to shrug off water pressure.
Same with airplanes and air pressure. What about a Permaculture-design of edible landscapes using three-ormore- story cropping — just like in a natural forest?Or what about constructing an artificial marsh or wetland to treat and recycle waste water?
Nature does not know the concept of waste. It is surprisingly efficient in its use of materials and resources. It is humans who create waste and pollution.