I just started a course on Biomimicry, it is profoundly important and creates soulful purpose for humanity.
Definetly worth checking out.
The following is an article that was part of the openning weeks lesson plan.
Companies seeking breakthrough products tend to ignore the greatest invention machine in the universe: life’s more than three-billion-year history of evolution by natural selection.
by Amelia Hennighausen and Eric Roston
February 23, 2015, 9:48 AM PST
Article from Bloomberg
Nature as R&D Lab
What’s missing is a systematic way of capturing nature’s creativity, says Janine Benyus, a biologist, “innovation consultant” and author. Engineering practices are fractured, Benyus says. Experts in biomimetics study materials; bionics engineers work on prostheses and mechanics. “There was no umbrella term that encompassed everything from agriculture to business,” she says. And thus no way to systematize innovation. So she launched what she calls a new discipline, biomimicry, the title of her 1997 book. Benyus has worked since then to popularize and organize ad hoc biomimetic practices that are probably as old as human invention. With assistance from Tom Randall.
Photographer: Andreas Reh
After a hunting trip in the Alps in 1941, Swiss engineer George de Mestral’s dog was covered in burdock burrs. Mestral put one under his microscope and discovered a simple design of hooks that nimbly attached to fur and socks. After years of experimentation, he invented Velcro — and earned U.S. Patent 2,717,437 in September 1955. Benyus said it is probably the best-known and most commercially successful instance of biomimicry. Correction: This slide originally stated that the patent was earned in October 1952; that is when it was filed.
Photographers: Scott Camazine; Custom Medical Stock Photo
A Paper House for Wasps
Biomimicry is “innovation inspired by nature,” according to Benyus. Biomimics — engineers, architects and other innovators — are “nature’s apprentices,” she said in a 2009 TED talk. They are driven by the question, “what if every time I started to invent something I asked, ‘How would nature solve this?’” Benyus sees examples of human inventions paralleling nature virtually everywhere. The tissue that wasps make their nests from resemble “fine Italian endpapers.” She told the TED audience of a time she let one grow on her property: “It was so beautifully done. It was so architectural. It was so precise.” Benyus’s consultancy, Biomimicry 3.8, helps companies by searching scientific literature and assembling what she calls “amoeba through zebra” reports that, distilled, offer relevant natural design principles that engineers can work with. The company, a public benefit corporation, is beginning to expand its services beyond design research into engineering and intellectual-property development for corporate clients.
Photographers: Steve Irvine; Atlantide Phototravel/Corbis
Harvesting Desert Fog
The Namibian Beetle raises its back into the air as fog rolls into its desert habitat. Bumps on its shell catch water droplets, which then run down chutes toward its mouth. “The design of this fog-collecting structure can be reproduced cheaply on a commercial scale and may find application in water-trapping tent and building coverings,” wrote the authors of a 2001 paper that revealed how the water collection works. Inventors and designers have taken note. A “Dew Bank Bottle,” designed by Pak Kitae of the Seoul National University of Technology, imitates the beetle’s water-collection system. Morning dew condenses on it and conveys it to a bottle, which has a drinking spout.
Photographers: Michael and Patricia Fogden/Minden Pictures; Coutesy Pak Kitae