How Modern Technology is Inspired by the Natural World
What do a kingfisher, cockle bur pods and a Namibian beetle have in common? Besides being living organisms, they have all served as inspiration for creative human technologies to solve challenging problems.
The kingfisher’s sleek beak spurred the streamlined nose design on high-speed trains in Japan. Cockle burs inspired the hook-and-loop fastener system Velcro. And the Namibian beetle’s back inspired a water-collection plant in the desert.
This is biomimicry. It is an approach to innovation, defined by the Biomimicry Institute as seeking: “sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies.” There are many solutions in nature — and we are learning about more and more of them.
Biomimicry has helped people design solutions that otherwise would likely not have explored. Inspiration has come from organisms themselves, how organisms make materials and how organisms work together. For example, based on structures observed on plant leaves, we have grown ceramic coatings at room temperature to make oil and water filters on paper and on copper mesh.
Photography by: NatureConservation
Article by: Theconservation