Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Three Cheers for Biomimicry!

What, pray tell, is Biomimicry? Well, it's this cool thing scientists, engineers, and even architects are doing. They study things found in nature, and try to use them to design new technologies. Here are some well-known examples straight from Science Daily:
Velcro was inspired by cockleburs, which cling tenaciously to clothing and animal fur. This poor guy probably had to have his head shaved.

Both Leonardo da Vinci and the Wright brothers studied the flight of birds when designing their flying machines.

Sonar was inspired by how whales, dolphins and bats emit high-pitched sounds and analyze the returning echoes to help them navigate.

And now, apparently, scientists are creating robots that mimic cockroaches to traverse deep sand and mud, while others mimic spider crabs and will be able to walk gingerly across loose surfaces like sand and gravel. This is the sort of research that is helping our Curiosity rover wander Mars and collect data for us. It may be the kind of research that will one day help our future vehicles travel the planet without the need for a concrete jungle to drive and park on. We could walk/ride across the miles without the need to pave it. This I like. Though, perhaps the idea of more cockroaches, even if they are robotic...not so much. Make the jump to Science Daily and watch the cool video on this project. 

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