Sunday Spark: Biomimicry

April 9, 2017
bi·o·mim·ic·ry ˌbīōˈmiməkrē/ noun
 the design and production of materials, structures, and systems that are modeled on biological entities and processes. -Google

Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies.

-Biomimicry Institute

Nature provides the best examples of working processes yet we often engage in our world mindlessly or use brute force methods to problem-solving and innovating. How can we harness and learn from the world around us? Last week, I blogged about the Power of a Question. The question I would ask is, "Has nature found a solution to this problem?" This question opens up a world of action research, and an opportunity to look at the environment in a new way.

Below are some great examples of biomimicry in action. Read more examples here.

VELCRO: George de Mestral invented Velcro after his dog returned covered in burdock burrs. He looked at them under the microscope and noticed hook-like structures, and after years of experimenting, he patented velcro in 1955.

SUPER ADHESIVE: Geckos scale walls and even walk upside down on surfaces using millions of microscopic hairs on their toes. Scientists used this methodology to create an adhesive where an index-card-size strip can hold up to 700 pounds holding promise as a new medical adhesive to replace sutures and staples.

VACCINES - NO REFRIGERATION REQUIRED: Tardigrades, relatives of the arthropod take up to 120 years to dry out after dying. A process called anhydrobiosis protects them. Biomatrica, through an adaptation of anhydrobiosis, realized how to apply this knowledge to live vaccines, preventing the need for refrigeration for up to six months.

 Resources for educators:

Look through the lens of curiosity

 

Sources:

Hennighausen, Amelia, and Eric Roston. "14 Smart Inventions Inspired by Nature: Biomimicry." Bloomberg.com. Bloomberg, 23 Feb. 2015. Web. 08 Apr. 2017.

"What Is Biomimicry? – Biomimicry Institute." Biomimicry Institute. Web. 08 Apr. 2017.

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