Futurology

Biomimicry: 4 Billions years worth of research

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For centuries, humanity has regarded itself as a species apart from nature, progressing into a future of its own design. We are now facing an emerging global crisis linked to resource scarcity, climate change, and other potential threats.

What if there were a better approach to achieve efficiency? There is, and it is called “biomimicry.” It might seem like it would take decades of research and development to come up with more sustainable solutions in agriculture, engineering, medicine, and other fields. But actually, those solutions are already available, just waiting to be discovered.

Billions of years ago, organisms on our planet have found ways to survive and thrive as part of a healthy and diverse ecosystem. All we need to do is to replicate and learn from nature itself. That is what Biomimicry is all about.

What is Biomimicry

To understand Biomimicry first, we need to understand the history of this planet. Biomimicry also called “biomimetics” is an approach to research and development where we turn to nature for inspiration. By replicating the existing current ecosystem that has survived the process of natural selection to thrive in our world, we can create technological solutions that allow us to thrive in turn.

A Sustainable Path Forward

Here a few reasons why emulating living systems and models is beneficial:

  • Living systems have been a subject to rigorous testing. Systems that have survived natural selection have been tested again and. If they work for the species that employ them, they can do for us too when we adapt the functions to our needs.
  • We save time and resources by leveraging nature’s R&D. There is no need to spend years or even decades developing that which nature has already perfected. These solutions can bring rapid improvement to our lives.
  • Biomimicry provides us with elegant, beautiful, robust solutions. Nature tends toward efficiency. As a result, structures and technologies patterned off of natural systems tend to be simple, powerful, and sustainable.
  • Technology developed using Biomimicry can help us restore the earth. Instead of creating further damage, we can start reversing it. With that, we able help to ensure the future of our species and our world.
  • Through Biomimicry, we can discover our true niche in our ecology. It is time for us to assume the mantle of stewardship and to adjust our beliefs about our place in the universe.

Innovations Based on Biomimicry

Biomimicry is revolutionizing medicine, transportation, agriculture, military, and numerous other fields. These are just a few examples:

  • Multiple VELCRO products are patterned off of natural systems. The VELCRO® Brand ALFA LOK® Fastener based on mushroom caps. A more familiar hook-and-loop VELCRO product that most of us are familiar with based on the burrs of the burdock plant.
  • Researchers are working on figuring out how to improve climate control in buildings by studying termite mounds. Architect Mick Pearce put those lessons into play when designing the Eastgate Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe. For nearly the entire year, it is possible for the building to stay as cool as one with conventional air conditioning while using less than half the energy.
  • Biologist Frank Fish discovered that the bumps on humpback whales’ flippers, which are called “tubercles,” can improve lift for wind turbines.

Advancing Humanity and the Planet

For centuries, our inefficient technology has been depleting natural resources and disrupting the environment. But now, we are at a crossroads. We must improve our research that is based on naturalistic observation to preserve the future through sustained technologies.

Researchers who are harnessing the power of Biomimicry are directly countering the damage to our world. They are improving human life and giving us our best chance of survival.

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