Biomimicry, or copying nature, can be seen in all forms of man-made designs, from our earliest examples of artistic expression to the cutting edge of science. Nature contains countless extraordinary feats of engineering and unfathomably sophisticated systems. With technological assistance, biomimicry is showing up in art, design, and science—in new and earth-shattering ways.
Icelandic musician Bjork released an interactive album, “Biophilia,” that’s a ground-breaking multimedia exploration of music and nature. The music was inspired by relationships between musical structures and natural phenomena, and a downloadable app allows listeners to “contribute” to songs by playing with interactive on-screen visuals. Listeners use the album to make and learn about music and nature, or for pure enjoyment.
Inspired by Termites
Termites in Zimbabwe inspired the design of a building that’s ventilated and cooled by entirely natural means. The termites regulate the temperature inside the giant mounds they build by constantly opening and closing heating and cooling vents. Emulating the design resulted in a building that uses less than 10% of the energy used by a conventional building its same size.
The Blind Get Help From Bats
A cane for the blind that vibrates as it approaches objects uses echolocation, the navigational system that bats use to detect objects and map out their environments. The design is superior to ordinary canes because ultrasonic wave emissions help users detect objects at chest and head level that are further away than cane-length. The vibrations also indicate the direction and proximity of obstacles.
We’d love to hear from you — have you seen any designs inspired by nature? Share them with us in the comments below.
Jean Grigsby is a writer, who lives on the banks of the Kennebec River in Chelsea, Maine. She enjoys working out, reading, and running her marketing and public relations business, The Write Approach. Her article, Where Are All The Birds? appears in the 2021 Farmers' Almanac.