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Biomimicry: Emulating Nature’s Designs

Biomimicry: Emulating Nature’s Designs

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.

Consider these:

Musical Inspiration
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.

Bjork’s Biophilia Album – Photo by Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin

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.

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

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