Biomimicry: Biologically Inspired Engineering
The word biomimicry comes from bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate—and that’s exactly what it is. The discipline’s main aim is to draw inspiration from nature’s best ideas and use them in design and technology. The premise is hinged on the fact that humankind has been inventing and creating for a mere blink in the lifespan of the Earth, and therefore we can learn a lot from plants, animals and ecosystems that have gradually and imaginatively adapted over four billion years of evolution, forced to become engineers just to survive. By studying nature, it’s possible that we can find solutions to many of the problems we’re currently dealing with. For example, we can study leaves in order to invent a better solar cell; use birds and bats to build more aerodynamic wings; mimic how butterfly wings generate colour to create more vibrant, energy-efficient screens; model swimsuits on sharkskin to reduce friction; learn how to put out fires using nature’s non-toxic flame retardants; and even apply the body’s self-healing properties to artificial materials like plastics. Over a painstaking amount of time, nature has found solutions that work on this Earth—and so through biomimicry, we can create sustainable human technologies that will help us survive and thrive.
(Image Credit: 1, 2)