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Nature Notebook – Biomimicry

As concern about climate change becomes more prevalent, people are trying to find ways to live more sustainably without harming the earth. Where are these forward-thinking designers getting their ideas? From the study of nature’s adaptations.

Humans have been observing, and learning from, animals for a long time. The field of biomimicry embraces inspiration from all of nature…bacteria, plankton, plants, insects, animal societies and more. Think of a problem and, somewhere, nature has already solved it.

Velcro was invented after an engineer wondered how burs stuck to his socks. The study of lotus leaves and their ability to “clean” themselves led to the invention of self-cleaning exterior paint. A kingfisher’s beak helped Japanese engineers design a more efficient Bullet Train.

Our homeschool group’s study of biomimicry resulted in some interesting ideas. One student suggested creating a more humane fishing “hook” based on a frog tongue’s ability to stick and release prey. Another thought a tool designed with the abilities of a monkey’s prehensile tail could be used to grasp objects that are unreachable with conventional tools.

How can nature inspire you?