What is Biomimicry?
Some of humanity’s most impressive creations were not invented by man, but by nature. This is no surprise since nature could be considered the most pronounced innovator and has practically perfected the functionality of all living organisms via evolution and adaptation. And through the existence of the different models and elements that various organisms gained as a result of their transformation, not only can we further deepen our understanding of the world around us, but also take what we learn and incorporate it into our day-to-day lives. This act of emulation to imitate what is provided by nature is what is known as biomimicry.
Origin of Biomimicry
The term “Biomimicry” has only existed for the past half-century, however, the actual practice of designing things in similar ways as nature would have been around since the beginning of human civilization. Humans have always been looking at nature and its designs as the basis for their own innovations. One of the earliest examples of these innovations would be silk from silkworms. The use of this ingredient has been dated back to 4000 BC, making it among the very first fabrics invented by humans. The Chinese were the first ones to cultivate and were the only ones to master the weaving strategy. 6000 years later, we still see the use of silk in many luxury clothes.
Example of Biomimicry
Another more modern example of biomimicry is the story of how velcro was invented. In 1955, a Swiss electrical engineer named George de Mestral went on a hike with his dog and
got covered with burrs. When he arrived home, de Mestral examined the burrs through a microscope and discovered that it was covered with tiny hooks that clung to fabric and hair. This envelopment of tiny hooks on the plant serves its purpose of reproduction as it would cling onto traveling animals and become dispersed across a large area where new plants can grow. The discovery inspired de Mestral to create velcro, and now velcro is seen in many products that are used today.
Future of Biomimicry
Society has yet to even touch the surface of all that biomimicry can offer. Nature is so vast and intricate that even millions of years may not be enough time to understand it all. As humans, we are always curious and eager to learn and experience new things. So the next time you go out, look around at the clouds, grass, trees, plants, and rocks. Maybe you will be the next prominent innovator, and all it takes is to just be aware of the lesson taught by the greatest teacher, mother nature.
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