Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature
By Janine Benyus
If chaos theory transformed our view of the universe, biomimicry is transforming our life on Earth. Biomimicry is innovation inspired by nature – taking advantage of evolution’s 3.8 billion years of R&D since the first bacteria. Biomimics study nature’s best ideas: photosynthesis, brain power, and shells – and adapt them for human use. They are revolutionising how we invent, compute, heal ourselves, harness energy, repair the environment, and feed the world.
Science writer and lecturer Janine Benyus names and explains this phenomenon. She takes us into the lab and out in the field with cutting-edge researchers as they stir vats of proteins to unleash their computing power; analyse how electrons zipping around a leaf cell convert sunlight into fuel in trillionths of a second; discover miracle drugs by watching what chimps eat when they’re sick; study the hardy prairie as a model for low-maintenance agriculture; and more.
Read the first chapter right here: biomimicry.org
The Shark’s Paintbrush: Biomimicry and How Nature is Inspiring Innovation
By Jay Harmon
Why does the bumblebee have better aerodynamics than a 747? What structural design is shared by a tornado and a blood vessel?
Since the Industrial Revolution, manufacturers have built things by a process known as “heat, beat, and treat.” They use enormous amounts of energy to heat raw material, shape it with heavy machinery, and maintain its design, strength, and durability with toxic chemicals. Now, in a world of depleted natural resources, entrepreneurs and scientists are turning to nature to inspire future products that are more energy- and cost-efficient. Biomimicry, the science of employing nature to advance sustainable technology, is arguably one of the hottest new business concepts. At the center of this growing movement has been award-winning inventor and biomimetic entrepreneur Jay Harman.
In The Shark's Paintbrush, Harman introduces us to pioneering engineers in a wide array of businesses who are uncovering and copying nature’s hidden marvels. He shows business leaders and aspiring entrepreneurs how we can reconcile creating more powerful, lucrative technologies with maximizing sustainability. He injects a whole new vocabulary and way of thinking into the business sphere that speaks to both small start-ups and corporate giants.
Cat’s Paws and Catapults: Mechanical Worlds of Nature and People
By Steven Vogel
Nature and humans build their devices with the same earthly materials and use them in the same air and water, pulled by the same gravity. Why, then, do their designs diverge so sharply? Humans, for instance, love right angles, while nature's angles are rarely right and usually rounded. Our technology goes around on wheels―and on rotating pulleys, gears, shafts, and cams―yet in nature only the tiny propellers of bacteria spin as true wheels. Our hinges turn because hard parts slide around each other, whereas nature's hinges (a rabbit's ear, for example) more often swing by bending flexible materials. In this marvelously surprising, witty book, Steven Vogel compares these two mechanical worlds, introduces the reader to his field of biomechanics, and explains how the nexus of physical law, size, and convenience of construction determine the designs of both people and nature. "This elegant comparison of human and biological technology will forever change the way you look at each."―Michael LaBarbera, American Scientist Illustrated