Inspired by nature – Biomimicry


I finished my January book, The Shark’s Paintbrush a couple of weeks ago, just under deadline.

You might be wondering how the heck they got a shark to paint underwater, right? Only it isn’t that.

See, biomimicry is the uses nature as an inspiration for technology and innovation.

I think biomimicry was fascinating. I’m a person who likes to see nature reflected in my home decor and in my clothing choices, though for many items inspired by the natural world, they look surprisingly modern and high-tech. Like the bullet train, where the front of the train was inspired by a kingfisher’s beak to break through the air without disturbing it as much, since its exit from tunnels was, at first, as loud as a crack of thunder.

My cousin (who ran off to Denmark to research) has studied the effects of global warming and urbanization on butterflies for years. Butterflies, right? Pretty, colorful, and a major inspiration in innovations in solar technology.

My favorite example to use is spirals.  The golden spiral, ratios equaling to the Fibbonaci sequence, perfect spirals away from the center are everywhere in nature. Look at succulent, roses as they open, pollination – it’s all there. And spirals are widely used in various religion and symbol systems.

While the concept is not new, putting a name to it and focusing on it is a newer phenomenon. The book I read isn’t the only one – in fact, the defining and first book on it was Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature (link to first chapter).

And it doesn’t have to apply to design and technology. How about a business plan based on the growth of redwoods, slow and steady and sustainable?

There’s so many ways that nature can inspire to innovation.

If you want to check out more, check out Ask Nature, a website that is part of the Biomimicry Institute. You can look into what functions in nature can be used to create new ideas.

Look around – does anything around you look inspired by nature? A fan? a sponge? A wine decanter?

Tell me!