In 1997, biologist and innovation consultant Janine Benyus, released her first book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. In this publication she coined the term 'biomimicry' and laid the groundwork
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It's frightening to think, but one of every six people in the world today doesn't have enough safe water to drink. Within 30 years, thirst will spread to three-quarters of the world’s population. But
Dung beetles eat poo. It’s what they do, and they do it many different ways. Rollers tumble it home in little balls; they cradle their eggs in it or save it for a snack. Tunnelers bury it right where
3D printing is the coolest thing since sliced bread, but what should we print with? This could go horribly wrong if we don't take the opportunity to stop and ask how the rest of nature would do it.
It's a scientific fact that there's nothing cuter than a baby sloth in a bucket. But even if Facebook 'likes' turn out not to correlate with biological fitness, sloths are a runaway success by any
You know bats and dolphins 'echolocate' to find their prey, sending out blips of squeaky SONAR-like sound waves that bounce off fish or moths in the dark. And people do it, too, using expensive equipment.
The Biomimicry Manual: What Can the Octopus Teach Us About Touch Screens, Wallpaper, and Invisibility Cloaks?
Cephalopods are the undisputed masters of camouflage. While their relatives, the clams, stayed brainless and safe on the seabeds-of-old, the ancient nautilus (think squid-in-a-shell) made a daring foray
The prospect of a bouncing robotic kangaroo may seem crazy, but German-based engineering company Festo discovered that basing robot motion on the kangaroo’s hop is incredibly energy efficient. Known for
About twelve thousand years ago, humans hit on a bright idea. Why not grow food in our backyards instead of having to go look for it every time our tummies grumble? It was a masterful stroke of conscious
The platypus is a funny little mammal found in Eastern Australia and Tasmania. Aside from echidnas (the also-very-weird Australian spiny anteaters) they are the only living mammals that lay eggs. This
Mother Nature doesn’t give her information for free. Her minions cloud their enemies’ judgement with devilish deception, and make plain the truth for their friends. Birds flock and fish school,
In business, innovation is non-negotiable. Stay fresh, rot, or go stale. That’s never been truer than today, with volatile prices, weather, regulations, supply chains, and public sentiment. You don’t
Halloween is tomorrow, and this young girl's fancies are turning to, what else? Zombies! Yes, we all secretly worry about the coming zombie apocalypse, though not enough to assemble the
Did you know a coven of vultures swirling overhead is called a 'kettle?' I love that. It makes me think of a fortune teller's black magic tea-leaves, steeping in her stove-top cauldron. And of course, we
I’m fascinated by creatures that create new ways of life for others. Ecologists talk about ‘keystone species,’ ones which support entire ecosystems, like the central stone in a renaissance archway.
This morning I awoke to a blanket of soft white icing on the mountains around my Montana cabin, sweetly pink in the first light of day. Winter has breathed its first chill sigh here, and the lodge is
In my last column for The Biomimicry Manual, I mentioned the way the sea snake keeps herself clean of barnacles and algae by shedding her skin. Keeping surfaces clean is a huge challenge and a big
The Biomimicry Manual: What can We Learn About Resilience, Weight Loss, and Kidney Disease from the Grizzly Bear?
I'm off to the wilds of Montana this week, doing some in-person, up-close biomimicry research, and I've got my fingers crossed I'll see a grizzly bear. But you know, over there, not over here. With five
Let's say you decided to live in the ocean. Can you imagine the challenges you would face? Lot's of land animals have done exactly that, though the transition from land to sea happens gradually through
The Biomimicry Manual: What can the Honeybee Teach Designers About Insulation, Elasticity and Flight?
What exactly is biomimicry? I think of it as a way of unlocking a whole world of super-powers for humanity. It is literally the next stage of human evolution. Leonardo DaVinci himself said, "Those who are
The frigate bird is a powerful and aggressive seabird, with a deserved reputation as the pirate of the high seas. One of world's fastest birds, he swoops and soars up to 100 miles an hour, spending up to
With a comically tiny mouth and a blunt cauliflower tail, the ocean sunfish is little more than a swimming head. Which is, in fact, its name in German. Grotesquely oversized, these monsters appear to loll
Humpback whale image from Shutterstock Whales are some of the most extreme creatures on Earth. The 115 foot, 150 foot ton Blue Whale, for instance, is the largest animal that ever lived. These
Image © Mark Roy One of Australia's more bizarre creatures is the thorny devil or dragon, also known as the moloch. The devil is named for the ancient god Moloch, a hideous demon smeared with the
Charles Darwin was a man inordinately fond of beetles. He once caught a rare specimen in one hand, when another, even more remarkable, beetle showed up. He snatched that one up with his other hand.
The Hagfish is a jawless, spineless horror, scavenging the ocean floor. Unchanged for the past 300 million years, this living fossil wields a fiendishly effective defense. When attacked, it exudes an ooze
In our newest series, The Biomimicry Manual, we are thinking about design in a different way and asking ourselves "How would nature do it?". Nature's designs are tried and true, and there are a number of
Image © paulhypnos This colorful toad may be as tiny as a quarter, but he has got some big tricks up his sleeve. The Crucifix Toad, also known as the Holy Cross Frog, (Notaden bennettii), like all
'Biomimicry' is a way of designing that asks "How would nature do it?". Other creatures on Earth have spent millions of years perfecting their craft in ways that are inherently sustainable. The ones that
CalTech Researcher John Dabiri Uses Biomimicry to Design Cheaper, More Efficient Vertical Axis Wind Farms Inspired by Schools of Fish
Wind turbine designs have improved significantly in recent years, but wind farms are still pretty inefficient. That's because traditional wind turbines -- the ones with three huge blades -- interfere with
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