Biomimicry is Real World Inspiration (2024)

We humans are pretty innovative creatures. Our understanding of space, time and our place in nature are beyond that of other animals. But sometimes, we look to nature for inspiration.

Millions of years of evolution have shaped the world around us and created many incredible things. Biomimicry is when we observe a trait in nature and copy it or parts of it for human technology and design. There are numerous examples of biomimicry in action.

A toe-tally awesome way of climbing

Biomimicry is Real World Inspiration (1)

Many species of gecko can walk up smooth surfaces like stone walls and even glass. Scientists studied the pads on the toes of one species, the Tokay gecko, and discovered that tiny, microscopic hairs help them “stick” to surfaces. Who would have thought having hairy toes could have its advantages? By mimicking gecko toes, we have developed adhesives, a way to close wounds without stitches, and more.

Ants may have the answer to traffic jams

Biomimicry is Real World Inspiration (2)

Nobody likes sitting in traffic, not even ants. Have you ever seen lines of ants travelling right next to each other but going in opposite directions? They appear like traffic flowing on a highway, but without rush hour gridlock. Learning how ant columns move can help us improve highway traffic, especially as autonomous vehicles develop.

Fun fact

Perhaps the most famous example of biomimicry is Velcro. In 1941, engineer George de Mestral was walking his dog when he noticed burrs (like the ones pictured below) sticking to both of them. When he studied the burrs under magnification he found their clinging property was the result of hundreds of tiny hooks. His observation sparked the idea for the very useful invention we know as Velcro fastening.

Biomimicry is Real World Inspiration (3)

What would you create using biomimicry?

Inspiration can be found by land, sea and air! Here are a few more examples of biomimicry:

Down feather insulation. Heavy winter coats are stuffed with down or other feathers so that we can stay warm without flying south for the winter.

Termite mound cooling. The way these tiny insects drill holes in their mounds to cool down in the hot African Savannah has inspired architects to develop buildings that are more efficient.

Humpback whale wind turbines. The ridges on the pectoral fins of humpback whales create an aerodynamic flow in water. They also inspired the shape of wind turbine blades.

Biomimicry is Real World Inspiration (4)

Beetle water collection. The dung beetle may be most popular for other attributes, but it also collects fog on its shell and funnels it to its mouth to drink in arid environments. This has inspired researchers to study how we can pull fresh water from fog or dew.

Spider web glass. A spider’s web is one of the strongest designs in nature. The webbing pattern has been copied by automotive industries so that windshields crack but do not shatter.

Now it’s your turn to create a new innovation based on something found in nature! Be as creative as you want and, with your parent’s permission, tag us on social media @carnegiemnh so we can see what you made!

A Nature Lab blog byEddie Phillips.

Biomimicry is Real World Inspiration (2024)


What is biomimicry answers? ›

Biomimicry is a practice that learns from and mimics the strategies found in nature to solve human design challenges—and find hope.

How is biomimicry used in real life? ›

Perhaps the most famous example of biomimicry is Velcro. In 1941, engineer George de Mestral was walking his dog when he noticed burrs (like the ones pictured below) sticking to both of them. When he studied the burrs under magnification he found their clinging property was the result of hundreds of tiny hooks.

What is the main idea of biomimicry? ›

Biomimicry (literally: imitation of the living ) aims to take inspiration from natural selection solutions adopted by nature and translate the principles to human engineering. The biomimicry approach aims to favor “choices” tested by nature which had millions of years to understand what works best and what doesn't.

Is biomimicry effective? ›

Biomimicry is a fascinating approach to design that offers many benefits over traditional methods. By looking to nature as a design mentor, designers can create sustainable, efficient, and cost-effective solutions.

What is the biomimicry readworks answer key? ›

Answer: Biomimicry or biomimetics is the examination of nature, its models, systems, processes, and elements to emulate or take inspiration from in order to solve human problems.

How do you explain biomimicry to a child? ›

Biomimicry is an exciting way to inspire pupils to observe the natural world and to develop a creative approach to problem solving by looking at nature for sustainable solutions. 'Bio' means life and 'mimicry' means to imitate. It involves learning from nature to improve the design of products, processes and systems.

How does biomimicry affect society? ›

This will help to reduce exploitation of natural resources, reduce waste, increase efficiency, and support social and economic sustainability. As people, the process industry, and the planet continue to face environmental challenges, biomimicry offers a promising approach to creating a more sustainable future.

How to be inspired by nature? ›

Explore new natural terrain, watch the sunset and look at the stars – without Instagramming the view. Connect with the world through your eyes instead of through a lens for a while. Bring along your paintbrushes or pencils, and see what being in nature inspires.

How does nature inspire design? ›

In its essence, Nature inspired design is about applying what we've learned about Nature to the things we design. By observing Nature, we can learn a lot about how to build better products for transportation, energy production, architecture, agriculture, and more.

How does biomimicry solve problems? ›

By mimicking nature's structures, processes and ecosystems, biomimicry provides opportunities to solve different problems that we, as humans, have created.

What are the three types of biomimicry? ›

According to Zhang, biomimicry can be achieved at different levels, including, (1) imitating the form or function of nature, (2) imitating natural processes and (3) imitating natural systems; where the first is seen as the most common approach.

What are some interesting facts about biomimicry? ›

By mimicking animals, people soon developed things like furry wraps, snowshoes, and camouflage clothing. In fact, over the years animal adaptations have given humans many good ideas about surviving in different habitats. Watching rain run off like a duck's feathers inspired the invention of water-resistant raincoats.

Why should biomimicry be applied in today's world? ›

Biomimicry can be used to improve products or processes by studying how natural systems work and how they can be adapted to solve problems. Biomimicry is the practice of using the principles of nature to create products or systems.

What is the oldest example of biomimicry? ›

What is the first example of biomimicry? The flying machines of Leonardo Da Vinci are the earliest biomimicry example. He very closely observed the anatomy and flight of birds and made numerous notes and detailed sketches of his observations. These sketches of proposed "flying machines"...

How can biomimicry impact our future? ›

By integrating nature's principles into design, we can create buildings and infrastructure that function harmoniously with their surroundings, reduce resource consumption, and minimise environmental impact.

What is biomimicry quizlet? ›

Biomimicry. an innovation method that seeks sustainable solutions by emulating nature's time-tested patterns and strategies. Biodiversity. the variety within and among living species.

What is biomimicry English? ›

Meaning of biomimicry in English. the practice of making technological and industrial design copy natural processes: The idea behind biomimicry is that nature has already solved the challenges that we are trying to solve.

What is biomimetics simple? ›

: the study of the formation, structure, or function of biologically produced substances and materials (such as enzymes or silk) and biological mechanisms and processes (such as protein synthesis or photosynthesis) especially for the purpose of synthesizing similar products by artificial mechanisms which mimic natural ...

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