Biomimicry Inspired Solutions

"Nature is a Model, Measure and Mentor" - Janine M. Benyus

Biomimicry is all about studying nature’s best ideas like photosynthesis and mimicking them for human use. It can help us get inspiration for new inventions and show a guiding framework towards a City of Tomorrow. Biomimicry is not technology or biology; it’s the technology of biology. In other words, it is NatureTech

Nature has already solved the problems we are grappling with in Singapore: energy, food production, climate control, life-friendly chemistry, transportation, and more. The nature around us - from the mountains to the deep ocean - has been around for 3.8 billion years and in this time, it has experimented and created an estimated 8 - 10 million surviving species today. When we look at these survivors, we not only think and admire how gracefully they live on this planet, but are also reminded of how they evolved, and the methodologies through which they create conditions conducive to life.

Below are some common disciplines in which biomimicry is frequently applied: 

EXAMPLES
PACKAGING  

 

Innovative packaging inspired by pangolin's unique protection strategy!

 

Without teeth and without any turn of speed, the pangolin has to be well protected. It has an armour of horny scales that overlap like shingles on a roof. At the slightest danger, the animal tucks its head into its stomach and wraps itself into a ball with its muscular tail clasped tight around it. 

 

The Pangolin backpack (by Cyclus SAS) is a day pack that has overlapping scales like the pangolin. It's flexible, durable and protects contents better than a cloth pack. Instead of using zippers, it's kept closed using magnets. The material is made of recycled tubes from trucks with some light materials to reduce weight.

 

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TRANSPORTATION

 

The Shinkansen Bullet Train was the fastest train in the world, traveling 200 miles per hour. The problem? Noise. Air pressure changes produced large thunder claps every time the train emerged from a tunnel, causing residents one-quarter a mile away to complain.

Eiji Nakatsu, the Shinkansen 500 train’s chief engineer and an avid bird-watcher, asked himself, “Is there something in Nature that travels quickly and smoothly between two very different mediums?” Modeling the front-end of the train after the beak of kingfishers, which dive from the air into bodies of water with very little splash to catch fish, resulted not only in a quieter train, but 15% less electricity use even while the train travels 10% faster.

 

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ENERGY

 

A humpback whale – 40-50 feet long and weighing nearly 80,000 pounds – swims in circles tight enough to produce nets of bubbles only 5 feet across while corralling and catching krill, its shrimp-like prey. It turns out that the whale’s surprising dexterity is due mainly to its flippers, which have large, irregular looking bumps called tubercles across their leading edges.

 

Wind tunnel tests of model humpback fins with and without tubercles have demonstrated the aerodynamic improvements tubercles make, such as an 8% improvement in lift and 32% reduction in drag, as well as allowing for a 40% increase in angle of attack over smooth flippers before stalling. A company called WhalePower is applying the lessons learned from humpback whales to the design of wind turbines to increase their efficiency, while this natural technology also has enormous potential to improve the safety and performance of airplanes, fans, and more.

 

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© Biomimicry Singapore Network 2021