Mother Nature Knows Best
Biomimicry is the term given to taking inspiration from nature and applying it to technology. Velcro is probably the most well known example of this; its hook and eye stickiness is inspired by the way that burrs stick to dog hair. Often, nature has a more elegant and effective solution for a problem than we do, and it makes sense to capitalize on millions of years of evolution and use that design. If mother nature can do it better, quicker and more efficient, then we should listen to her.
Janine Benyus, the author of Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, and Dayna Baumeister, are running a six day intensive course to train biologists interested in applying biomimicry to design. On the course you'll learn exactly what biomimicry is, what the major successes in the field have been and how to use your biological knowledge to help develop products inspired by nature.
The course runs from May 23-29, at the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch in Dupuyer, Montana, and applications must be submitted by April 11. For more information have a look at the Biomimicry Institute's website.Personally I'd love to attend, I completed a master’s degree in computer science by writing a program that used a model of evolution to solve a problem. Each possible solution was an animal, and solutions mated with each other to produce offspring with combined qualities. Occasionally some non-efficient solutions would be killed off, just as in natural selection, and occasionally a better solution would be born. Eventually what remained was a very efficient design for a circuit, which used less power than anything a human could have designed.
Perhaps if more circuits were designed in this way, then biomimicry would save a huge amount of power worldwide. Perhaps biomimicry could help to save real biology from our harmful impact on the planet.