Biomimic Database

The Economist has just published a story on biomimetics. I have waxed poetically for some time now on biomimicry, and it is always nice to have my views supported in non-treehugger circles. The article points out some excellent examples of how Biology has found elegant solutions to engineering problems. Like the sea sponge whose skeleton is made up of silica, and part of it is surprisingly similar to optical fibers. What's not mentioned in the article is that these 'optics' may be used to channel light in the murky depths to symbiotic bacteria that live with the sponge- but that's beside the point...What really caught my attention was the existance of a biomimic database.The database was created by Dr. Julian Vincent, the director of the Centre for Biomimetic and Natural Technologies at the University of Bath in England. I like the idea of an ordered approach using biomimetics to solve engineering problems. The transfer of ideas and concepts between science disciplines hasn't always been easy, and their approach is fascinating. But like most Computer Science projects the initial user interface left me cold. The database is still an amazing idea, and worth a look. I think applying better design (perhaps inspired by organic networks?) to the site itself might make putting the pieces together easier for everyone. I would also be interested in having connections between engineering and biology exist as an open source project like a wiki-type database (Dr. Vincent thinks along similar lines). With a slick user interface, I think the project could take off. If anyone else is interested in these ideas, please comment here, maybe we can get something cooking. ::Biomimic Database ::The Economist