Last one folks! Same as the last 4. Have a look at the organism below and make any suggestions that come to your mind about how it could be used in a useful human product in the comments section. For the final time there are NO WRONG answers. I have a stats page which shows that each of the last 4 pages has had between 30-60 views,but gets approximately 3 comments so I WANNA SEE YOUR GUTS MAN!
Inspiring Organism – Maple Seed
Maple seeds are another attempt for parent plants to scatter the new generation, but this time airborne! Recently researchers at Caltech discovered the swirling motion of a falling seed creates a tornado like vortex that ensures a slow descent to enable the seed to travel as far as possible on the wind.
Click below for the answers…
Inspired Product 1 – Monocopter surveillance
This has quickly got picked up in the Lockheed Martin Samurai. A single wing with 2 moving parts. While still in development, it’s suggested that these could provide soldiers and police with a cheap, simple to use drone, suitable to take into the field and use to scout open battlefield or a suspects house.
Inspired Product 2 – Monocopter exploration
It’s not all covert ops though, Nasa have made similar versions at a range of scales.
Teaming these little doodads up with The Prisoner style tumble weed probes from earlier hints at a veritable armada of cheap drone designs that could be adapted for the inevitable mars exploration of the next decade.
Inspired Product 3 – Atmospheric re-entry
This bigger brother is still in development but the possibility of deliberately, and gently landing returning spacemen and women in a target area, rather than the current tactic of ‘let’s just try and hit the sea’ would be a big improvement. At least until Elon Musk has sorted out his reusable rockets.
Thanks for all the responses to this last biomimiquiz. Lot’s of people were going for ‘helicopter’, which is pretty similar. However, I think the monocopter has two important benefits for these applications over UAV and RC helicopters:
1) Cheap – With only two moving parts these things can be made small and in bulk, with no big loss if they cannot be retrieved
2) ‘Launch’ in mid-air – Due to the weight distribution towards one end (the ‘seed’ part) combined with the fixed ‘wing’ of the design they will automatically rotate as they fall anyway. This enables the engines to kick in easier in free fall than if you just threw a RC helicopter and started the rotors going. This seems useful both in surveillance where you could throw it, grenade style, over a wall, and if it were dropped from a dispersal air craft, such as for a Mars Survey Fleet…
This week these 5 posts had 190 views on the direct page,not including another 30-60 who would have just read the question on the homepage. Not bad for the first month and only promoting through facebook and my twitter friends! Thanks guys 🙂
Look out in the next little while for:
Biomimetic building algorithms
Why this November the BBC have utterly proved their worth to science
MAYBE a Christmas Themed Biomimiquiz