The book of the mimicry of the living

The 5 Great Biomimicry Applications Series – Plants 5


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 Tree seeds have one thin wing attached to each seed pod

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


Mars Wars


Author: davergp

Environmental Geoscience BSc. Environmental Design of Buildings MSc. Bonsai Hobbyist, Woodland Enthusiast, Environ-mentalist.

8 thoughts on “The 5 Great Biomimicry Applications Series – Plants 5

  1. A new type of parachute. Might be a cause of dizzyness though.


  2. Being Canadian, I spent a blissful childhood playing with these seeds, which go by the more sciendtific name of whirligigs in their natural homeland. I duely noted that the shape of the seed pod and their method of travel was just like a helicopter. Claire

  3. The Ex-army guy next to me says lockheed martian are building a drone based off it.

  4. I would imagine something to do with propellers or turbine blades.

  5. Although I also saw the kids toy that’s basically an eleastic band launched led lit maple leaf today. had forgotten about that.

  6. Helicopter!

    One armed Shrew.


  7. Air fresheners or fake snow

  8. As kids we played ‘helicopters’ with similar sycamore seeds.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s