biomimicron

The book of the mimicry of the living


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Solid foundation – This trees roots have grown into an I-beam

Biomimicry is the process of learning from nature, but what about nature evolving something we already knew?

whatifnaturecoudlearnfromus

‘The base of large trees inspired the buttresses of large buildings and cathedrals’, is a familiar, though as far as I can tell anecdotal, idea. It’s easy to see the parallels though. A large sweeping structure, supporting a tall, vertical object. When researchers began to look a little deeper though, other similarities between trees and buildings were discovered.

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High Fri-delity – Top 5 biomimetic robots

Biomimicry has been at the heart of robotics before the term ‘biomimicry’ was even coined. An ‘Android’ is a mechanical device made to resemble, and function like, a human. The term has been a sci-fi staple for decades, though its first appearance was in 1727.

Of course now the concept is so widely accepted that Michael bay has just started his second Transformers trilogy, and farmers in China are leaving the fields  because it’s more profitable to make giant robot sculptures out of old tractors.

Transformer_o_136186

The field of biomimetic animal robots is in many ways even more developed than that of  humans, and progressing all the time. While I’m continually thrilled by all this design and technology, as a generation raised on The Borg and Terminator films, I can never fully relax when researching this topic. Remember, we’re only ever one AI paradox away from the Matrix.

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Clam-punching shrimp focus of new biomimicry research

The mantis shrimp,  Odontodactylus scyllarus, is a large predatory shrimp that smashes its prey to pieces. Camouflage isn’t really a strong point though.

credit Alexander Vasenin [cc]

This colorful crustacean uses its ‘dactyl club’ to break open clam shells. Probably because they don’t spot it coming. Seeing as the US army have become interested in recent biomimetic research on the material of clam shells for use as body armor, that’s a hell of a punch. Continue reading


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Protective Shell: US army to use biomimetic ‘Oyster-Armour’

The humble oyster has been a talking point in biomimicry for years and earlier this year inspired research on creating stronger glass. Now nacre, the shell-material that protects the soft body of the oyster, is getting even more attention as a transparent material that in the future could even survive multiple gun-shots.

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The humble oyster has been a talking point in biomimicry for years and earlier this year inspired research on creating stronger glass. Now nacre, the shell-material that protects the soft body of the oyster, is getting even more attention as a transparent material that in the future could even survive multiple gun-shots.

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Biomythology: Eastgate-gate 3 (or How the Eastgate Centre, Harare, is not like a termite mound)

Termite mounds might offer so much more opportunity for biomimicrists than we currently realise. Possible the most famous ‘Biomimicry Template’ in functional biomimetic architecture is emerging as one of the most poorly understood. This situation is entirely understandable, though also highlights one of the biggest issues those following the design paradigm must surmount: How do we become an expert at everything?
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Biomythology: Eastgate-gate 2 (or How the Eastgate Centre, Harare, is not like a termite mound)

As I began on Tuesday, the Eastgate Centre is good design. It is NOT good biomimicry.

overly

To be fair, the project was partially designed on the science as it was understood at the time. But, as far as I can see only partially. The design falls down in terms of biomimicry on two points

1)    Termite nests (probably) do not ventilate the way that Mick Pearce thinks

2)    Termite nests do not stay within “1 oC all year around”

The first of these is an understandable mistake considering the published literature of the time. Recent research (last 5 years) has been, as far as I’ve been able to find, the first to start poking holes in long established termite mound ventilation models. Let me explain…

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Biomythology: Eastgate-gate 1 (or How the Eastgate Centre, Harare, is not like a termite mound)

The Eastgate Centre, Harare, Zimbabwe, is a very famous building to environmental construction. Designed by Mick Pearce in conjunction with ARUP, the mixed office complex and shopping mall utilises thermal mass and a specific air change schedule, using high rates of mechanical night cooling, supplemented by smaller rates of passive ventilation during the day to keep air fresh and at the correct temperature. In addition fan power requirements are reduced by stack effect ventilation through the building, and the buoyancy effect generated by the occupants’ metabolic activities. The ventilation costs one tenth of that of a comparable building, saving $3.5 million in energy costs in the first 5 years.

estgate exterior

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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…

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The 5 Great Biomimicry Applications Series – Plants 4

Day 4! – Submit biomimicry ideas though the comments section, I’ll provide information on it’s previous use in biomimicry tonight. For once in your you life there is really no such thing as a wrong answer, so hit me with your best shot! (<- p.s. I know they’re supposed to be SUPER SECRET but I swear that’s Michael Moore on lead guitar)

Inspiring Organism – Lily Pads

Underside of Giant Lily Pad from Danger Garden’s Blog

Lily pads are very thin but massive structures, and contain few to no buoyant air sacs. Instead they have a long, detailed network of ribs which very efficiently spread the weight of the structure and ensure that the leaf doesn’t buckle. If it did it would lose the surface tension which keeps it from sinking. They also have a spikey underside which can curl up.

Cick more for the my answer…

click for the answer