• A research team at Bell Labs has found that tropical deep-sea sponge, Euplectella or Venus's Flower Basket, builds remarkably strong structures
from extremely fragile materials, according to a press release from Lucent Technologies. This discovery led to unique insights in the production of
commercial fiber optic strands. The same team also looked to the visual systems of brittlestars -- sea creatures related to starfish and sea urchins
-- for inspiration to improve lens design.
• "Gecko tape" is a product under development that has been inspired by the lizard's ability to climb up walls and walk along ceilings. The tape
exploits "van der Waals forces" -- weak intermolecular attractive forces -- by mimicing the tiny hair-like structures, called setae, that cover
• Scientists at the University of Leeds in Great Britain are studying the jet-based defense mechanism of the bombardier beetle to see if the insect
can help them learn how to re-ignite a gas-turbine aircraft engine in mid-flight. The bombardier beetle is capable of spraying would-be predators with
a high-pressure stream of boiling liquid.
• DaimlerChrysler is developing a new high fuel efficiency concept vehicle based on the body shape of a boxfish, a common cube-shaped fish found in
tropical marine habitats. The bionic car will offer 20 percent lower fuel consumption and up to 80 percent lower nitrogen oxide emissions according to
a release from DaimlerChrysler.
Some potential areas for exploration:
• Spiders spin silk that is stronger than synthetic substances developed by man but require only insects as inputs.
• Diatoms, microscopic phytoplankton responsible for a quarter of all the photosynthesis on Earth, make glass using silicon dissolved in seawater.
• Abalone, a type of shellfish, produces a crack-resistant shell twice as tough as ceramic from calcium found in seawater using a process known as
• Trees "turn sunlight, water, and air into cellulose, a suger stiffer and stronger than nylon, and bind it into wood, a natural composite with a
higher bending strength and stiffness than concrete or steel," as noted by Paul Hawken, Amory and L. Hunter Lovins in Natural Capitalism.
• Countless plants generate compounds that fight off infection from fungi, insects, and other pests.
• Cat's eye reflectors were invented by Percy Shaw in 1935 after studying the mechanism of cat eyes. He had found that cats had a system of
reflecting cells, known as tapetum lucidum, which was capable of reflecting the tiniest bit of light.
• Leonardo da Vinci's flying machines and ships are early examples of drawing from nature in engineering.
• Resilin is a replacement for rubber that has been created by studying the material also found in anthropods.
• Julian Vincent drew from the study of pinecones when he developed in 2004 "smart" clothing that adapts to changing temperatures. "I wanted a
nonliving system which would respond to changes in moisture by changing shape", he said. "There are several such systems in plants, but most are
very small — the pinecone is the largest and therefore the easiest to work on". Pinecones respond to higher humidity by opening their scales (to
disperse their seeds). The "smart" fabric does the same thing, opening up when the wearer is warm and sweating, and shutting tight when cold.
• "Morphing aircraft wings" that change shape according to the speed and duration of flight were designed in 2004 by biomimetic scientists from
Penn State University. The morphing wings were inspired by different bird species that have differently shaped wings according to the speed at which
they fly. In order to change the shape and underlying structure of the aircraft wings, the researchers needed to make the overlying skin also be able
to change, which their design does by covering the wings with fish-inspired scales that could slide over each other. In some respects this is a
refinement of the swing-wing design.
• Some paints and roof tiles have been engineered to be self-cleaning by copying the mechanism from the Nelumbo lotus.
• Nanostructures and physical mechanisms that produce the shining color of butterfly wings were reproduced in silico by Greg Parker, professor of
Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton and research student Luca Plattner in the field of photonics, which is electronics
using photons as the information carrier instead of electrons.
• Cholesteric liquid crystals (CLCs) are the thin-film material often used to fabricate fish tank thermometers or mood rings, that change color with
temperature changes. They change color because their molecules are arranged in a helical or chiral arrangement and with temperature the pitch of that
helical structure changes, reflecting different wavelengths of light. Chiral Photonics, Inc. has abstracted the self-assembled structure of the
organic CLCs to produce analogous optical devices using tiny lengths of inorganic, twisted glass fiber.
• The wing structure of the blue morpho butterfly was studied and the way it reflects light was mimicked to create an RFID tag that can be read
through water and on metal.
• Neuromorphic chips, silicon retinae or cochleae, has wiring that is modelled after real neural networks. S.a.: connectivity.
• Synthetic or "robotic" vegetation, which aids in conservation and restoration, are machines designed to mimic many of the functions of living
• Medical adhesives involving glue and tiny nano-hairs are being developed based on the physical structures found in the feet of geckos.
And here Are some more pictures related to all of this!
Bullet train and Mercedes Bionic
Skyscraper - cactus
the geckos feet
Explaining a Bio-Scraper
[edit on 4/3/2010 by VonDoomen]