Survival of the fittest is what has ruled the existence of a species since the beginnings of life on Earth. The Tyrannosaurus Rex was a strong predator. Why is he not around anymore? Humbler species, such as some roaders, outlived them for millions of years. Strength is not the most important factor. At the end of the day, how well you can adapt to your environment is the difference between prosperity and extinction. Depending on your surroundings you need different things like speed, strength, intelligence, camouflage, etc. That is not to say that there aren’t any beings with amazing abilities. A good example is the cheetah. How is it possible that a cheetah can accelerate faster than my BMW?! He didn’t have a group of German engineers working relentlessly for generations to come up with his configurations like my car did. He had something similar though, nature. Nature is the best engineer. During the pass of millions of years, nature ran a trial and error process. Mutations in the genetic codes of animals gave them certain characteristics that would give them some kind of edge or disadvantage over their siblings. An animal is the result of millions of years of perfecting qualities that got passed down from generation to generation. We cannot beat that! We came to the realization that nature is better at this than us. That is why we are stealing ideas from it.
Biomimicry is the innovative methodology of using natures patterns in our own pieces of engineering. This multidisciplinary practice requires the help of a lot of scientist from different fields to come together, analyze, adapt and construct complex machines. Biologists and paleontologists examine the biomechanics of a certain animal or the efficiency of a specific niche in order to figure out what advantages their design provides. Mathematicians and physicists decompose every single aspect in algorithms, concepts and equations. Finally basing themselves on the previous studies, engineers and technicians build these awesome technologies using natures trademark. The Airbus A320, sonar navigation, Velcro and many more are the products of this practice.
THE WORD ASSOCIATION GAME
This is how it works. I’ll give you the name of an invention and you try to guess from where did we got the idea.
Power grids———————–⇒ Bee hives
GT’s MuddyBot Robot—————–⇒ Mudskippers
See! There are a lot of examples to choose from. Projects like the MuddyBot is just one of many. There is no limit to how much we can get out of this relationship. We are being constantly reminded that nature is always one step ahead, but at least now we can get something in return. The real question now is: Which one of its big ideas are we going to steal next?