November 15, 2013 | David F. Coppedge

Three New and Different Biomimetics Stories

There appears to be no end of ways to imitate nature’s designs.

Stingray sub:  “Stingrays swim through water with such ease that researchers from the University at Buffalo and Harvard University are studying how their movements could be used to design more agile and fuel-efficient unmanned underwater vehicles.” (PhysOrg)

Snail digger:  Headline on Science Daily: “An Intersection of Math and Biology: Clams and Snails Inspire Robotic Diggers and Crawlers.”  MIT scientists like how snails can move in any direction.  that’s why they built RoboSnail.  It can “can climb walls and stick to overhead surfaces much like its living counterpart.”  What’s in it for you?  “Such a device can have potential uses in invasive surgery and oil well drilling, among other applications.”

Biomimetic cocktail:  This one is weird.  Science Daily says, “An MIT mathematician and a celebrity chef have combined talents to create two culinary novelties inspired by nature.” And what’s being served? “Cocktail novelties inspired by nature’s designs.”  Somehow, insects and water lilies provided the inspiration for this unusual application.

The usual biomimetics stories keep coming, like studying insects to improve flying robots (PhysOrg).  Sometimes, though, it’s easier to harvest nature rather than imitate it.  For instance, European researchers found something good about a common garden weed, the dandelion: it produces good quality rubber.  They are “building the first ever pilot system to extract vast quantities of dandelion rubber for making tires,” Science Daily reported.  And noting that microbes can fight harmful pathogens for us, scientists at Virginia Tech are looking into hiring microbes to clean up pipes.  (Also from  Science Daily.)

Support your local university’s Darwinism-killing, intelligent-design-promoting biomimetics department.  Maybe you, too, can be inspired by something you observe in nature.  Think of the possibilities – government grants, entrepreneurship, early retirement, even a better world.  Be sure to give credit, though.



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