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Biomimicry - Essay Example

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Ever since the Industrial Revolution began, scenarios have been revealing the poisoning of the Earth's atmosphere and its being heated by greenhouse gases. Forests, too, are being denuded, chemicals are polluting the waters and industrial wastes pour onto fields; massive crops fail due to pesticides, and incompetent industries flood the markets with substandard non-quality foods.1 With a different breed of scientists thinking that the future can be far better if we mimic the highly efficient ways of nature, we can now take control of our future heredity, character, and environment, instead of creating unpleasant future conditions for ourselves.2
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Extract of sample "Biomimicry"

Download file to see previous pages Defined as "taking ideas from nature and implementing them in engineering, design, computing, and the like," interest started to gather momentum recently as science can now cope with the requirements to exploit biomimicry.4 The new science is said to help us find out from nature how to feed ourselves, heal ourselves, make things, and conduct business, and each of these is answered with a natural model, perhaps a leaf, a forest, a spider, a cell.5
Engineers now are in fact, borrowing more and more processes from nature from robot design to materials science. A Swiss inventor in the 1940's was reported in The Economist 6 as having noticed how particular plant seeds fastened themselves to his clothes. He observed this was on account of a unique 'hook and loop' system which led to him to inventing 'Velcro.' Designers are now working on highly maneuverable robot fish with fins rather than propellers, commercial optical fibers based on flower baskets, sophisticated lenses inspired by the distributed eye structure of the starfish, and new sticking plasters based on the Gekko lizard's ability to walk up walls.7 Science observer Benyus further points out what more could be mimicked: The sea creature called abalone has its inner shell twice as tough as high-tech ceramics; spider silk is five times stronger than steel; mussel adhesive works underwater and sticks to anything, even without a primer. Moreover, hummingbirds cross oceans with virtually no fuel; ants carry loads the equivalent of a hundred pounds in heat; the double helix of DNA could shame our most powerful and most advanced Pentiums.8
The new methodology is said to have evolved between the disciplines of biology and engineering and is spreading throughout the applied sciences and beyond. The questions then are likely - What can purple bacteria teach computer scientists What can spiders teach us about manufacturing What can the life cycle of salmon teach us about investment, equity and banking in general In short, what can we learn from nature 9 Benyus then has spurred the evolution of a new type of science that is studying nature's best ideas and then imitating these designs and processes to solve human problems.10
Biomimicry seeks to mimic rather than manipulate nature. Getting its inspiration from plants and animals that innovate their "tools for living," humans are finally discovering that these organisms' tools are oftenmore sustainable, and benevolent. 11 Biomimicry now finds pioneering engineers making technological breakthroughs. At the Land Institute in Kansas, researchers are said to be breeding perennial native plants. In the search for new medicines in the world's rainforests, some have begun to study the "self-medication" behavior of chimps. And physiologists are imitating the photosynthesis process in the laboratory, building simple non-toxic molecules in the hope of turning the sun's rays into energy for human use.12
In the quest for antibiotics, a new genetic approach has allowed the discovery of plectasin, a peptide identified in a fungus found in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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