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Biomimicry Growing Green With Nature By John Mancuso Director of Naturalist Education and Graphics Greenburgh Nature Center – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Biomimicry

Biomimicry Growing Green With Nature
  • By John Mancuso
  • Director of Naturalist Education and Graphics
  • Greenburgh Nature Center

What do a gecko, a burr, a kingfisher, a termite
mound and a lily pad all have in common?
Theyre all examples of things that have inspired
people to develop new products to meet human
The process of looking to nature as the
inspiration for innovation is called Biomimicry.
A Closer Look
Bi-o-MIM-ic-ry from the Greek bios, life and
mimesis, imitation Biomimicry as a concept is
based on the belief that we can find the
solutions to all our needs as passengers on
Planet Earth by learning from the plants, animals
and natural processes that are all around us.
How Does Nature Work?
  • Nature
  • runs on sunlight thats why we call it the
    solar system
  • uses only the energy it needs and stores the
  • fits form to function consider the lilies of
    the field
  • recycles everything what happened to all those
    leaves that fell in the forest last
  • rewards cooperation like nectar for honeybees
  • banks on diversity e pluribus Unum
  • demands local expertise knowing whats at hand
  • curbs excesses from within the essence of
  • taps the power of limits optimizing not

Janine M. Benyus
Can you tell what product was invented from
this biomimicry lesson?
Those hooks on the burr plant gave the idea to
create VELCRO
Solving Natures Mysteries
Energy The Mighty Power of Leaves Leaves
convert sunlight into energy. Solar cells
convert sunlight directly into electricity
(energy). Basically, when light strikes the
cell, a certain portion of it is absorbed within
the semiconductor material. This energy is then
formed into an electrical current.
Biomimicry - Solar Energy
Sharkskin Natures Speedo
At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, 28 out of 33 gold
medalists wore Speedos Fastskin Allovers. These
suits improve a swimmers speed by as much as
7.5 by reducing the drag in the water, as
compared to the old-fashioned human flesh.
Shark skin close-up
Solving Natures Mysteries
The Wright brothers
MimickingNatural SystemsForA MoreSustainable
The forest/woodland habitat on the Nature
Centers grounds is by its very nature a
self-sustaining, closed loop system. Can we
get ideas from how a forest works to become more
self-sustaining ourselves?
Filters will recycle most of the water used
This retrofit will reduce electricity and water
consumption by 90 percent and natural gas use by
80 percent. Greenhouse gas emissions will be cut
by 50 percent to 75 percent.
An example of systems biomimicry is the proposed
new potato/corn chip factory being developed by
Frito-Lay in Arizona.
The factory will burn the leftover sludge to
create methane gas to run the plants boiler
Solar concentrators behind the plant will
generate solar power
The estimate for total human performance at 100
million MIPS (million instructions per
second). Deep Blue, the chess machine that
bested world chess champion Garry Kasparov in
1997, used specialized chips to process chess
moves at a the speed equivalent to a 3 million
MIPS universal computer. This is 1/30 of the
estimate for total human performance. Garry
Kasparov beat Deep Blue with a very close, 2 -1 )
What product might be created that mimics the
human brain?
Ant Foraging and Communications Technology
Ants work together in support of their collective
nest. Individually, ants may be stupid, but put
enough of them together and they manage to build
nests, grow fungus as food, farm other insects,
and even weave their own shelters. Scientists are
creating computer programs that mimic the
behavior of ants to find novel, efficient ways of
tackling tricky computational and organizational
problems. When ants forage, they randomly wander
the forest or jungle floor and lay a trail for
nest-mates to lead them to a source of food.
Many individual ants may discover different
routes to the same food but the shortest path
that leads to it will have the strongest
concentration of pheromone, a chemical indicator
laid down by the ants.
Rhino horns were the idea behind developing
self-healing material that is both
compressively and laterally strong
What products might be created that mimics a
rhinoceroses horn?
What products might be created that mimics a
geckos foot?
NASA has been working on micro-robotics as a
future use in space travel
Can we learn anything from studying the
micro-workings of a dragonfly
It turns out Nature is FULL of good ideas for how
to solve human challenges!
What possibilities can you imagine?
What creatures will inspire you?
Can YOU look to nature For inspiration?
Here are Some Ways to Start
  • Go take a Hike!
  • Sit quietly outside and OBSERVE
  • Ask questions
  • Stay in School
  • Read books about the natural world
  • Do research on your favorite creature and all its
    cool functions, for yourself!
  • Go to college and study Biology and Design

Remember, the world is in your hands
Lets see what we can learn from mother nature..