Nature is the greatest inventor; it continuously evolves and adapts to work in synergy within itself and its surroundings. Biomimicry is the practice of imitating, mimicking or taking inspiration from nature and applying it to design, inventions or engineering as a problem-solving mechanism. Countless of the greatest creators have taken insight and been influenced by natures capabilities. After all, nature teaches us that to succeed you must be willing to innovate and always look to the future. Now, let’s look at some of the most interesting ways in which biomimicry has been a source of inspiration.
Birds are great sources of inspiration in biomimetic design. Most famously, birds have been the driving influence behind the initial inventions that have made human flight a reality. Leonardo DaVinci, one of the most famous inventors and artists in the history of humankind rendered the first invention to explore the potential of human flight. He called it the Ornithopter, although it never became a reality it was a major inspiration to inventors that followed. Most famously the Wright Brothers, who were the first to fly a heavier-than-air powered machine in a controlled flight. These inspirations led to the developments and technologies that are still present in the air today.
Planes aren’t the only transportation that birds have influenced, another great example of biomimicry in engineering are Japan’s bullet trains, the Shinkansen. 30 years ago, engineers ran into a problem with these trains, the high speed in which they travelled caused a big sound disturbance whenever the train would exit a tunnel, the force of this was so strong, that the repeated disturbance started to damage the structures of the tunnels.
Engineers realized that the rounded nose of the train was to blame for these issues. That is when they found an unlikely inspiration: The Kingfisher, a bird that has a slender beak which allows it to move through air with ease. The same bird silhouette was applied to the Shinkansen, solving the sound issues, becoming the unexpected solution to an engineering flaw.
One of the most talked about examples of biomimicry is Velcro. Swiss inventor George De Mistral was inspired to create Velcro while walking his dog in the countryside. He noticed that every time they would go for a walk little seeds or burrows would get stuck in his dog’s hair and his pants. He decided to study these seeds and discovered that its spikes had a hook shape at the end that would latch on to certain surfaces. Velcro works by pressing two surfaces together, one with hooks that mimic those of the burrows and another with thin hair-like fibers that mimic the dog’s hair. Such a revolutionary material originating from such a small part of nature.
One of the most successful ways in which biomimicry was applied in architecture is the Eastgate Center in Zimbabwe. The designer, Mick Pearce, studied termite dens, and observed the great ability they had to regulate and maintain interior temperatures all through a ventilation system of cooling chimneys and tunnels. He applied an imitation of this system when building the 333,000 square foot Eastgate Center, which thanks to this biomimicking innovation uses 90% less energy compared to other buildings. It is designed with cooling chimneys that draw in cold air at nighttime, collecting it to keep the building cool throughout daytime.
At DF18+ we believe in nature, but most importantly, we believe in science. Just like nature inspired all these iconic creations, we are also inspired by nature and how we can take it to the next level. Our brand explores the powerful potential of merging nature and science together to achieve code breaking bio-engineered results. Finding ways in which science and nature can work synergistically with our skin to reach the most innovative skincare solutions.