What is Biomimicry:
Biomimicry (which derived from the words bio, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning imitate) is a design process which looks for sustainable solutions by imitating nature’s patterns and strategies which have been tested over time. An example is studying a leaf to create a better solar cell. The main idea is that nature, imaginative by necessity, has already solved many of the problems that we are struggling with, such as energy, food production, transportation, non-toxic chemistry, climate control, packaging and many more.
The Bullet Train:
The Shinkansen Bullet Train which belongs to the West Japan Railway Company is the fastest train in the world which can travel up to 200 miles per hour.
While they were designing the bullet train, they had a massive problem. The train was very noisy. Every time the train came out from the tunnel, the air pressure changed which resulted in large thunder claps. This noise caused residents a quarter of a mile away to complain.
The train’s chief engineer and a keen bird-watcher turned to nature to see if they could find something travels quickly and smoothly between two very different substances. They found out that the shape of a kingfisher’s beak was ideal for this situation. Their beaks were ideal because a kingfisher will dive into a body of water to catch a fish with very little splash.
Once they had copied the shape of the kingfisher’s beak, they modelled the front of the train from that design. Not only did this design result in a quieter train, it also made the train use 15% less electricity while travelling at a speed 10% faster than what it was originally designed for.
A cool site to go to which will give you more interesting examples of biomimicry is: http://www.asknature.org/
By Chris Stevenson