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Friday, May 25, 2007

Like a Fish Takes To Water....

Biomimicry is the latest buzzword in engineering. Instead of creating artificial things that move away from nature, engineers are turning to this vast treasurehouse of innovation called Mother Nature to design new products. And Mother Nature's creations have withstood the test of time -- products of billions of years of evolution designed to survive against all odds! :)

So, researchers are turning to fish as inspiration for automotive design, Geckos' feet to design new-age non-sticky adhesives, termite mounds for a lesson in natural, ventilated building architecture, and the swirling motion of water and storms to design energy-efficient turbines.

While this is very interesting for purposes of environment conservation and energy efficiency, I do have my doubts about how far we can mimic nature. I am not sure that human engineers can ever excel Nature's engineering. Just reading about the design of our eyes will blow away any of your doubts on that score..:) (I did a little research on this recently. I've got dry-eye syndrome which just gives me nasty headaches, neck aches, eye-aches and makes me plain cranky. That also accounts for my non-blogging of late.)

I've become obsessed with environment conservation lately. We, humans, have become adept at ruining ourselves and nature in a quixotian quest for "improvement". Maybe we can each do our part in also reversing some of that damage to Mother Earth.

I might be a "global citizen" vis-a-vis the environment but I am still a Dravidian at heart and I can't resist a bit of Dravidian rhetoric a la Tamil politicians. When I first read this article on biomimicry, the words of Kavichakravarthy Kannadasan were the first that popped into my head:

"பறவையை கண்டான் விமானம் படைத்தான்
பாயும் மீன்களில் படகினை கண்டான்
எதிரொலி கேட்டான் வானொலி படைத்தான்
எதனை கண்டான் பணம்தனை படைத்தான்?"

அன்றே சொன்னார் கண்ணதாசன்...

3 comments:

Aravind said...

interesting..

SamY said...

hmm quite some while back I saw a program on discovery where the jap (or some chappai mooku group) found a new kind of paint mimicking the structures of a butterfly's wing ... they hope that they could replace conventional paint (reducing the industrial waste) by mimicking fabric / material which by vitrue of its micro structure would yield vibrant colours ... I wonder what would this cost in liew of industrial waste

** I've become obsessed with environment conservation lately. We, humans, have become adept at ruining ourselves and nature in a quixotian quest for "improvement".

I believe every organism does. Its just that we can do it to a much larger extent given to out intellect and virus like proliferation :)

Subha said...

aravind, thanks

samy, i don't see any other species "ruining" anything as they evolve..:)