Tech Inspired By Nature!

 2015-03-02                -Vandana Rao

Have you ever imagined how an airplane was invented? Today, scientists, engineers are trying to solve complex problems and come up with new inventions that could make human life much easier. But have we tried to look for a solution that already exists?

The minute entities that exist in nature have led to vast new inventions and discoveries.The basic inventions wouldn't have been possible if scientists or engineers hadn't paid attention to the way things work in nature.

I am pretty sure that you will be awestruck when you get to know the following things about how nature inspired technology and led to many sophisticated and incredible inventions:

★ The brain is so complex that even the fastest supercomputer cannot simulate it in real time. Artificial Intelligence is a term thrown around for decades. They are just machines that run on explicit instructions, but they cannot think for themselves. Recently, scientists have tried to simulate a mouse brain that allows supercomputer to run the simulation in bursts of 10 seconds. But in future we may see computers solving complex engineering problems. How's that for a thought?

★ Swiss engineer Georges de Mestral was picking out burrs that got caught on his clothing and in his dog's fur. He placed a burr under a microscope and noticed that it had tiny barbs that allowed it to attach to passing creatures. The engineer came up with a brilliant plan . He created a material that used these tiny barbs as a fastening device. That material is what we now call Velcro.

★ Do you know that ants can help us design navigation systems for robots? Most robots either require a preprogrammed route or simply react to the environment whenever they encounter an obstacle. Very few can find their way from one point to another on their own. Some engineers are trying to overcome this problem by studying ants. Incredible, isn't it?

★ A group of scientists and engineers published a scientific paper in the Physics of Fluids journal. The team had built models of the pectoral flippers on a humpback whale. On one model they included Tubercles, the bumps you'd find on an actual whale's flipper. On another model they used a smooth surface. It's highly possible that we might soon see airplanes with bumpy wings? The team's findings suggest that nature has created an efficient device for traversing fluid environments. It might be foolish not to take advantage of these discoveries.

There are more examples of how nature guided tech world to follow and learn from it. Next time when you are posed with a complex problem, think out of the box like a Nature freak rather than thinking like a Tech geek!

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