Janine Benyus speaks in her TED talk about finding solutions by watching nature. How does a kingfisher dive without causing a splash in the water, how does a shark repel bacteria? Solutions, found in the organisms all around us, can be used for elegant and innovative designs in harmony with nature.
“JR West, makers of high-speed bullet trains, found that when they entered tunnels the train built up pressure and created the equivalent of a sonic boom. Engineers looked at how the kingfisher entered the water and redesigned the train. It solved the problem of the tunnel noise, made the train 10% faster and 15% more efficient.
How does nature repel bacteria? The Galapagos shark swims slowly, but a pattern on its skin prevents bacteria adhering to it. Sharklet Technologies studied and adapted the pattern and found that it was better at keeping surfaces bacteria free than using anti-bacterial washes. Resistance to such cleaners is a significant problem as hospital-acquired infections kill more people in the US than AIDs, cancer and car crashes combined.
Taking a page from coral reefs, Calera has developed a technology that sequesters a half a ton of carbon dioxide for every ton of cement produced.”
Janine Benyus created the website AskNature where biological strategies are described for everyone, to create sustainable solutions by looking at nature.
Their goal is “to connect innovative minds with life’s best ideas, and in the process, inspire technologies that create conditions conducive to life”.