How Mother Nature Helps with Invention

Procrastination 1

Image by fatedsnowfox via Flickr

When I woke up today, my 5 year old (yes, he just had a birthday!) greeted me with a, “meow meow meow.” I promptly replied, “meow meow meow, meow.” We were speaking to each other using our secret cat language. The first set of meows means, “I love you” and my reply was, “I love you, too.” Funny thing is we sometimes slip into speaking cat in public without even knowing it. When you think about it, speaking cat is pretty odd. Or is it?

My 5-year old has been fascinated with animals since he was a little tyke. He loves to mimic animals, studies their behaviors, and even creates interesting observations about animals. Not too long ago he was watching me clean the house when he said, “Hey, when you squirt that spray bottle it looks like Gussie (our chocolate lab) sneezing.” Although I never took the time to think about it, a spray bottle does mimic sneezing.

In fact there are lots of ways that Mother Nature helps with invention. The science of designing products and solutions leveraging nature is called biomimicry. Biomimicry is an innovation method that draws inspiration from nature. The next time your kid imitates your pet, encourage it. You never know, he/she may be onto the next big invention. Take a look at some examples of biomimicry in everyday products:

Designing the nose of a bullet train to resemble a kingfisher’s bill helps lower the noise level of the train exiting a tunnel:

Shinkansen Bullet Trains in Oi Rail Yard

Image by ykanazawa1999 via Flickr

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)

Image by Koshyk via Flickr

Picking burrs off a dog’s coat leads to the invention of Velcro:

A burr. This fruit attatches to animal fur via...

Image via Wikipedia

Velcro, the invention for which de Mestral is ...

Image via Wikipedia

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