Biomimicry – The impossibility of beating 3.8 billion years of Research and Development


Solutions where we live?

Engineers are trained to use processes to find viable resolutions to problems. Consider if a pool of tested “solutions” in place we could use?

During my time as an undergraduate in engineering at the University of Delaware I learned the design process as defining a problem, creating possible suggestions and iterating until the proposed solution solved the issue you were seeking to solve. A problem is a situation in which action is required and difficulty is encountered because the path to take is not known.  There must be more than a requirement for action, there must also be some impediment, some difficulty, some doubt or uncertainty about the correct steps to take. Therefore, as a part of the process collaboration is required as a part of determining proposed answers. What if a better way existed?

Why we cannot beat 3.8 billion years of research – Biomimicry

I attended an event sponsored by the Women in Clean Tech and Sustainability hosted at ABB facility in San Jose, California on the topic of biomimicry. For those unfamiliar with biomimicry the approach seeks solutions by mimicry of nature strategies.  The point was raised that no laboratory on the planet could match the 3.8 Billion years of Research and Development nature has conducted perfecting resolutions to its problems.

During the lecture portion of the event examples were presented to how the natural design of a spider web was used to create a window visible to birds in flight.  The current installed windows did not have ability to be seen by birds resulting in death due to strikes.

An example of the benefits of natural strategies noted a solar panel and a leaf perform the same function in producing power from the sun but one damages its environment (silicon in panel) and the other does not (Photosynthesis).

The new source for possible answers

The major takeaway I left the meeting with was the idea the cure to many our issues we seek answers for, in some cases, may lie within the world we live in. Perhaps this system of resolution is worth a look.