This is astounding. I have heard of bio-mimicry before in our second year studio with Professor Katrina, but until now I guess I have sort of taken it for granted. I assigned it to aesthetics and buildings only, without letting it expand to where it truly fits: everywhere. In this talk, Jay Harman, President and CEO of Pax Scientific, starts off by giving several examples of elements found in nature that can impact our own products, or the way that we design buildings or pharmaceuticals, etc. One particularly fascinating chemical that exists in nature is hippopotamus sweat. It is a natural sun-block. It is waterproof, spreads on it’s own, and of course effectively blocks UV radiation. Companies are currently testing and engineering hippopotamus sweat to be used in human sunscreen to create a more effective radiation blocking cream. Why has this not been done before? In a sense, it is so simple. This knowledge has existed around us for hundreds, thousands of years. It works for our animal and plant friends, so why can it not work for us? Another pattern that Harman mentions is the vortex, a geometry found nearly everywhere in nature, the weather, our ears, seashells, and even a human skin pore. He notes that there are no straight lines in nature, yet we use nearly only straight lines in our architecture and designs.
We think as humans, that by going in a straight line, we are using the least amount of energy. Pax Scientific essentially “froze” a whirlpool and created a miniscule component to place in a massive tank of water, that processed and cleaned the water to make it potable and reduce energy consumption by about 80% as well. This component is now in application all over the world, and works in every installation. Apparently, copying nature actually works.
My one concern, particularly with chemicals is the question of whether or not something that works for a hippopotamus can work for us? Will we have adverse reactions? How much of an adaption do we have to make before our creations are basically synthetic?
Harman, J. (2015, February 9). Why Biomimicry Will Shape the Future of Design. Retrieved April 6, 2015, from http://www.greenbiz.com/video/why-biomimicry-will-shape-future-design