We have a symbiotic relationship with nature. Not only does it provide for us but also inspires us. People find answers when they are in the lap of nature. Creative people swear by it. Apart from the indirect inspiration by being in nature, there are many examples where we have taken direct inspiration from animals around us. After all, nature has been solving problems for millions of years and only the best ideas thrive in the natural world. Let us look at some of them.
Woodpeckers inspired better black boxes that survive mechanical shocks that come with airplane crashes
Kingfisher inspired scientists in Japan when they were struggling to deal with the sonic boom (which leads to noise pollution) caused by the high speed of the bullet train
Mosquitoes are inspiring us to make pain free (almost) injections
Termite colonies on efficient heat distribution and ventilation in dense populations
The fins of humpback whales helped us design efficient turbines and pumps
Velcro was inspired by tiny hooks on the burrs surface that latch on to any surface
Bird safe glass that was inspired from the spider’s web
Fireflies inspired brighter LED bulbs
The ability of mussels to attach themselves on wet surfaces inspired a better adhesive
Humming Birds are inspiring better helicopter technology
Butterfly wings are inspiring anti counterfeit technology which is better than holograms
Camel toes are inspiring better tyres for use in sand and on Mars
The shark skin and its ability to stay clean inspired better ships
The most popular story has been how birds have always fascinated us and inspired us to take flight.
There is a very good podcast from BBC – 30 animals that made us smarter with many more amazing examples like these.
It is said that if you want a better answer, you need to ask a better question. We should also add that we need to look around us, not only for inspiration but for the solutions to our problems as well.