When developers are creating new inventions and finding ways to innovate products and systems, they often overlook the greatest wealth of innovative ideas that we have available. The Earth is billions of years old and the biological life on this planet inherently evolve to develop the most effective and efficient characteristics in order to succeed in its relative ecosystem. In recent years, scientists and developers have turned to nature for inspiration in developing new technologies and innovating existing products. The concept of emulating the time-tested patterns and strategies of nature is known as ‘biomimicry’. Let’s look into some of the fascinating ways biomimicry has innovated the world around us.
The engineers at LG Electronics have looked to nature and found innovations that are revolutionizing the air conditioning industry. But how could forces found in nature impact an industry like air conditioning? One of the most important components in an air conditioning system is the fan. The fan is one of the elements that propels air through the system and keeps users comfortable. This is where biomimicry comes into play. The LG engineers were looking for a way to improve the efficiency of their air conditioner fans to increase power, reduce energy consumption and also reduce sound emission. They found the solutions they needed in the humps of humpback whale flippers and clam shells.
From the Sea to the Air
The humps on humpback whale flippers allow the flippers to glide smoothly and naturally through the water. This concept was applied to the suction side of air conditioner fans to reduce separation. The concept of the grooves in clam shells that keeps the clams from being swept up in waves and ocean currents was also applied to the fans. The grooves in the fans ultimately led to a reduction in air-flow loss and improved overall performance. With these biomimicry technologies, LG was able to increase the airflow rate by 10% and reduce energy consumption by 20% while reducing sound emission by 2dB. This is just one way in which biomimicry is innovating our world.
Sticking to Nature
Birds and Bullet Trains
From the Ground Up
There are many other applications where biomimicry is innovating technology and impacting our world. While the core idea of using elements found in nature to better our lives is not new, modern science is now embracing the concept in new ways that will change and improve the products we use and our lives. We can expect to see more biomimicry innovations in the future that will have profound effects on our lives.