Inspired by Nature

Certain plants (usually plants, huh, just thought about that) set my brain humming.

  1. Wild grasses in particular, though I have made few observations, so cannot show what I mean, I find especially inspiring, the way they grow up and then something exciting comes out of them, like a whole item was folded neatly inside a tube. I think of the packaway possibilities for small spaces in urban areas. I think of whether you could attach thin energy panels to retractable arms in high wind areas. There is one wild grass here that when it “blooms” (unsure if this is the correct term) looks like the laundry line tree we had when I was growing up, which makes me smile.

  2. This wee flowering bob had me folding paper and thinking of high rise buildings I’ve seen for quite some time. I don’t know why I think it looks like I should be able to origami it. I really like it and am offended on its behalf that it is listed as a “Maleza”.

  3. This little sedgey friend. I couldn’t decide if it was floating or held aloft by some structure, but I mulled it for days, wishing I could have picked one up to examine what was underneath the water; the standing water in which it grew was on a ruin and was just a few centimeters deep. I love it so much.

Do you ever find your brain humming or inspired by something you’ve observed?

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There’s an entire field about this. Look into Biomimicry/Biomimetics.

This is a really interesting field, but it does attract all sorts, from absolutely brilliant and innovative people to outright kooks, so definitely keep your critical assessment skills at the forefront why you looks over the biomimicry stuff.

Lotusan Self Cleaning Paint is an example of applying biomimetics. People noticed that lotus plants stayed clean and dry despite growing in muddy, wet areas. Research into the leaves and flowers revealed that this ability has to do with the surface structure and they figured out how to make a paint that mimics that surface, making it difficult for dirt and water to stick to the paint.

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There’s a water collecting technique now based on how desert beetles use their carapace morphology to collect water vapor to drink: https://www.science.org/content/article/could-desert-beetle-help-humans-harvest-water-thin-air#:~:text=To%20survive%20in%20the%20arid,wing%20case%20into%20its%20mouth.

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we are inspired by all the different ways seeds have evolved to disperse–some via wind, some as hitchhikers, some as food, etc. These differences and variations fill us with awe.

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Have you read The Triumph of Seeds by Thor Hanson? It’s an interesting book.

No never heard of it. Just checked and our library library has it but all copies are checked out. Will add it to our future shelf. Thanks!