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Biomimicry – Growing Green With Nature By John Mancuso Director of Naturalist Education and Graphics Greenburgh Nature Center.

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Presentation on theme: "Biomimicry – Growing Green With Nature By John Mancuso Director of Naturalist Education and Graphics Greenburgh Nature Center."— Presentation transcript:

1 Biomimicry – Growing Green With Nature By John Mancuso Director of Naturalist Education and Graphics Greenburgh Nature Center

2 Introduction They’re all examples of things that have inspired people to develop new products to meet human needs. What do a gecko, a burr, a kingfisher, a termite mound and a lily pad all have in common? The process of looking to nature as the inspiration for innovation is called “Biomimicry.”

3 A Closer Look [Bi-o-MIM-ic-ry – from the Greek bios, life and mimesis, imitation] Biomimicry as a concept is based on the belief that we can find the solutions to all our needs as passengers on Planet Earth by learning from the plants, animals and natural processes that are all around us.

4 How Does Nature Work? Nature … runs on sunlight… that’s why we call it the “solar system” uses only the energy it needs… and stores the rest fits form to function… consider the lilies of the field recycles everything… what happened to all those leaves that fell in the forest last fall? rewards cooperation … like nectar for honeybees banks on diversity… e pluribus Unum demands local expertise… knowing what’s at hand curbs excesses from within… the essence of sustainability taps the power of limits… optimizing not maximizing Janine M. Benyus

5 Can you tell what product was invented from this biomimicry lesson?

6 Those hooks on the burr plant gave the idea to create VELCRO

7 Solving Nature’s Mysteries Energy – The Mighty Power of Leaves Leaves convert sunlight into energy. Solar cells convert sunlight directly into electricity (energy). Basically, when light strikes the cell, a certain portion of it is absorbed within the semiconductor material. This energy is then formed into an electrical current.

8 Biomimicry - Solar Energy

9 Sharkskin – Nature’s Speedo At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, 28 out of 33 gold medalists wore Speedo’s Fastskin Allovers. These suits improve a swimmer’s speed by as much as 7.5% by reducing the drag in the water, as compared to the old-fashioned human flesh. Shark skin close-up

10 Solving Nature’s Mysteries The Wright brothers

11 Mimicking Natural Systems For A More Sustainable Future The forest/woodland habitat on the Nature Center’s grounds is by its very nature a self-sustaining, “closed loop” system. Can we get ideas from how a forest works to become more self-sustaining ourselves?

12 An example of systems biomimicry is the proposed new potato/corn chip factory being developed by Frito-Lay in Arizona. This retrofit will reduce electricity and water consumption by 90 percent and natural gas use by 80 percent. Greenhouse gas emissions will be cut by 50 percent to 75 percent. Solar concentrators behind the plant will generate solar power Filters will recycle most of the water used The factory will burn the leftover sludge to create methane gas to run the plant’s boiler

13 What product might be created that mimics the human brain? The estimate for total human performance at 100 million MIPS (million instructions per second). Deep Blue, the chess machine that bested world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997, used specialized chips to process chess moves at a the speed equivalent to a 3 million MIPS universal computer. This is 1/30 of the estimate for total human performance. Garry Kasparov beat Deep Blue with a very close, 2 -1 )

14 Ants work together in support of their collective nest. Individually, ants may be “stupid,” but put enough of them together and they manage to build nests, grow fungus as food, farm other insects, and even weave their own shelters. Scientists are creating computer programs that mimic the behavior of ants to find novel, efficient ways of tackling tricky computational and organizational problems. When ants forage, they randomly wander the forest or jungle floor and lay a trail for nest-mates to lead them to a source of food. Many individual ants may discover different routes to the same food but the shortest path that leads to it will have the strongest concentration of pheromone, a chemical indicator laid down by the ants. Ant Foraging and Communications Technology

15 What products might be created that mimics a rhinoceroses horn? Rhino horns were the idea behind developing self-healing material that is both compressively and laterally strong

16 What products might be created that mimics a gecko’s foot? ?

17 Can we learn anything from studying the “micro-workings” of a dragonfly NASA has been working on micro- robotics as a future use in space travel

18 It turns out Nature is FULL of good ideas for how to solve human challenges!

19 What creatures will inspire you? What possibilities can you imagine?

20 Can YOU look to nature For inspiration?

21 Here are Some Ways to Start Go take a Hike! Sit quietly outside and OBSERVE Ask questions Stay in School Read books about the natural world Do research on your favorite creature and all its cool functions, for yourself! Go to college and study Biology and Design

22 Remember, the world is in your hands… Let’s see what we can learn from mother nature..

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