DailyDirt: Inspired By Nature
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Why re-invent the wheel when you can copy from millions of years of evolution? Okay, so there aren't that many animals that use the wheel for locomotion, but there are plenty of other tricks that biology has figured out. By studying how insects fly, we could improve the designs of future flying robots, and there are some biological materials like spider webs and pearls that we still haven't been able to replicate exactly. Here are just a few other examples of how we're learning from biology.
- The internal structure of firefly lanterns contain sharp-edged scales that can increase the brightness of these bioluminescent insects by over 50%. Creating similar structures for LEDs could similarly improve the brightness of human-made lights, and understanding how these structures work could lead to further improvements. [url]
- Mosquitoes can fly during rainstorms even though a single raindrop carries enough force to kill them. Raindrops *can* actually be deadly to mosquitoes if they fly too low to the ground, but if they're hit above an altitude of 10 centimeters or so, they just fall with the raindrop until they can escape from it and continue flying. [url]
- Adding wings and tails to robots can help them stabilize their locomotion and improve their agility -- much like the effects of wings and tails for birds/lizards. The slo-mo videos of lizards and robots re-orienting in a mid-air fall could someday lead to an awesome hovercraft technology. [url]