Published By: Rinks

Science inspired by nature: Here are 5 things we see everyday that are actually technologies borrowed from mother nature

Check out some everyday technologies that are inspired by nature, and discover how the natural world shapes our modern innovations.

Nature has long been a source of inspiration for scientific and technological advancements. Many innovations we use daily are modelled after natural phenomena and organisms. Here are some remarkable examples of how nature has influenced technology. Read on to know them all!

Velcro: Inspired by Burrs

Velcro is a universal fastening system found in clothing, shoes, and countless other products. Its invention was inspired by the way burrs stick to animal fur and clothing. In 1941, Swiss engineer George de Mestral noticed the tiny hooks on burrs that latched onto loops in fabric and fur. This observation led to the development of Velcro, consisting of two strips: one with small hooks and the other with loops. This simple yet effective mechanism mimics the natural hooking system of burrs.

Bullet Trains: Inspired by Kingfisher Birds

The design of Japan's Shinkansen bullet trains was influenced by the kingfisher bird. The bird's streamlined beak allows it to dive into water with minimal splash, a feature that engineers sought to replicate to reduce the noise created when trains exited tunnels. By mimicking the kingfisher's beak, engineers redesigned the train's nose, resulting in reduced noise, increased speed, and improved energy efficiency.

Superhydrophobic Surfaces: Inspired by Lotus Leaves

Lotus leaves have an extraordinary ability to repel water and remain clean, a phenomenon known as the lotus effect. This is due to the microscopic structure of their surface, which minimises contact with droplets. Scientists have replicated this effect to create superhydrophobic surfaces for a variety of applications, including self-cleaning windows, water-resistant clothing, and non-stick coatings.

Airplane Wing Design: Inspired by Birds

Birds have long been a model for aerodynamics, influencing the design of aeroplane wings. Engineers study the shape and movement of bird wings to improve lift, reduce drag, and enhance flight efficiency. One notable example is the winglet, a small, upturned extension at the tip of an aeroplane wing, which reduces air turbulence and improves fuel efficiency. This concept is derived from the way birds such as eagles and albatrosses minimise drag with the shape of their wings during flight.

LED Lights: Inspired by Fireflies

Fireflies are known for their bioluminescent glow, which they use for communication. The efficiency of their light production has inspired improvements in LED technology. Researchers have studied the structure of firefly lanterns, particularly the jagged scales on their abdomens, which enhance light emission. By mimicking these natural structures, scientists have developed more efficient LEDs with higher brightness and lower energy consumption.

Nature's ingenuity provides a blueprint for many of the technologies we use today. From Velcro to LED lights, these innovations demonstrate how closely observing and understanding natural processes can lead to remarkable advancements. As we continue to face new challenges, looking to nature for solutions will remain a valuable strategy for technological development.