We’ve been turned on to biologist Janine Benyus since we saw her TED talk from a few years back. Her non-profit the Biomimicry Institute looks to nature for design solutions, not just in form, but in technology. Her talk consists of all types of sci-fi topics: mollusks that chow down on CO2, migrating birds that don’t bump into each other, bacteria-cleaning seaweed, leaves that act like detergent and whales working as wind turbines. Except those things are all real, and they’re concepts that her scientists have been honing as sustainable solutions to our problems. One application that might be coming soon to a desk near you is using butterfly iridescence to illuminate our computer monitors.
Here’s something that will rattle your brain today: Five naturally-occurring polymers make up the exoskeletons of all the insects on the planet, compared to the 300 fake ones that make up all our plastic bottles.
If this sounds like something you might be interested in exploring (and you should) Benyus holds seminars for designers and architects to learn how to bring biomimetic principles into your work.