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  • Hi Alex here. In today's video we're going to talk about biomimicry. What is it?

  • Bio means life; Mimicry means imitate; so biomimicry is the practice of imitating life.

  • It looks to nature to provide inspiration and direction to sustainably

  • solve our most pressing challenges. It is innovation inspired by nature.

  • Human beings are clever. We've created city's, economies and whole societies

  • but at the same time and without meaning to

  • we've also created massive sustainability challenges for future generations

  • and ourselves. Biomimicry is a way to address these problems by creating

  • policies, products and processes that are adapted to life on Earth. The idea goes like this...

  • Plants, animals and microbes are amazing. They have spent billions of years

  • engineering and testing ways to thrive on the planet.

  • Three point eight billion years to be precise. That's a lot of research and development!

  • After all this R&D, what did not work does not exist anymore and what surrounds us

  • has learned to survive. Solutions to challenges large and small are all around us.

  • We just need to look. Here are two examples:

  • Sustainable energy provision is a massive sustainability challenge. The race is on

  • to find economically viable sustainable energy solutions. Biomimicry asks

  • "what could we learn from nature that could help us produce sustainable energy or make more

  • efficient the current alternative technologies that are already out there?"

  • Seemingly large and unwieldy humpback whales display surprising agility in the water.

  • This is due mainly to their flippers which have large irregular bumps

  • called "tubercules" across their leading edges. Inspired by these flippers, a company

  • called WhalePower has developed turbine blades with bumps called tubercules

  • on the leading edge. These blades promise greater efficiency in many applications

  • from wind turbines to hydroelectric turbines,

  • to irrigation pumps, to ventilation fans. In fact, using these blades to catch wind

  • could provide up to 20% increased efficiency, making this type of

  • alternative energy competitive with other energy sources.

  • Thank you humpback whales! Here is another example of Biomimicry in action.

  • The Shinkansen bullet train is one of the fastest trains in the world. Offering high-speed

  • travel between several of Japan's metropolitan areas, it used to travel

  • over 200 miles per hour.

  • But every time the train emerged from a tunnel, air pressure changes made a

  • sonic boom like a large thunderclap causing people one quarter mile away

  • who lived along the train line to complain.

  • Japan has strict noise pollution laws so this had to be solved.

  • The train's chief engineer was a dedicated birdwatcher.

  • He asked himself: "is there something in nature that travels quickly

  • and smoothly between two different mediums?"

  • The Kingfisher dives from the air into water to catch fish and produces almost no splash at all

  • compared to similar sized birds or animals. Modelling the front end of the train

  • after the beak of Kingfishers resulted in a quieter train,

  • one that uses 15 percent less electricity while traveling 10 percent faster.

  • By emulating nature, the bullet train designers were able to solve

  • an important problem.

  • Imagine what other problems might be solved by turning to the world around us and asking...

  • what would nature do?

  • Check out and to learn more about

  • this exciting practice of innovation inspired by nature

  • as well as stories and examples.

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  • thank you for watching.

Hi Alex here. In today's video we're going to talk about biomimicry. What is it?

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B2 train sustainability nature energy sustainable bullet train

Biomimicry (explained with drawings & examples)

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    Christine posted on 2016/09/25
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