The world is poorly designed. But copying nature helps. | Summary and Q&A

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November 9, 2017
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The world is poorly designed. But copying nature helps.

TL;DR

Biomimicry is the practice of imitating nature's designs and processes to create innovative and efficient products and systems.

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Key Insights

  • 🐦 The redesigned Shinkansen Bullet Train took inspiration from bird species such as owls, penguins, and kingfishers to reduce noise and improve efficiency.
  • 🎨 Biomimicry offers a promising approach to design by imitating nature's designs and processes.
  • 🥺 Mimicking nature's forms, processes, and ecosystems can lead to innovative and sustainable solutions.
  • 👨‍🔬 Designers can learn a lot from the natural world's billions of years of research and development.
  • 🥺 Collaboration between designers and biologists can lead to groundbreaking design solutions.
  • ❓ Biomimicry has the potential to revolutionize various industries, including transportation, healthcare, and renewable energy.
  • ⌛ Nature's designs and processes provide efficient and sustainable solutions that have already been tested by time.

Transcript

In 1989, Japan’s Shinkansen Bullet Train had a problem. It was fast — really fast — like, pushing 170 miles per hour fast. But every time it exited a tunnel — it was loud. The noise was coming from a variety of sources, but whenever a train sped into a tunnel, it pushed waves of atmospheric pressure through the other end. The air exited tunnels wit... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How did the redesigned Shinkansen Bullet Train reduce noise levels?

The redesigned train took inspiration from owls' feathers to reduce noise generated by the pantograph, and from penguins' smooth bodies to minimize wind resistance in the supporting shaft.

Q: How did the Kingfisher bird influence the design of the train's nose?

By mimicking the shape of a Kingfisher's beak, the train's nose design minimized pressure waves and significantly reduced splashing, resulting in a quieter and more efficient train.

Q: What is biomimicry?

Biomimicry is the practice of imitating nature's designs and processes to create innovative and sustainable solutions to human challenges.

Q: Why does Janine Benyus advocate for collaboration between designers and biologists?

Benyus believes that designers can benefit from understanding and mimicking nature's solutions, which can lead to more efficient and sustainable designs.

Q: How did the redesigned Shinkansen Bullet Train reduce noise levels?

The redesigned train took inspiration from owls' feathers to reduce noise generated by the pantograph, and from penguins' smooth bodies to minimize wind resistance in the supporting shaft.

More Insights

  • The redesigned Shinkansen Bullet Train took inspiration from bird species such as owls, penguins, and kingfishers to reduce noise and improve efficiency.

  • Biomimicry offers a promising approach to design by imitating nature's designs and processes.

  • Mimicking nature's forms, processes, and ecosystems can lead to innovative and sustainable solutions.

  • Designers can learn a lot from the natural world's billions of years of research and development.

  • Collaboration between designers and biologists can lead to groundbreaking design solutions.

  • Biomimicry has the potential to revolutionize various industries, including transportation, healthcare, and renewable energy.

  • Nature's designs and processes provide efficient and sustainable solutions that have already been tested by time.

  • The circular economy, inspired by ecosystems, aims to eliminate waste and create a closed-loop system for product reuse and upcycling.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • In 1989, Japan's Shinkansen Bullet Train faced a noise problem when exiting tunnels, leading to a redesign inspired by bird species such as owls, penguins, and kingfishers.

  • Biomimicry, the practice of imitating nature's designs and processes, can lead to significant improvements in speed, energy efficiency, and noise reduction.

  • Janine Benyus, author of the book "Biomimicry," advocates for designers to collaborate with biologists to solve problems by mimicking nature's solutions.

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