by Muna Agwa

By definition, biomimicry is when products, systems or structures are designed to reflect things found in nature. Biomimicry has been used more recently to enhance the way things are designed, because nature can actually be a great teacher. In this article, I will explore unique products, structures, and systems that utilize biomimicry. Enjoy!

  1. Termite Mounds and Eastgate Centre
biomimicry examples termite mounds

In Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, the air conditioning system of the Eastgate Centre is designed to mimic that of a termites nest. In a termite’s nest, underground chambers are built to help maintain the cooler living conditions that the termites need. The Eastgate is designed to replicate this natural process with its noticeable pink chimneys that line the building’s spine. The chimneys direct hot hair out of the building much like a termite’s nest.

  1. The Kingfisher and the Shinkansen Train
Biomimicry: 9 Ways Engineers Have Been 'Inspired' by Nature
Image result for The Shinkansen Train

The nose of the Shinkansen train in Japan is modeled to look and behave like the beak of a Kingfisher bird. Kingfishers have beaks designed to slice through water without splashing so that they can surprise and capture their prey. Because the Shinkansen train copies the Kingfisher’s beak shape, it can slice through the air at 375 mph, and this makes it one of the fastest magnetic levitation trains in the world.

  1. Lotus and Water Repellents
Image result for lotus
Silic Introduces Hydrophobic, Self-Cleaning T-Shirts ...

Lotus flowers have the natural trait of ultra hydrocity, and this means that they are extremely resistant to water. Water cannot wet the lotus flower because of nanostructures that help keep their surface dry. This works through nanostructures on the leaves that reduce water’s adhesion to its surface. Hydrophobic repellents that are often used on clothes or car seats copy this pattern of nanostructures in order to be “self-cleaning.”

I hope you enjoyed reading about biomimicry in design!