Nature has been inspiring mankind from time in memorial. Everything that we see today started off as an offshoot of nature’s magnificent design and creation. Over time, mankind has modified and super-charged the design to meet the demand with supply. This has had a chain reaction in the environmental impacts, and the original design inspired by nature is lost. In more recent times, companies recognising the power of harnessing nature’s design and using clever manipulations can upscale it. The term “Biomimicry” is the new world’s attempt to go back to nature to mimic the design for environmental sustainability and cost reduction.
A Classic Example – The Eastgate Building
Opened in 1996 and standing at a height of 78m (256 feet), The Eastgate Building is the first self-cooling building in the world. Based in Zimbabwe, this structure was created by architect Mick Pearce, who used the African Termite mounds as his inspiration. The Eastgate Building consists of two buildings that are connected by a large atrium that is covered by a glass canopy. The Eastgate’s exterior is covered in vegetation and shades that prevent sunlight from heating its walls and windows.
Inside the rooms of the Eastgate complex, there are vents that direct hot air. These vents connect to a shaft in the middle, which transports the hot air towards the chimneys where they are expelled. The structure is constantly fed with cool air throughout the day by using fans that are located in the first floors, this help regulates the air and building temperature.
Because of this design, the Eastgate centre uses less than 10% of the energy that is required by a similar sized building. It is due to this self-cooling design of the building that the Eastgate owners have saved approx. 3.5 million dollars on air-conditioning alone.
Biomimicry in Robotics
In recent months, biomimicry has transformed and evolved into a favourite amongst robot enthusiasts. The skeletal structure and muscle movement of some of nature’s finest beings, robots are built to mimic movement and precision. There are three kinds of animals that are leading the world in its Biomimicry transformation. They are birds, reptiles and insects.
The wing structure of birds are studied and researched to understand the exact flight pattern. The bodies and bone structure of insects are excellent subjects too. When implemented in today’s world design, flying objects such as drones and aircrafts are benefited. Drones that are developed with biomimicry-based design, are shown to fly higher and are responsive to accurate commands as well. Their flight patterns are also more fluid and “bird-like”.
Reptiles are paving the way for design with their amphibious abilities. Robots that are autonomous and require to work underwater are designed based on the fluid movements and muscle structure of reptiles. Their ability to climb walls, swim and tread land at a fast pace makes them jack of all trades. Harnessing their design in robotics can greatly help in times of struggle and to save the environment too.