Inspiration From Even the Smallest of Species

When I was a kid I used to go camping once a year at Camp Wenonah in Winona, MN.  Being able to enjoy the beauty of nature was amazing but, it did make one appreciate the invention of insect repellant.  That eagerness that I and so many others had to get away from these bugs had set a precedent for me.  So when I came to learn that these things that we so desired to get away from were now being studied for the benefit of sustainable design I was in shock.  I watched this video with Janine Benyus titled 12 Sustainable Design Ideas from Nature about biomimicry.  The video didn’t interest me at all but, what did catch my attention was when she said “there can be 80 million lotuses in a square kilometer and yet they don’t collide with one another; and yet we have we have 3.6 million car collisions a year.”  This ability that the lotuses have that allows them to avoid collision is called lobula giant movement detector also known as LGMD.  The University of Newcastle is conducting research to mimic this behavior by creating a collision avoidance circuit.  Now this is something.  I can’t even imagine what an impact like this would have on our society.   What would happen to all the insurance companies now that collisions won’t happen?  Would these be considered the new smart cars?  Would we even have to drive ourselves anymore or would these cars be like something seen in the movies?  Is this even something that can actually be mimicked?  I think that if this research is success in that aspect, sustainable design will be making a move in the right direction.



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