Ask nature

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

It's not ready yet, so this is premature, but at least I can say you heard about it here first... is a database being prepared by the Biomimicry Institute of Montana that will allow users to explore the natural world for solutions to problems that people are trying to solve. That's what biomimicry is.

For example, Columbia Forest Products is using an adhesive in plywood that it learned about from the blue mussel. In experiments, they've boiled the wood for two hours, which warped the wood but good but the bond didn't break.

Another one: The Japanese company Teijin Fibers makes Morphotex, a textile that has color but no dyes. The structure of its fibers allows color to appear. They got the idea from peacocks. There are, actually, a lot of examples of natural-world solutions being applied in products and buildings, but that's a different post, I think.

For now, go check out the beginnings of — you can enroll as a beta tester, if you want — and when it goes live next month, during GreenBuild in Boston, you'll be able to ask it how nature gathers water from fog, or how energy can be stored in proteins. As a practical matter, this might be a tool most of use to architects, designers, and engineers, but c'mon, isn't this stuff just wicked interesting?

(Source for this info: Dayna Baumeister of the Biomimicry Guild.)

Author and wellness innovator Michael Prager helps smart companies
make investments in employee wellbeing that pay off in corporate success.
Video | Services | Clients