The San Diego Zoo just cut the ribbon on the Global Center for Bioinspiration, which will specialize in figuring out ways to bring nature-created ideas into our everyday lives. The concept of biomimicry has been around since the days of Da Vinci, who took a keen interest in birds because he wanted develop a flying machine. The BBC adds:
[Da Vinci’s] device never took off, but the Wright brothers did manage to build the first aeroplane in 1903 - after years of observing pigeons.
Probably one of the most notable nature-inspired technologies is the well-known hook-and-loop fastener, Velcro, which copies the tiny hooks on the surface of burrs.
Public radio station KPBS spoke with the center’s managing director Larry Stambaugh, who shares:
One example of biomimicry comes from the morpho butterfly, whose brilliant blue wings are due to a structural pattern that reflects blue light. Stambaugh said Qualcomm has used that pattern to create more vivid colors on its cell phone screens.