Biomimicry: When Tech and Birds Merge

Like most graphic artists, I often look to nature for inspired solutions to a design problem, and we are not the only clan to do so. Professionals interested in using the tried and tested strategies of mother earth to inform their work are many and varied. Architects, engineers and even medical professionals look to her, so much so that the practise has coined its own term: Biomimicry.

According to a website by the same name, Biomimicry can be formally defined as a strategic approach to innovation that provides sustainable solutions to problems through mimicking the patterns and structures found in nature.

As a young designer, I believe learning about these strategies can be invaluable and so invite you to join in as I make my discoveries. This week we’re kicking off by exploring some avian inspiration in biomimicry.

Optimizing the Fastest Train in the World

Due to the shape of its beak, the Kingfisher inspired the front-end modeling of the Shinkansen Bullet Train. This made it not only quieter, but 10% faster.

Reducing Airline Fuel Consumption

We all know that migrating birds experience less drag by flying in a V-formation, and so increase their distance covered. Now researchers at Standford University have found that the same principles can be applied to commercial airlines, saving thousands of gallons of fuel and cutting greenhouse emissions in the process.

Combining Strength and Space

Bird bones are peculiar in that they’re filled with large amounts of hollow spaces, yet still maintain their strength through a unique structural layering. The result is an impact-resistant and extremely lightweight design that have been applied to cars, buildings and even shoes.

By learning more about biomimicry, my hope is that readers will be inspired to marvel at the complexity and resourcefulness of nature, and to keep in mind that the solutions are all around us.