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Technologies Inspired by Nature

June 21, 2010

I’m always interested in the ideas of technologies that are inspired by nature – and not just one feature or item, but by technologies that take on ecological principles to better interact with their environment and look to sustainability. With that in mind, I was reading about some new technologies around the corner… (all from Economist issue June 12th-18th 2010)

  • ambient power – this is the idea that you can use existing ambient broadcasts to power devices; also know as energy scavenging.  We already have sensors that are powered by a small microwave transmitter that converts the waves into power.  As the power-needs of devices drop… this could really take off.  It’s inspired by nature as nature does not do waste – the waste or unused products from one process/species are always used by others; whether symbiotically or not…
  • vegetarian machines – EATR is a program to build an Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot – a robot that can eat on the move and does not need to return to base to refuel.  This is very nature-style; as most of natures denizens can eat on the move and can scavenge from the local ecosystem for fuel (aka ‘food’).
  • self-repairing metal – The idea here is to seed the coatings of metal with microscopic capsules that contain restorative liquids, so when the metal is damage, the broken capsules leak protective fluid.  It’s a bit like the clotting of human skin wounds by blood components that react to the air – but while this new idea is clever – it’s only a first step to self-healing.

There is more on this theme here…

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