67 results for “Innovative Nostalgia”

How modern technology is inspired by the natural world

John A. Nychka
March 1st 2019

What do a kingfisher, cocklebur pods and a Namibian beetle have in common? Besides being living organisms, they have all served as inspiration for creative human technologies to solve challenging problems.

The kingfisher’s sleek beak spurred the streamlined nose design on high-speed trains in Japan. Cockleburs inspired the hook-and-loop fastener system Velcro. And the Namibian beetle’s back inspired a water-collection plant in the desert.

This is biomimicry. It is an approach to innovation, defined by the Biomimicry Institute as seeking: …

The bananaphone, part deux

Kelly Streekstra
March 15th 2018

Feeding our decades old bananaphone kidsplay, Nokia just reintroduced their banana phone. Once again, this shows that Nature is the most successful product of our time. We call this phenomenon Bio-mimic-marketing: using images of nature to market a product. Peculiar image of the week.…

19th Century Sculpture Seems to Be Holding a Smartphone

Jack Caulfield
January 31st 2018
Today's peculiar image comes from New York's Met Museum. No, the woman depicted in the sculpture isn't holding a smartphone!

FarmVille Turns into Real-Life Agriculture

Julie Reindl
March 16th 2017
A Japanese Start up brings Farmville back into real life by letting players grow physical food.

The Reinvention of Children’s Books

Mathilde Nakken
November 16th 2016
Why are children still learning to read from a book? Therefore Amazon is reinventing the children’s book in the form of an educational reading app, called Rapids.

2040: the Year We’ll Know How 2000 Was

Alejandro Alvarez
October 13th 2016
TThe Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows defines anemoia as the felling of nostalgia for a time you’ve never known. This word may not be frequently used, but it describes a common feeling.

Tangible Money in Digital Currency Era

Alejandro Alvarez
September 27th 2016
The Scrip, a new universal cash device is bringing back the old metallic sparkle of the money and mixing it with today’s technology in order to fill the deficiencies of our credit and debit cards.

Internet Open Daily from 7:00 to 22:30

Van Mensvoort
March 31st 2016
Symbol of the stalled development in the socialist state, or design for silence, quietude and meditation?

Wi-Fi Hotspots Take Over Old Payphones

Alessia Andreotti
January 26th 2016
New York City decided to definitely say goodbye to neglected payphones and replace them with Wi-Fi hotspots.

Listening to 3D Printed Records

Alexandra Bremers
November 4th 2015
Let's enjoy some 3D-printed records!
WP_Query Object ( [query] => Array ( [tag] => innovative-nostalgia [post_type] => post [post_status] => publish [orderby] => date [order] => DESC [category__not_in] => Array ( [0] => 1 )[numberposts] => 10 [suppress_filters] => )[query_vars] => Array ( [tag] => innovative-nostalgia [post_type] => post [post_status] => publish [orderby] => date [order] => DESC [category__not_in] => Array ( [0] => 1 )[numberposts] => 10 [suppress_filters] => [error] => [m] => [p] => 0 [post_parent] => [subpost] => [subpost_id] => [attachment] => [attachment_id] => 0 [name] => [pagename] => [page_id] => 0 [second] => [minute] => [hour] => [day] => 0 [monthnum] => 0 [year] => 0 [w] => 0 [category_name] => [cat] => [tag_id] => 157 [author] => [author_name] => [feed] => [tb] => [paged] => 0 [meta_key] => [meta_value] => [preview] => [s] => [sentence] => [title] => [fields] => [menu_order] => [embed] => [category__in] => Array ( )[category__and] => Array ( )[post__in] => Array ( )[post__not_in] => Array ( )[post_name__in] => Array ( )[tag__in] => Array ( )[tag__not_in] => Array ( )[tag__and] => Array ( )[tag_slug__in] => Array ( [0] => innovative-nostalgia )[tag_slug__and] => Array ( )[post_parent__in] => Array ( )[post_parent__not_in] => Array ( )[author__in] => Array ( )[author__not_in] => Array ( )[ignore_sticky_posts] => [cache_results] => 1 [update_post_term_cache] => 1 [lazy_load_term_meta] => 1 [update_post_meta_cache] => 1 [posts_per_page] => 10 [nopaging] => [comments_per_page] => 50 [no_found_rows] => )[tax_query] => WP_Tax_Query Object ( [queries] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [taxonomy] => category [terms] => Array ( [0] => 1 )[field] => term_id [operator] => NOT IN [include_children] => )[1] => Array ( [taxonomy] => post_tag [terms] => Array ( [0] => innovative-nostalgia )[field] => slug [operator] => IN [include_children] => 1 ))[relation] => AND [table_aliases:protected] => Array ( [0] => wp_term_relationships )[queried_terms] => Array ( [post_tag] => Array ( [terms] => Array ( [0] => innovative-nostalgia )[field] => slug ))[primary_table] => wp_posts [primary_id_column] => ID )[meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object ( [queries] => Array ( )[relation] => [meta_table] => [meta_id_column] => [primary_table] => [primary_id_column] => [table_aliases:protected] => Array ( )[clauses:protected] => Array ( )[has_or_relation:protected] => )[date_query] => [queried_object] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 157 [name] => Innovative Nostalgia [slug] => innovative-nostalgia [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 161 [taxonomy] => post_tag [description] => ‘Innovative Nostalgia’ is a design strategy that aims to smoothen technological change, by linking newfangled technologies with familiar phenomena. The hypothesis behind this design methodology is, that people will feel more comfortable with technological changes when they are wrapped in a recognizable packaging by referring to accepted objects, habits, values, traditions or intuitions. The ‘nostalgia’ can refer to a phenomenon from your youth, your grandparents life, or even the ancient history of humankind. [parent] => 0 [count] => 67 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 0 )[queried_object_id] => 157 [request] => SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS wp_posts.ID FROM wp_posts LEFT JOIN wp_term_relationships ON (wp_posts.ID = wp_term_relationships.object_id) WHERE 1=1 AND ( wp_posts.ID NOT IN ( SELECT object_id FROM wp_term_relationships WHERE term_taxonomy_id IN (1) ) AND wp_term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id IN (161) ) AND wp_posts.post_type = 'post' AND ((wp_posts.post_status = 'publish')) GROUP BY wp_posts.ID ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC LIMIT 0, 10 [posts] => Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 109065 [post_author] => 1961 [post_date] => 2019-03-01 07:00:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-01 06:00:35 [post_content] =>

What do a kingfisher, cocklebur pods and a Namibian beetle have in common? Besides being living organisms, they have all served as inspiration for creative human technologies to solve challenging problems.

The kingfisher’s sleek beak spurred the streamlined nose design on high-speed trains in Japan. Cockleburs inspired the hook-and-loop fastener system Velcro. And the Namibian beetle’s back inspired a water-collection plant in the desert.

This is biomimicry. It is an approach to innovation, defined by the Biomimicry Institute as seeking: “sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies.” There are many solutions in nature — and we are learning about more and more of them.

As a researcher in materials science and engineering, I have worked on a variety of different substances. These include biomaterials (implantable ceramics, dental ceramics and titanium alloys) and a variety of different coatings technologies (thermal barrier coatings in turbine engines, corrosion-resistant coatings and catalyst supports).

Biomimicry has helped my teams design solutions that we otherwise would likely not have explored. Inspiration has come from organisms themselves, how organisms make materials and how organisms work together. For example, based on structures observed on plant leaves, we have grown ceramic coatings at room temperature to make oil and water filters on paper and on copper mesh.

How biomimicry works

Without flying insects, birds and floating seeds would we have been able to create airplanes, gliders, parachutes or helicopters?

Watch a maple seed spin to the ground or a dandelion seed float through the air and I am sure you will start asking more questions.

Human beings are generally curious and observant and we have made many innovations by looking to the natural world for inspiration. We seek to understand and then we “copy” existing solutions. The process of biomimicry is also about being curious and observant. We follow a disciplined process to ask questions and seek answers by looking at what is already around in nature.

We first observe functions — what does the organism do? The function can be simple or complex: A dandelion seed floating through the air, or chemical signalling in the body to grow bone. We observe how an organism achieves such a function.

We then determine the mechanisms by which the functions are accomplished — we get to the chemistry and physics of the mechanisms. The final stage is to abstract the natural form, process or ecosystem into another purpose — to mimic for our own use.

Leaf coatings

It pays to pay attention. In the past, I had a research project to devise new ways to make structured catalysts (coatings that better enable chemical reactions.) The team was processing metal wire mesh — to produce ceramic hair-like structures onto which we were to deposit metallic nanoparticles.

We could fabricate the mesh, but the graduate student came to me one day and said that something “weird” was happening. He couldn’t get the nanoparticle precursor solution (the mixture of chemicals that helps to make the final product) to wet the treated wire mesh. The wire mesh was floating on the water-based liquid.

We did not understand what was going on, and so we looked at the structure in the microscope. We still didn’t understand, and so we looked to nature. I took a trip to our greenhouse on campus armed with a water bottle. The manager showed me a variety of plants that repelled water in fascinating ways, and I squirted water on them to see what happened.

Water drops do not wet the leaf surfaces of the Elegant Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia elegans) at all. Author provided

I looked at a variety of plants in the microscope, and found that sugar cane had a similar structure to the ceramic coating.

I was amazed, and it was the start of a new research direction for me; I wanted to figure out how to make coatings to mimic leaves.

Hydrophobic (water repelling) coatings, based on the structures of the waxes found on leaf surfaces, are used in many applications — from paints (such as Lotusan brand) to power-generation, where efficiency can be gained by controlling droplet formation in condensers and boilers. By paying attention to how nature behaves, and by getting down to the chemical and physical mechanisms, we are able to create bio-inspired solutions from other materials and for different applications.

Growing bone tissue

In high school, my friend told me about a bone defect in his leg — a big hole in his thigh bone. He was running and his thigh bone fractured, and he collapsed. He awoke in the hospital five centimetres shorter. Why? Because 25 years ago, bone defects couldn’t be repaired very easily and the damaged tissue had to be surgically removed. There was nothing bone-like that could be put in the damaged tissue’s place to grow new bone. His perfectly good leg had to be shortened too.

Today, because of biomimicry, we can repair and regenerate bone tissue — breaking your leg doesn’t necessarily mean you also become shorter! How can we do now what we couldn’t before? We have learned how the body grows bone tissue, and we have been able to induce bone growth by mimicking nature’s processes.

We can now make glass in a lab, implant it, and new bone will grow in its place. Three months later, there is no trace of the glass. It sounds a lot like the “Skele-Gro” potion from the Harry Potter series but without the vile taste! Our innovations were inspired by ourselves – after all, we too are part of nature.

Bioactive glass, a calcium phosphate based silica glass that stimulates material resorption and bone growth, is often used in dental applications for bone grafts. The material is placed in a bone defect and over time, under the stresses and the biological environment, the glass corrodes and signals bone cells (osteoblasts) to attach and proliferate at the surface and form new bone. The implanted glass is completely dissolved and replaced with new bone.

Biomimicry and the future

And what of the future? We are seeing and learning so much more about what happens in the natural world through time and sophisticated research studies that it is difficult to predict what we might learn in the future. However, as we learn more, we discover that we have made gross oversimplifications for many natural phenomena — so we need to remain curious and observant of the natural world and get down to the details, without losing sight of the entire system.

And, since people are pursuing brain machine interfaces, perhaps we may also consider pursing some other fantasies. Tsaheylu of the Na’vi people in the movie Avatar is “the bond” between different animals — a way to feel as one with the ability to act as one. Imagine if instead of mimicking nature we could become one with it instead. I wonder what other secrets we might learn from the kingfisher, cocklebur pods and the Namibian beetle.

Cover image: A kingfisher’s beak inspired the design of high-speed trains in Japan, through the process of ‘biomimicry,’ or human imitation of nature (via Reformed Perspective).

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

[post_title] => How modern technology is inspired by the natural world [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => modern-technology-inspired-natural-world [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-05 15:42:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-05 14:42:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=109065 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 80872 [post_author] => 1510 [post_date] => 2018-03-15 09:00:55 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-03-15 08:00:55 [post_content] => Feeding our decades old bananaphone kidsplay, Nokia just reintroduced their banana phone. Once again, this shows that Nature is the most successful product of our time. We call this phenomenon Bio-mimic-marketing: using images of nature to market a product. Peculiar image of the week. [post_title] => The bananaphone, part deux [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => banana [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-03-16 09:43:23 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-03-16 08:43:23 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=80872 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 80173 [post_author] => 1425 [post_date] => 2018-01-31 09:37:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-01-31 08:37:08 [post_content] => Today's peculiar image comes from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Take a second look. No, the woman depicted in the sculpture isn't holding a smartphone. If at first glance you thought she was, you wouldn't be alone. The sculpture, Erastus Dow Palmer's "The Indian Girl" (1856), actually depicts a Native American woman holding a crucifix. But in the last few years, visitors have had a quite different impression of the piece. In our smartphone-saturated world, it's hard to see a figure looking intently at an object in its hand without instantly assuming it's a phone. Looking at the past through the eyes of the present can have uncanny results!Source: Motherboard. Image: The Met [post_title] => 19th Century Sculpture Seems to Be Holding a Smartphone [post_excerpt] => Today's peculiar image comes from New York's Met Museum. No, the woman depicted in the sculpture isn't holding a smartphone! [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 19th-century-sculpture-smartphone [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-01-31 09:37:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-01-31 08:37:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=80173 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 71889 [post_author] => 1317 [post_date] => 2017-03-16 10:00:33 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-16 09:00:33 [post_content] => By taking a look at human evolution, we quickly notice that food gathering and production - also known as agriculture - has always been an important constant in our daily life, at least for most of our ancestors. With the industrialization of food this changed drastically and disconnected nine out of ten people from the production of the fuel that powers our bodies. Now that our "hunting ground" is the supermarket, we lost that connection with soil, animals, plants, seasons and climate, but also the direct link between labor and income.As our culture loves to romanticize about what once our nature was, it might seem a paradox that today we play FarmVille in our free time. Ten years ago, people started to virtually plant crops, feed animals and exchange harvest with their digital neighbors. All for the sake of fun, while our food is produced in enormous farm factories hundreds of kilometers away from where we life.Japanese Company Telefarm took the virtual farming to the next level in order to reconnect with the production of actual physical food. Enkaku Bokujo, or “Remote Farm”, is an online farming simulator that allows its players to rent a piece of virtual land that corresponds to a plot in the real world and lets you grow your own vegetables. By paying around 4.50 $ per square meter a month, you co-work with robotics that re-enact your online click in the physical world. You can then choose to either get the harvest for your own use or sell it to Telefarms vegetable market. To make the online farm more game-like, its creator introduced some challenges to face, such as bug plagues (of course just virtual once), which make the player earn extra coins by dealing good with those kind of situations.With an ever growing world population and more need for food, we need to reconsider the future of agriculture. Maybe this example gives us an startingpoint to do so.Source: Mirror. Image: Rocketnews [post_title] => FarmVille Turns into Real-Life Agriculture [post_excerpt] => A Japanese Start up brings Farmville back into real life by letting players grow physical food. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => real-life-farmville [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-03-15 16:13:07 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-15 15:13:07 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=71889/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 68243 [post_author] => 936 [post_date] => 2016-11-16 12:59:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-11-16 11:59:09 [post_content] => In today's rapidly moving society, even the biggest bibliophiles have problems finding the time to sit down with a good book. Though we never stop reading. Tons of digital letters cross our eyes daily, from email to Twitter feed. So, why are kids still learning to read from a book? Amazon is reinventing the children’s book in the form of an educational reading app called Rapids."Stories come alive, one message at the time" is the slogan of Rapids, aimed at children from seven to 12 years old. The app includes stories that can be read like a chat conversation. For example, you can find an adventures chat dialogue between two chickens, who even send images to each other. If the reader comes across an unknown word, the app will provide the definition. Rapids has also a feature called “Read to me”, which allows  a very robotic voice to read to the child. Imagine if Siri was in charge of reading you bedtime stories.The overall idea is to get kids reading and interacting in a way that feels natural and gives them confidence to read independently on a device they’re already familiar with. But critics asks if this app can really help kids develop a lifelong love of reading. The answers seems to be positive, after all we’re talking about an educational app. Experts, however, warn that increased screen time alone is harmful for children after a certain point.Does this new tech work better than existing reading tools? What is sure is that when you grow up with the notion that reading is fun, you are more likely to read novels when you are older. For now, we do not have to wave the traditional book goodbye. Surprisingly, this year Amazon also opened the doors of its first physical bookstore.Source: Wired. Image: Rapids [post_title] => The Reinvention of Children's Books [post_excerpt] => Why are children still learning to read from a book? Therefore Amazon is reinventing the children’s book in the form of an educational reading app, called Rapids. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => reinvention-childrens-book [to_ping] => [pinged] => http://fortune.com/2016/09/20/amazon-boston-bookstore/ [post_modified] => 2016-11-18 12:28:33 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-18 11:28:33 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=68243 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 67064 [post_author] => 874 [post_date] => 2016-10-13 16:24:43 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-13 14:24:43 [post_content] => The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows defines anemoia as the feeling of nostalgia for a time you’ve never known. This word may not be frequently used, but it describes a common feeling. The New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik believes that this longing for the past follows a 40 year cycle, as he explains: "The prime site of nostalgia is always whatever happened, or is thought to have happened, in the decade between forty and fifty years past". A clear example of a person with an anemoic nostalgia, and that also serves as supportive evidence of Gopnik’s Golden-Forty year rule, is the producer and director Steven Spielberg.He was born in 1946, just one year after the end of WWII, a war that he only “lived” through the stories that his father told him (he was a pilot during the conflict) that did not stop him from creating blockbuster hits such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Schinlder’s List or Saving private Ryan, all of them fitting the 40 year cycle and setting a nostalgic aura of the 1940’s.This theory also highlights the future of toddlers as "chroniclers" of a time they didn’t lived and evidencies the role of middle aged artists, designers and producers as drivers of cultural change inspired by nostalgia.If this cycle theory is true, then 40 years after the Vietnam War it's about time to see a trend of movies about it, oh wait, Steven Spielberg is making a movie about Vietnam.Source: The New Yorker. Image: Paramount Pictures [post_title] => 2040: the Year We'll Know How 2000 Was [post_excerpt] => TThe Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows defines anemoia as the felling of nostalgia for a time you’ve never known. This word may not be frequently used, but it describes a common feeling. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 2040-year-well-know-2010 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-10-20 11:15:57 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-20 09:15:57 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=66494 [menu_order] => 63 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 67033 [post_author] => 874 [post_date] => 2016-09-27 11:08:29 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-09-27 09:08:29 [post_content] => Scrip is a new "universal cash device" that brings back the old metallic sparkle of money and mixing it with today’s technology in order to fill the deficiencies of credit and debit cards. But, what’s the problem with plastic?One of the great things about cards is that they save us from the hassle of handling, counting and carrying coins. We don’t have to worry about robbers because we know that our “real” money is safe somewhere in the bank and it feels like our pieces of plastic are always full of virtual-virtual money. But the problem is that plastic doesn’t match the ephemerality of our earnings, without coins we can no longer count our money and without cash an empty wallet doesn’t make us feel poor - because it’s full of cards! This false perception can turn credit cards into real problems.In an attempt to tackle this issue, technology designers at New Deal Design are giving weight, texture and sensitive feedback to weightless digital money. Their aim is to restore some of the old-fashioned qualities of coins that used to make us treasure our well-earned income: "By pushing the right psychological buttons in our brains that physical cash triggers, Scrip subtlety helps us to understand each bill spent or received, bringing a visceral value back to an intangible number".They are confident that their design will be produced, but if it doesn't they already succeeded in highlighting our need for a physical reality for something as virtual as money.Source: New Deal Design [post_title] => Tangible Money in Digital Currency Era [post_excerpt] => The Scrip, a new universal cash device is bringing back the old metallic sparkle of the money and mixing it with today’s technology in order to fill the deficiencies of our credit and debit cards. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => new-cards-old-coins [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-10-20 11:57:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-20 09:57:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=66170 [menu_order] => 33 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 62382 [post_author] => 4 [post_date] => 2016-03-31 10:00:56 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-03-31 09:00:56 [post_content] => Our peculiar image of the week shows a sign for Internet opening hours recently encountered in Cuba. At first you read it as a symbol of the stalled technological development in the socialist state, but then you realize the tidal approach to an Internet connection might just as well be interpreted as a deliberate design for silence, quietude and meditation. Back or forward to nature? We file it as Innovative Nostalgia. [post_title] => Internet Open Daily from 7:00 to 22:30 [post_excerpt] => Symbol of the stalled development in the socialist state, or design for silence, quietude and meditation? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => internet-open-daily-700-2230 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-05-16 17:44:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-05-16 15:44:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=62382 [menu_order] => 308 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 60425 [post_author] => 809 [post_date] => 2016-01-26 11:53:48 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-01-26 10:53:48 [post_content] => Nowadays telephone booths are obsolete objects. If you are a digital native you probably never noticed one of them. With the number of smartphone owners worldwide surpassing two billion, they have fallen into disuse. That's why New York City decided to definitely say goodbye to neglected payphones and replace them with Wi-Fi hotspots.As we rely more and more on internet access for everyday matters, Wi-Fi has almost become a public need. The initiative called LinkNYC will fulfill this longing with 10.000 hotspots built, most of them taking up the space currently occupied by phone booths. More than 7.000 of the New York existing outdoor payphones will be dismissed and replaced with so-called Links: Wi-Fi-emitting charging stations where users can make calls and benefit from different services. They will feature touch-screen displays to provide directions and maps, a tactile keypad with Braille lettering, a 911 button, a headphone jack, and USB charging."LinkNYC will fundamentally transform New York City and set the standard for responsive cities for years to come" said Control Group chief operating officer Colin O’ Donnell during a press statement. “This will be completely unlimited access. We're going through all this effort to bring massive bandwidth to the streets and we really want to see people use it. So, we're going to bring that connectivity and get out of the way".Contrary to payphones no coins or calling cards will be necessary, the service is free. TheWi-Fi kiosks will feature ads that will bring in at least twice the revenue as the payphones they're replacing.If you are a nostalgic type and want to make your last call from a New York City public pay phone before they disappear, you better grab that hand sanitizer and act fast! LinkNYC Wi-Fi hotspots are currently being installed and tested, and 7.500 hotspots are expected to be functional at the beginning of next year. What exactly will be done with the old pay phones still remains unclear.Source: Treehugger [post_title] => Wi-Fi Hotspots Take Over Old Payphones [post_excerpt] => New York City decided to definitely say goodbye to neglected payphones and replace them with Wi-Fi hotspots. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => wi-fi-hotspots-take-payphones [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-01-29 11:25:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-01-29 10:25:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=60425 [menu_order] => 382 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 58418 [post_author] => 861 [post_date] => 2015-11-04 16:00:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-11-04 15:00:36 [post_content] => Amanda Ghassaei, currently a student at the Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT Media Lab, is a former employee at the do-it-yourself website Instructables.com. Back then she developed ways to 3D print and laser cut vinyl records."In order to explore the current limits of 3D printing, I've created a technique for converting digital audio files into 3D-printable, 33rpm records that play on ordinary turntables. Though the audio quality is low, the audio output is still easily recognizable - the records have a sampling rate of 11kHz and 5-6 bit resolution".On her website, she explains how this was done, and provides a nice video on the process.[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/61210101[/vimeo]Although the quality of the sound is still far from ideal, the project is a great exploration of the status quo of 3D printing technology, especially linked to a slightly nostalgic medium such as vinyl records. The entire, elaborate instructions to create your 3D printed record can be found at Instructables.com. Let's enjoy some 3D-printed 80's new wave music![youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCAI40HRfQY[/youtube]Via: Instructables, Amanda Ghassaei [post_title] => Listening to 3D Printed Records [post_excerpt] => Let's enjoy some 3D-printed records! [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => nirvana-pixies-new-order-meet-girl-3d-prints-records [to_ping] => [pinged] => http://vimeo.com/61210101 [post_modified] => 2015-11-03 16:44:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-11-03 15:44:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=58418 [menu_order] => 463 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 ))[post_count] => 10 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 109065 [post_author] => 1961 [post_date] => 2019-03-01 07:00:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-03-01 06:00:35 [post_content] =>

What do a kingfisher, cocklebur pods and a Namibian beetle have in common? Besides being living organisms, they have all served as inspiration for creative human technologies to solve challenging problems.

The kingfisher’s sleek beak spurred the streamlined nose design on high-speed trains in Japan. Cockleburs inspired the hook-and-loop fastener system Velcro. And the Namibian beetle’s back inspired a water-collection plant in the desert.

This is biomimicry. It is an approach to innovation, defined by the Biomimicry Institute as seeking: “sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies.” There are many solutions in nature — and we are learning about more and more of them.

As a researcher in materials science and engineering, I have worked on a variety of different substances. These include biomaterials (implantable ceramics, dental ceramics and titanium alloys) and a variety of different coatings technologies (thermal barrier coatings in turbine engines, corrosion-resistant coatings and catalyst supports).

Biomimicry has helped my teams design solutions that we otherwise would likely not have explored. Inspiration has come from organisms themselves, how organisms make materials and how organisms work together. For example, based on structures observed on plant leaves, we have grown ceramic coatings at room temperature to make oil and water filters on paper and on copper mesh.

How biomimicry works

Without flying insects, birds and floating seeds would we have been able to create airplanes, gliders, parachutes or helicopters?

Watch a maple seed spin to the ground or a dandelion seed float through the air and I am sure you will start asking more questions.

Human beings are generally curious and observant and we have made many innovations by looking to the natural world for inspiration. We seek to understand and then we “copy” existing solutions. The process of biomimicry is also about being curious and observant. We follow a disciplined process to ask questions and seek answers by looking at what is already around in nature.

We first observe functions — what does the organism do? The function can be simple or complex: A dandelion seed floating through the air, or chemical signalling in the body to grow bone. We observe how an organism achieves such a function.

We then determine the mechanisms by which the functions are accomplished — we get to the chemistry and physics of the mechanisms. The final stage is to abstract the natural form, process or ecosystem into another purpose — to mimic for our own use.

Leaf coatings

It pays to pay attention. In the past, I had a research project to devise new ways to make structured catalysts (coatings that better enable chemical reactions.) The team was processing metal wire mesh — to produce ceramic hair-like structures onto which we were to deposit metallic nanoparticles.

We could fabricate the mesh, but the graduate student came to me one day and said that something “weird” was happening. He couldn’t get the nanoparticle precursor solution (the mixture of chemicals that helps to make the final product) to wet the treated wire mesh. The wire mesh was floating on the water-based liquid.

We did not understand what was going on, and so we looked at the structure in the microscope. We still didn’t understand, and so we looked to nature. I took a trip to our greenhouse on campus armed with a water bottle. The manager showed me a variety of plants that repelled water in fascinating ways, and I squirted water on them to see what happened.

Water drops do not wet the leaf surfaces of the Elegant Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia elegans) at all. Author provided

I looked at a variety of plants in the microscope, and found that sugar cane had a similar structure to the ceramic coating.

I was amazed, and it was the start of a new research direction for me; I wanted to figure out how to make coatings to mimic leaves.

Hydrophobic (water repelling) coatings, based on the structures of the waxes found on leaf surfaces, are used in many applications — from paints (such as Lotusan brand) to power-generation, where efficiency can be gained by controlling droplet formation in condensers and boilers. By paying attention to how nature behaves, and by getting down to the chemical and physical mechanisms, we are able to create bio-inspired solutions from other materials and for different applications.

Growing bone tissue

In high school, my friend told me about a bone defect in his leg — a big hole in his thigh bone. He was running and his thigh bone fractured, and he collapsed. He awoke in the hospital five centimetres shorter. Why? Because 25 years ago, bone defects couldn’t be repaired very easily and the damaged tissue had to be surgically removed. There was nothing bone-like that could be put in the damaged tissue’s place to grow new bone. His perfectly good leg had to be shortened too.

Today, because of biomimicry, we can repair and regenerate bone tissue — breaking your leg doesn’t necessarily mean you also become shorter! How can we do now what we couldn’t before? We have learned how the body grows bone tissue, and we have been able to induce bone growth by mimicking nature’s processes.

We can now make glass in a lab, implant it, and new bone will grow in its place. Three months later, there is no trace of the glass. It sounds a lot like the “Skele-Gro” potion from the Harry Potter series but without the vile taste! Our innovations were inspired by ourselves – after all, we too are part of nature.

Bioactive glass, a calcium phosphate based silica glass that stimulates material resorption and bone growth, is often used in dental applications for bone grafts. The material is placed in a bone defect and over time, under the stresses and the biological environment, the glass corrodes and signals bone cells (osteoblasts) to attach and proliferate at the surface and form new bone. The implanted glass is completely dissolved and replaced with new bone.

Biomimicry and the future

And what of the future? We are seeing and learning so much more about what happens in the natural world through time and sophisticated research studies that it is difficult to predict what we might learn in the future. However, as we learn more, we discover that we have made gross oversimplifications for many natural phenomena — so we need to remain curious and observant of the natural world and get down to the details, without losing sight of the entire system.

And, since people are pursuing brain machine interfaces, perhaps we may also consider pursing some other fantasies. Tsaheylu of the Na’vi people in the movie Avatar is “the bond” between different animals — a way to feel as one with the ability to act as one. Imagine if instead of mimicking nature we could become one with it instead. I wonder what other secrets we might learn from the kingfisher, cocklebur pods and the Namibian beetle.

Cover image: A kingfisher’s beak inspired the design of high-speed trains in Japan, through the process of ‘biomimicry,’ or human imitation of nature (via Reformed Perspective).

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

[post_title] => How modern technology is inspired by the natural world [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => modern-technology-inspired-natural-world [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-03-05 15:42:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-03-05 14:42:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=109065 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 66 [max_num_pages] => 7 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => 1 [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_privacy_policy] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_favicon] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 8c8e7cf11175a5e0857fa423fc45c8af [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed )[compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ))
load more