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Bio-inspired gadgets help scientists to imitate nature

Melanie Valente-Leite, News Reporter

Bio-inspired gadgets have begun to gain popularity in helping out the Earth and those living on it, from innovative window designs used to protect birds to echolocating canes for the visually-impaired.

“We’re trying to imitate nature,” said naturalist and educator Richard Aaron on Jan. 16 during a biomimicry showcase event at the Humber Arboretum Centre.

“Biomimicry is a completely different concept than mimicry. It’s the discipline of applying interest principles, so it wants to coordinate to revitalize life and use it to teach,” he said.

The concept behind biomimicry is to model modern structures, materials and systems after biological ones.

With inspiration from nature, engineers can develop tools that are unique and environmentally friendly, Aaron said.

Christina Li, a second-year Interior Design student at Humber, is taking a class in sustainability materials, attended the biomimicry presentation.

“I came to this event because I thought maybe it could help me when designing products,” she said. “Also, because I’m taking a class on sustainability materials, so I thought it would be useful to incorporate that into my class and career.”

Some examples include subway trains designed to resemble the beak of a penguin to allow air to flow through more effortlessly, significantly reducing electricity needed to operate, water bottles that use less plastic, or snakeskin inspired pipes that saved companies from constantly repairing them, which reduced the use of water and power.

“I enjoyed the demonstration of the products,” said Marilyn Campbell, the Communications Assistant at the Humber Arboretum. “Seeing them in action was a great way to bring the presentation to life.

“The environment is what gives us life, to be able to see people use that in their work is amazing,” she said.

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