When Nature Did it First: The Art and Science of Biomimicry

Rainforest

“Those who are inspired by a model other than Nature, a mistress above all masters, are laboring in vain.”

Leonardo Da Vinci said those words more than half a millennia ago. He was referring to what we know now as biomimicry or biomimetics. Even without microscopes, radioastronomy or the human genome Da Vinci knew there was no more perfectly nuanced system than the world around him.

In recent years his words have become gospel again thanks to the growing biomimicry movement, and after two centuries of wasteful, destructive economic development, large numbers of scientists, engineers, inventors and even venture capitalists and lawyers are sitting up and taking notice.

Despite what the term suggests, mimicking nature doesn’t mean abandoning technology and becoming luddites. It’s about recognising the elegance and efficiency with which nature does things and using it at as inspiration to rethink the way we design, make and use things with more sophistication, not primitivism.

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