While traveling home yesterday, we drove by Denver International Airport and saw many airplanes on their approach to land. As we looked at the underbellies of the large airplanes flying over our heads, Marilyn made the comment, “It’s amazing that something so large can even fly!”
It is amazing; especially when you consider that the technology for mechanical flight came about from man observing a part of God’s creation … the birds. Today, scientists and engineers continue to learn from God’s creation through biomimicry.
Biomimicry literally translates from the Greek as “imitation of life.” It is the idea that problems can be solved, and humans greatly benefited, by simulating or copying the processes found in biology, chemistry and geology.
From biomimicry, engineers were able to solve a problem with the design of the world’s fastest train, Japan’s Shinkansen Bullet Train, which can travel at over 200 miles per hour. The first design had a very serious noise problem – every time it came out of a tunnel at high speeds it would make an extremely loud bang, due to the change in air pressure. To solve this problem, the engineers turned to one of God’s birds, the kingfisher. Because of the design of the kingfisher’s beak and head, there is very little splashing when it dives into the water. The train was redesigned to imitate the aerodynamic shape of the kingfisher’s beak and skull and the result was a train that ran faster, much quieter and uses less energy. Many other countries have “borrowed” similar designs for their trains.
In the weeks to come, I will be blogging on more imitated designs from God’s Creation that are being developed and used today. Amazingly, many of the scientists and engineers who study the design in nature still believe it all happened by chance and accident … so why don’t they just sit back and let their problems resolve themselves by mindless evolution?
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