Bio-inspiration means that manufacturers and engineers are inspired by the tremendous design of living creatures to make useful human “inventions.” For instance, Velcro was copied from the hooks of the common burr which is frequently picked up in the fur of a dog. Sonar and radar were inspired by bats and dolphins.
Very recently a new fabric-adhesive was inspired by the foot of the gecko lizard. The gecko’s ability to walk upside down on the ceiling and even on glass surfaces was falsely believed to be due to tiny suction cups. Using scanning electron microscopes, researchers realized the gecko has about 2 billion filaments per square centimeter of toe space. These fibers are so small that they form molecular bonds with the surface. The force needed to pull the gecko off of glass with its amazing “stick-toit” system is almost 300 pounds. Yet, the gecko can run across the ceiling with ease. (To read more about the gecko, see The Grand Design of a Gecko)
The new fabric-adhesive which mimics the gecko’s system was designed by Ron Fearing and colleagues of the University of California, Berkeley. According to the website, Fearing’s adhesive consists of 40 million microfibers per square centimeter and is meant to mimic the molecular bonding system of the gecko. A glove made with this fabric could hold up a full grown man on a glass wall. Wow, my son who teaches rock climbing could really use a pair of those gloves. I am not sure how he would pry himself off the rock, however! The gecko just does it naturally by the special way it moves its feet!
The same website also mentions that the thorny devil lizard is being studied for another application. The Australian lizard’s foot was put into water. Immediately, its system of rapid water transport dispersed water from its foot to its back and into its mouth. Even walking across damp sand allows this lizard to absorb precious moisture. The researcher hopes to copy this amazingly-designed system to develop water capturing devices in desert regions.
My brain had fun with this! I could think of other usages such as any application that needs to wick away water. Perhaps the thorny-lizard technology could be used to absorb water overnight from moist ground to refill backpackers’ water bottles with pure water. I wonder what the lizard would do if its foot was in salt water? Is it actually capillary action or would it be able to absorb just the pure water portion? If so, could a desalination system (portable or major) be patterned after this unique lizard? I may be out to sea with these ideas, but that’s how my brain fires. However if I am stranded while “out to sea,” or if I’m lost in the woods or desert, it sure would be nice to have a pure water-producing system copied from the thorny devil lizard as an essential part of my survival kit. Hmmmmmm... so many ideas, so little time and money to develop them. If one of you reading this steals my ideas, great! If you make a mint with your patent, just remember AOI with your excess funds.
Evolutionist’s Claim: Over millions of years, evolution perfected the design they are copying through mutation and natural selection.
My Conclusion: It is just not logical to think that all of these remarkable designs in God’s creation happened by evolutionary mutations (mistakes). If we have to copy “nature” for some of our best designs, then it is rational and reasonable to think that the original was also designed. I would claim that bio-designs are copied from inspiration of God – the master designer or original bio-inspirator.
By Dave Nutting
(Article was also included in the September/October 2011 Think and Believe publication.)
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