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Biomimicry by Mind Map: Biomimicry

1. Pollution

1.1. "[D]eciduous tree leaves, such as those from the maple, aspen, and poplar, suck up far more atmospheric pollutants than previously thought. The study concerns the most abundant class of carbon-based particles in the atmosphere, so-called volatile organic compounds (VOCs)... [A] major source [of VOCs] comes from automobile exhaust, coal burning, and other human activities. Some atmospheric VOCs combine with oxygen to form tiny airborne particles called oxygenated VOCs (oVOCs), which insulate the atmosphere and lead to warming...[Scientists] decided to re-examine how deciduous plants interacted with oVOCs...Plants exposed to oVOCs increased their normal uptake of the compounds, absorbing 40% more than expected." (Berkowitz 2010:1)

1.2. Biosignal produces synthetic furanones effective on inanimate surfaces such as pipes, ship hulls, membranes and medical devices; and animate surfaces such as lungs, skin and teeth. Furanones are based on a discovery that the eastern Australian seaweed, Delisea pulchra, produces natural furanones that disable bacteria’s ability to colonize. The fundamental problem with existing anti-bacterials, including antibiotics, is their tendency to generate bacterial resistance. Bacteria rapidly produce resistant strains when faced with strong selective pressure by killing agents or growth-inhibitory agents. Furanones lull bacteria to inaction and appear to avoid the problem of bacterial resistance. BioSignal Ltd. is in the process of commercializing their products for use in a variety of applications, including medical treatment and devices, pipelines, heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems, cleaning products, and water treatment.

2. Humans

2.1. "In some materials, such as metal, stress lines are usually invisible; but in others, including bone, they are often quite easy to see. Some parts of bone are composed of a spongy mesh of very fine strands called trabeculae. In a cross-section of bone the trabeculae can be seen to be orientated to the lines of stress. Where they are most closely packed together, the stress is greatest. It was a section of the top of a human thigh bone that inspired Professor Culmann, a Swiss engineer, to design in 1866, a new crane: he realized that the lines of stress shown by the trabeculae constituted a diagram of how his crane should be designed to cope with similar stress (diagram c)." (Foy and Oxford Scientific Films 1982:35)

2.2. The skin of humans protects from water loss in part due to fibrous structural proteins (keratins) and cross-linking.

3. Sense

3.1. "The salmon's extraordinary ability to locate the river where it was born is due to its highly developed olfactory sense, which enables it to distinguish between different rivers by scent." (Shuker 2001:76)

3.2. "Each ocellus usually consists of a small lens backed up by several pigmented retinal cells, which can determine the quality and source of light and usually perceive something moving nearby. Ocelli usually look like small dark dots, and are often grouped in a triangle on the back of an insect's head. They enable the insect to judge the length of daylight, for example, by which it may regulate its whole life cycle. Spiders' eyes form extremely good images and have, for their size, excellent resolution." (Foy and Oxford Scientific Films 1982:122)

3.3. "In the course of some bibliographical research during the early 1990s, Dr. Armand Cognetta, a dermatologist based in Florida, was surprised to discover in the medical literature a number of confirmed cases in which patients had been found to possess hitherto-unsuspected skin cancers that were detected after their pet dogs (usually for several months before the diagnosis) had been compulsively sniffing the area of skin containing the malignancy. Indeed, in each case it had been the behavior of the dog that had finally prompted the owner to seek medical advice in order to find out why their pet was acting so strangely." (Shuker 2001:227)

3.4. "Most insects have socketed hairs (sensory setae) scattered over much of the body which vibrate in response to sounds and may also be sensitive to touch, humidity and light. Nocturnal insects, such as cockroaches, are particularly sensitive to sounds via their setae and have been known to shy away from vibrations issued at 3000 cycles per second--way beyond human hearing capabilities. The setae may also play other roles. Locusts use those on the head, between the antennae, to judge the direction and humidity of the breeze, and climb some eminence for this purpose. Subsequently, they may use the information thus gained to fly to areas of low pressure where rain is likely to induce lusher feeding pasture." (Wootton 1984:48)

4. Waste

4.1. Waste Management, with its headquarters in Houston, Texas, is a company that manages waste throughout the United States and Canada. Previously focusing on garbage collection, Waste Management has been actively moving toward a goal of net zero waste. Waste Management addresses waste from its source through its final disposal, providing recycling services and looking for more ways to reuse wastes and convert wastes into new products. To accomplish both, the company has forged partnerships with other companies. Wet waste streams lead to fermentation of organic wastes, which ultimately can produce alcohols, organic acids, biogas, diesel, and soil. Dry materials can be used in thermal chemical pathways to capture carbon, resulting in production of ethanol, ethyl acetate, methanol, Fischer-Tropsch diesel, or lube oil. The company is also looking into turning waste into chemicals.

4.2. "During parts of the year in India, dung beetles bury an estimated forty to fifty thousand tons of human excrement each day." (Crump 2005:73)

5. Sight

5.1. Researchers from Sweden, Canada, and California have developed a synthetic cornea that can be implanted into a human eye to significantly improve sight in people with eye-related diseases. The synthetic cornea is made of collagen and encourages the regeneration of natural human tissue into the collagen matrix, improving sight while reducing infection and discomfort usually associated with cornea transplants or contact lens use. The regenerated corneas can produce tears and are sensitive to touch, essentially making them just like the natural cornea of a healthy eye.

5.2. "Kingfishers have specialized eyes and excellent eyesight. The retina of each eye has two fovea. The cone cells have a high proportion of red droplets, which may act as chromatic filters, allowing sight through the surface of the water." (Fowler and Miller 2003: 254)

5.3. Coatings for solar panels that increase efficiency

5.4. "Sea urchins don't seem to have any problems avoiding predators or finding comfortable dark corners to hide in, but they appear to do all this without eyes. So how do they see? It appears that sea urchins may use the whole surface of their bodies as a compound eye, and the animals' spines may shield their bodies from light coming from wide angles to enable them to pick out relatively fine visual detail." (Knight 2010:i-a)