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Biomimicry by Mind Map: Biomimicry

1. Evolved

2. "Researchers at the University of Massachusetts and Yale University are looking for ways to trap viruses. In order to reproduce, viruses need to invade a host cell and replicate using the cell's own DNA-replication system. The researchers figured that if they could lure viruses to decoy cells, they could reduce the viral load enough for someone with HIV or other disease for that person's own immune system to successfully fight off the attack. Mucins are proteins found in most body fluids. They are coated with sugar chains that trap invading pathogens. Red blood cells also appear to act as pathogen traps. One approach is to coat nanoparticles with viral receptors. Another approach is to add decoy attachment sites to red blood cells. One advantage of using viral traps is it would be hard for viruses to evolve resistance to them." (Courtesy of the Biomimicry Guild)

2.1. "New research...shows that in some structured communities, organisms increase their chances of survival if they evolve some level of restraint that allows competitors to survive as well, a sort of 'survival of the weakest.' The phenomenon was observed in a community of three 'nontransitive' competitors, meaning their relationship to each other is circular as in the children's game rock-paper-scissors in which scissors always defeats paper, paper always defeats rock and rock always defeats scissors...'By becoming a better competitor in a well-mixed system, it could actually drive itself to extinction,' said Joshua Nahum...The restrained patches, the ones that grew slower, seemed to last longer and the unrestrained patches, the ones that grew faster, burned themselves out faster'...To understand the process, imagine a community of three strains [of bacteria], Rock, Paper and Scissors, and then imagine the emergence of an unrestrained supercompetitor, Rock* (rock star), that is able to displace Scissors even faster than regular Rock can. But that also makes Rock* a better competitor against Rock, the researchers said. Eventually Rock* will be a victim of its own success, being preyed upon by Paper." (Stricherz 2011:1)

3. Created

3.1. In order to emulate how nature grows materials, Angela Belcher and associates have studied how certain viruses self assemble. In some of their projects they have engineered viruses to recognize material components of batteries and self assemble these components at room temperature into viable batteries. Others are self assembling materials with conductive or photoreactive properties. By exploring the self assembling toolkit of phage viruses the researchers have developed novel ways of manufacturing nano-scale batteries.

3.1.1. WikiCell is a design that uses mostly natural particles (with the exception of the synthetic biochemical polymer, chitosan, and the algae extract, alginate) to create a thin gelatinous casing that can hold liquid products. The WikiCell membrane is made from a combination of bagasse (a fibrous residue from sugarcane) or isomal (a sweetener), and chitosan and alginate. The casing is similar to that of a shrimp skin (chitosan) and provides a hard membrane in which products may be packed to avoid breakage. Electrostatic forces hold the membrane together. These membranes have significant water diffusional resistance and adjacent shells that allow for stability of the WikiCell over time. There are a wide variety of membranes that can be produced for various food and drinks; consumers may produce this membrane using a WikiCell Machine.

4. Trade

4.1. Joinlox™ is an innovative mechanical method of joining a large range of rigid or semi-rigid components. It is also suitable for: producing internal cavities without welding, gluing, bolting or screwing parts together; making joints made of traditionally incompatible materials; making joints that have complex compound curving joint edges. Joinlox™ is straight forward to produce using existing mass production techniques, such as: injection moulding, forging, pressing, casting, compression moulding, extrusion, roll forming, punching or laser cutting.

4.1.1. BioPower has created a wave power system called bioWAVETM. Each unit is mounted on the seafloor. A pivot near the seafloor converts the motion of the three floating blades and stem to electrical energy via an onboard power conversion module. The wave motion is converted into hydraulic pressure that spins a turbine which generates the electricity that is fed to shore via subsea cables. This design can harness energy from dynamic waves and exhibit robust performance. Ecovative Design reinvented the product/process cycle to be a more complete cycle by turning waste into a resource. Their product is ultimately involved in a new, biodegradable cycle where the lifetime of the product matches the lifetime of its use. While the use of mushrooms to create the resin is bioutilization, this process is biomimetic in the sense that it mimics nature's cyclic material flows. They saw that the function of industrial resins could be solved using the abundant and benign resins of fungi, then found a suitable fungus species. "Eben [Bayer] and Gavin [McIntyre] were fascinated by mushrooms growing on wood chips, and observing how the fungal mycelium strongly bonded the wood chips together. This inspired them to think of new ways of using mycelium as a resin. In a class at Rensselaer, called Inventor's Studio, they applied this new process for binding together insulating particles, creating Greensulate™. Rather than just decreasing the environmental impact of conventional polystyrene foams, this invention creates a whole new paradigm where composite materials are literally grown, harnessing the incredible efficiency of nature." (From company's website)

5. Senses

5.1. "The British Epilepsy Association believes that epilepsy-prescient dogs such as these are sensing two very subtle clues to impending epilepsy attacks. One is a high-pitched sound emitted by epileptics up to half an hour before an attack takes place, which is thought to be linked to the abnormal electrical impulses in the brain that occur prior to a seizure. The other is an exceedingly faint odor emitted by epileptics at about the same time as the sound, whose origin is as yet unexplained. Both clues cannot be detected by humans, but can be discerned by the dogs' more acute senses of hearing and smell." (Shuker 2001:226)

5.1.1. "It is well established that emissions produce local elevations in atmospheric DMS [Dimethyl sulfide] (Dacey et al. 1984; Zemmelink et al. 2002), which are detectable within a few metres of the ocean surface where procellariiforms fly. An ability to identify or discriminate such features by scent could conceivably provide seabirds with spatial or positional information to assist orientation over a seemingly featureless ocean (Wallraff & Andreae 2000). This idea is attractive since it has recently been shown that several species of albatrosses (blackbrowed (Diomedea melanophris), waved (D. irrorata), wandering (D. exulans)) and white-chinned petrels (Procellaria aequinoctialis) do not require magnetic cues for orientation or navigation (Benhamou et al. 2003; Bonadonna et al. 2003, 2005; Mouritsen et al. 2003), suggesting that procellariiform seabirds must also utilise other senses (Nevitt 2000)." (Nevitt and Bonadonna 2005:305)

5.1.2. "Grasshoppers listen with their legs. They have two slits on the first pair of thighs which lead to deep pockets. The common wall between these forms a membrane which is the equivalent of an eardrum. The angle at which sound strikes the slits affects the strength in which it reaches the drum, so the grasshopper, by waving its legs in the air, can discover the direction from which a call is coming." (Attenborough 1979:94)