Wednesday Word of the Week: Biomimicry

The MWW Blog is launching a new series called “Wednesday Word of the Week.” This feature will contribute to our ongoing work educating the public about geo-literacy–the ability to use geographic knowledge to make informed decisions about the dynamic world we live in. Geo-literacy is a relevant, applicable, and global tool; it is a communicative bridge between the peoples, places and possibilities of our earth.

Biomimicry: (bi-oh-MIH-muh-kree)        
Noun: process of using the natural world as a guide to develop new technology. (NatGeoEducation)
Check out the Biomimicry Institute for more information on educational projects, partnerships, videos, and recent innovations. Click here to watch their latest video featuring Biomimicry 3.8!

2008-10-25_0226443.JPGBiomimetics: [bahy-oh-mi-met-iks]
From National Geographic magazine’s “GeoPedia: the research behind the stories”
By Nora Gallagher (ver. 4 – Thu, Mar 13, 2008 at 12:38:11 PM)
Almost all living organisms are uniquely adapted to the environment in which they live, some so well that scientists study them in hopes of replicating their natural designs in products and technologies for humans. This process–called biomimetics, biomimicry, or bionics–is the crossroads where nature and engineering meet.

Velcro is perhaps the best example of biomimetics. In 1948 a Swiss scientist, George de Mestral, removed a bur stuck to his dog’s fur and studied it under a microscope. Impressed by the stickiness of the bur’s hooks he copied the design, engineering a two-piece fastener. One piece has stiff hooks like that of the prickly seedcase, while the other has soft loops that allow the hooks to adhere. De Mestral named his invention Velcro–a combination of the words “velour” and “crochet.” (NatGeoMagazine) See more great examples of Biomimetics in action courtesy of Mother Nature Network!

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