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Biomimicry (from bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate) is a new discipline that studies nature’s best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems.

Studying a leaf to invent a better solar cell is an example. It can be termed as “innovation inspired by nature”. Other terms often used are bionics, bio-inspiration, and biognosis.

The core idea is that nature, imaginative by necessity, has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with.

Animals, plants, and microbes are the consummate engineers. They have found what works, what is appropriate, and most important, what lasts here on Earth.

We are learning, for instance, how to harness energy like a leaf, grow food like a prairie, build ceramics like an abalone, self-medicate like a chimp, create color like a peacock, compute like a cell, and run a business like a hickory forest.

The term biomimicry appeared as early as 1982. But it was popularized by scientist and author Janine Benyus in her 1997 book “Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature”.

Biomimicry is defined in her book as a “new science that studies nature’s models and then imitates or takes inspiration from these designs and processes to solve human problems”.

Benyus suggests looking to Nature as a “Model, Measure, and Mentor” and emphasizes sustainability as an objective of biomimicry.

  1. NATURE AS MODEL: Biomimicry studies nature’s models and then emulates these forms, processes, systems, and strategies to solve human problems – sustainably. The Biomimicry Guild and its collaborators have developed a practical design tool, called the Biomimicry Design Spiral, for using nature as model.
  2. NATURE AS MEASURE: Biomimicry uses an ecological standard to judge the sustainability of our innovations. After 3.8 billion years of evolution, nature has learned what works and what lasts.

Nature as measure is captured in Life’s Principles arid is embedded in the evaluation step of the Biomimicry Design Spiral.

  1. NATURE AS MENTOR: Biomimicry is a new way of viewing and valuing nature. It introduces an era based not on what we can extract from the natural world, but what we can learn from it.

The conscious emulation of life’s genius is a survival strategy for the human race, a path to a sustainable future. The more our world functions like the natural world, the more likely we are to endure on this home that is ours, but not ours alone.



A bionic eye, technically known as visual prosthetic, is an experimental visual device intended to restore vision. Many devices have been developed. Visual prosthetics are being developed as a potentially valuable aid for individuals with visual degradation. Bionic eyes have been implanted in patients around the world both acutely and chronically, have demonstrated proof of principle, but do not yet offer the visual acuity of a normally sighted eye. Candidates for visual prosthetic implants find the procedure most successful if the optic nerve was developed prior to the onset of blindness. Persons born with blindness may lack a fully developed optical nerve, which typically develops prior to birth.

However, in March 2009, a man who lost his sight 30 years ago says he can now see flashes of light after being fitted with a bionic eye. The man was suffering from Retinitis pigmentosa, a group of inherited eye diseases that cause degeneration of the retina. The system used a camera and video processor mounted on sunglasses to send captured images wirelessly to a tiny receiver on the outside of the eye. The receiver passes on the data via a tiny cable to an array of electrodes sitting on the person’s retina in his eye. When these electrodes are stimulated they send messages along the optic nerve to the brain, which is able to perceive patterns of light and dark spots corresponding to which electrodes have been stimulated. The hope is that patients will learn to interpret the visual patterns produced into meaningful images, ultimately helping them “see.”

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