Get smart curated videos delivered to your inbox.   SUBSCRIBE
The Kid Should See This

How Biomimicry is Inspiring Human Innovation

How Biomimicry is Inspiring Human Innovation:

…we human beings, who have been trying to make things for only the blink of an evolutionary eye, have a lot to learn from the long processes of natural selection, whether it’s how to make a wing more aerodynamic or a city more resilient or an electronic display more vibrant… one of the most often-cited examples is Velcro, which the Swiss engineer Georges de Mestral patented in 1955 after studying how burs stuck to his clothes…

And the butterflies?

More than a decade ago, an MIT grad named Mark Miles was dabbling in the field of micro-electromechanical and materials processing. As he paged through a science magazine, he was stopped by an article on how butterflies generate color in their wings. The brilliant iridescent blue of the various Morpho species, for example, comes not from pigment, but from “structural color.” Those wings harbor a nanoscale assemblage of shingled plates, whose shape and distance from one another are arranged in a precise pattern that disrupts reflective light wavelengths to produce the brilliant blue. To create that same blue out of pigment would require much more energy—energy better used for flying, feeding and reproducing.

Miles wondered if this capability could be exploited in some way. Where else might you want incredibly vivid color in a thin package?

From Smithsonian Mag. Watch more videos about biomimcry on this site, including how a kingfisher, an owl, & a penguin helped redesign Japan’s Shinkansen and Think Like a Tree – Problem solving with nature’s best ideas.

This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.

Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.

🌈 Watch these videos next...

Butterflies that drink turtle tears for the salt content

Rion Nakaya

Ancient Ancestors Come to Life at the Smithsonian

Rion Nakaya

Monarch Butterflies Get Tiny Radio Trackers

Rion Nakaya

Inside a chrysalis: ‘Painting’ butterfly wings with CRISPR

Rion Nakaya

The Magnificent Monarchs: Visit a butterfly sanctuary in Mexico

Rion Nakaya

Catching butterflies with the longest butterfly net in the world

Rion Nakaya

The Hidden Beauty of Pollination

Rion Nakaya

Colorscope, an exploration of color across cultures

Rion Nakaya

What happens to a caterpillar inside its chrysalis?

Rion Nakaya