Biomimetics or biomimicry is the imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems. Symbiosis is the close and often long-term interaction between two or more different biological species.
“Asking now how our ability to read, copy and rewrite life code will benefit consumers is like asking very early on ‘what’s the internet going to be good for?”
– Juan Enriquez
The human theatre has played host to tragedies, political in nature of late, but what of the constantly ensuing planetary battle that they shroud? Innovations now must not only address our problems and needs but answer to mother nature.
Biomimetics has given the world The Stickybot (pictured above), a robotic gecko developed by Standford University that can defy gravity, climbing smooth surfaces using its ‘Synthetic Setae’ feet. Symbiosis teaches us responsibility, a notion that Joost Bakker has taken to an extreme with his waste free restaurant in Melbourne, Australia (pictured below). In the video produced by The New York Times, he shows us how even the waste bones from surrounding restaurants are repurposed as bio-char, a sustainable alternative to charcoal.
What does this mean for brands? According to LS:N “Consumers are now looking for purpose, and assessing your brand’s long-term contribution to society and the planet”.
You might have seen some freakishly shaped HGVs on the roads recently. Walmart’s (pictured above) are the latest vehicular oddballs to join the circus. By reducing the number of seats in the cockpit to a single seat, the vehicle’s designers have reduced aerodynamic drag meaning the engine can use less energy. This innovation teamed up with a microturbine engine, hybrid fuel system and super light carbon fibre trailer makes Walmart’s one of the greenest trucks on the road, earning them brand points while getting their products from A to B using less fuel.
Even Coca-Cola have sprouted an environmental conscience. Teaming up with will.i.am, their Ekocycle brand sells everything from bicycles to 3d printers, all produced from recycled material.
“Waste is only waste if you waste it”
The water crisis is arguably the number one global risk, based on the impact to society. One in nine people around the world don’t have access to clean water. The Eve tap (pictured above) implores us to be more conscious users of a surprisingly scarce resource. Coupled with an app, the faucet allows users to set personal water usage goals and displays progress on it’s single element interface which is also used to start and stop water as well as adjust temperature and flow. Alerts are sent to the users phone should they surpass their usage goal for the day.
In November 2014, Mercedes revealed the Vision G-Code SUV, a concept car finished in ‘multi-voltaic silver’ paint that relays solar energy to the car’s internal power system, and also generates electricity from wind.
Conclusion: Help brands do good things for the planet and society using technologies inspired by or made from nature.