Biomimicry: when nature inspires technology

In the world of science and technology, there is a practice called biomimicry. It consists of creating objects and mechanisms based on forms and principles found in nature. Less often, however, we encounter the opposite situation – where nature is superior to human invention. Some insects have such amazing mechanisms that their joints look more like technical devices created by human hands.

Recently, scientists have discovered that the hyssus, a small insect that can jump on plants, has unique biological equipment. This is the first time such natural gear has been discovered, and it has sparked a huge amount of interest in the scientific community. Issus is only 2mm in size but develops a force of 400g when jumping, which is 20 times the maximum the human body can withstand.

Scientists believe that the gear mechanism exists to ensure that both legs of the Issus jump at the same speed. This allows the insect to more accurately aim its jumps and gives it a significant advantage in the fight for survival. After all, the issus has to evade predators such as birds, parasitic wasps, or larger animals that might accidentally eat it while it is on the plant. However, while this adaptation has its advantages, it also has its disadvantages. The teeth must be in good condition for the gear to work properly. Damage to the teeth can lead to a disruption in the movement of the issus, which in turn threatens its survival. This is probably why such mechanisms for synchronizing leg movements are not common in nature.

It turns out that gears are not a new invention. They were discovered by humans more than 2,000 years ago in ancient Chinese civilizations. However, until recently, nothing in nature could serve as an inspiration for such an invention.

The weevil is another insect with amazing mechanical joints. Instead of gears, its legs are attached to its body by threaded joints. The spindle on top of the weevil’s femur is shaped like a screw and is attached to the pelvis, which closely resembles a walnut. This anatomical feature allows the weevil to have a greater range of motion, which is especially useful for it since it spends a lot of time climbing.

All of this shows that mankind, despite its fantastic ideas and inventions, is merely catching up with the ideas that evolution created long ago.

Biomimicry is not only an interesting scientific field, but also a practically important source of inspiration for the development of new technologies. Nature has unique mechanisms and adaptations that can be utilized in different areas of human activity. It is not surprising that many scientists and engineers turn to nature in search of new ideas and solutions.

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