How does nature...
Honeybees use a consistent process to land smoothly on many surfaces and orientations. How might this process help us automate smooth transitions for our own vehicles?
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Specialized feather shapes allow owls to fly without creating turbulence or noise. Mechanical engineers have studied these shapes to design fans that are nearly silent.
As slime mold spreads and grows, it naturally organizes into an efficient network that connects its various food sources. How might slime mold and other organisms help us design better transportation networks?
Fish in schools save energy by swimming in vortices created by their neighbors. Researchers are using similar principles to find optimal positions for tight arrays of vertical-axis wind turbines.
Blood vessels in the jackrabbit's long ears widen and constrict to quickly regulate internal temperature. Architects and engineers can use a similar strategy to design more energy-efficient buildings.
Water fern leaves feature specialized barbs that trap a layer of air when submerged underwater. A similar structure applied to ship hulls could drastically reduce drag and fuel usage.
The key ingredients of diversity, redundancy, and decentralization found in prairie grasslands have helped agriculture, businesses, and cities become more resilient to unexpected disturbances.
Nugget Ep. 23: Sloth