From Leonardo DaVinci to the Wright Brothers, men studied birds to develop flight for humans. New applications of that practice—now known as "bio-mimicry"—often focus on much smaller natural phenomena.
Educator Tim McKeag points out that a familiar product developed through bio-mimicry—one of the early examples of that practice—is velcro.
As another example, he adds, Japanese railroad engineers studied the tips of owls' wing feathers, which allow them to fly silently, to find ways to reduce the noise from passing trains.
When Scott Summit's company, Bespoke Innovations, is crafting a prosthetic leg, they take biomimicry to a literal extreme, building a mirror image of the surviving limb to create a near-perfect match.
Biomimicry is the focus of a Science Salon for students and adults. Titled "What Can Nature Teach Us?" it will be held at the Audubon Society's Bouverie Preserve on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 8. Details and ticket information here.