10 Product Designs That are Inspired by Nature

These are 10 products that were designed using Biomimetics.

Flying birds gave inspiration to the design of air planes. Observation of a falling apple led to the theory of Gravity. Now and then nature is the origin for new inventions and theories. Biomimetics is the field that deals with design and development of products that are inspired by nature.

Bullet Train

Image credit: Japaneselifestyle.com

The 500-series Shinkansen Japanese bullet train running between Tokyo and Hakata is one of the fastest trains in the world. It drew its inspiration from owl plumage to reduce air resistance noise and the air piercing nose cone design was inspired by the kingfisher’s beak. Owl has saw-toothed wave feathers; they generate small vortexes in the airflow that then breakup the larger vortexes that produce noise. The shape of kingfisher’s beak is aerodynamic. Scientists observed the aerodynamics in it and designed the front part of that train like the beak of kingfisher bird.

Lotus Paint

Image credit: Treehugger.com

Lotus leaf, due to the presence of wax, does not retain any water or wax on its upper layer. This is called lotus effect. Based on lotus effect a paint named Lotusan is developed by a German Professor Wilhem Barthlott, from the University of Bonn, which is dirt and water repellent. It has self cleaning properties and excellent resistance to weather, chalk and UV rays. It remains clean even for decades.

Shark Suit (Speedo Fast Skin)

Image credit: Speedo.com

Fast Skin Shark suit is designed by Speedo based on the scales of shark. It has been observed that the reason for the ability of shark to swim fast is nothing but the design of its scales. The shark suit is designed this way to help swimmers by Based on this shark suit is designed which helps the swimmers to swim fast by reducing water friction.

Gecko Tape

Image credit: Newscientist.com

Gecko tape is a gum less tape designed by the Manchester University Scientists. This is designed by the inspiration of the Gecko lizard’s ability to climb up walls and walk along ceilings. The Gecko foot has tiny hair-like structures called setae that exhibit van der waals forces.

Mercedes Bionic Concept Car

Image credit: Carbodydesign.com

Mercedes bionic concept car is designed based on the body shape of a boxfish. Boxfish is found in tropical marine habitats. The car has hexagonal shaped body which has less weight and all its parts are also lighter weight. This car can travel 60 km. within eight seconds only. It emits 80% lower nitrogen oxide and consumes 20% lower fuel.

Velcro

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Velcro is the famous brand of the hook-and-loop fasteners that were designed by Swiss Engineer George de Mestral in 1940. He designed it after the observation of how the hooks of the plant burrs stuck in the fur of his dog and his pants. Observation of this under microscope showed him numerous tiny “hooks” that belonged to the plant.

The Eastgate Complex

Image credit: Neatorama.com

The Eastgate Complex located in Harare, Zimbabwe was designed by the Engineers of Arup led by Mick Pearce. This complex is designed with the inspiration from the ventilation design from termite mounds. Termites require their home to remain at an exact temperature of 30.5°C throughout the day even when the temperature ranges from 1°C (during the night) to 40°C (during the day). This complex has natural cooling ventilation process with specially designed hooded windows, variable thickness wall and light colored paints to reduce heat absorption.

Turbine Blades

Image credit: Symscape.com

Flippers of the humpback whales are very efficient in propelling the whales forward despite being so huge. The tubercles of the flippers are the reason for this hydrodynamic efficiency. Biomechanist Frank Fish incorporated this design in Wind Turbine blades and has observed that they produce more energy and less noise at lower speeds compared to their normal smooth edged counterparts.

Smart Fabric

Image credit: Sciencedaily.com

Smart fabric is developed by Britain Researches at the University of Bath’s Centre. This new fabric is developed based on the mechanism used by the pine cones to shed their seeds. The smart fabric does the same thing, opening up when it is warm, and shutting tight when cold.

Cat’s Eye Reflectors

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

After studying the tapetum lucidum, the reflector cells in cat’s eyes that reflect even small amounts of light, Percy Shaw in 1935 designed reflectors that are now being used on roads to mark road margins and lane dividers. The reflectors usually consist two reflector glasses fit into a white rubber dome. This dome is fortified by mounting onto a cast iron holding.
I’m pretty sure that there are many other unexplored designs in nature that would someday be the inspirations for novel products and designs.

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43 Responses to “10 Product Designs That are Inspired by Nature”
  1. CHAN LEE PENG Says...

    On October 11, 2008 at 6:52 am

    Good post, Valli! Take care!


  2. BC Doan Says...

    On October 11, 2008 at 6:59 am

    Great article Valli…I like the smart fabric..


  3. Darlene McFarlane Says...

    On October 11, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Very interesting. I knew some concepts were animal inspired but I had no idea how many. The Mercedes bionic car really does look like the boxfish too.

    Another interesting article!


  4. Lauren Axelrod Says...

    On October 11, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Wow, great piece Valli. Some really interesting products and locations.


  5. jo oliver Says...

    On October 11, 2008 at 10:01 am

    great collection here. very interesting and well composed


  6. papaleng Says...

    On October 11, 2008 at 10:37 am

    very enlightening, thanks for posting them.


  7. Moses Ingram Says...

    On October 11, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Great article with so much information, I like the pictures too.


  8. nobert soloria bermosa Says...

    On October 11, 2008 at 11:51 am

    hi valli,very interesting article


  9. goodselfme Says...

    On October 11, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Very well done piece. Thank you.


  10. RJ Evans Says...

    On October 11, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    Excellent work – love anything to do with biometrics!


  11. Ummm.... Says...

    On October 11, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    You said the Merc goes 60km in 8 seconds….Well, that’s either incredibly fast (if I’m to read it literally–that equals 27,000km/hour), or pretty slow, if I’m to read it as a misprint of 60km/hr in 8 seconds (most small cars do 0-100km/h in that time)….

    Other than that, cool article….Would love to see other examples of such inspiration!


  12. whoops Says...

    On October 11, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    oh, and by the way, birds did inspire flight–but they inspired a great deal of bad ideas before inspiring the good ones!

    flapping wings VS fixed aerloins (spelling)


  13. valli Says...

    On October 11, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    Thanks everyone for the comments. Regarding the Merc, its a typo, it is 0 – 60mph in 8 secs. And its top speed is 120mph.


  14. Ram Says...

    On October 12, 2008 at 12:16 am

    very inspiring. I would like to tell about these to all the children I know!


  15. Anne Lyken-Garner Says...

    On October 12, 2008 at 10:05 am

    A really interesting and intriguing article.


  16. phil Says...

    On October 12, 2008 at 10:30 am

    good article..Viktor Schauberger had a few worth checking out too


  17. jalex Says...

    On October 12, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    i didn’t know there were so many products inspired by the environment. Great article


  18. C. Jordan Says...

    On October 12, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Really interesting article valli, thanks


  19. valli Says...

    On October 12, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    Thank you all for the nice feedback.


  20. Nelson Doyle Says...

    On October 13, 2008 at 1:34 am

    Bravo…Excellent article. I learned something new today and that is always a good thing. Keep up the good work, valli.

    God Bless,

    Nelson Doyle


  21. Melody Arcamo Lagrimas Says...

    On October 13, 2008 at 3:22 am

    I learned a lot from this article. Nice work, thanks.


  22. swapna Says...

    On October 13, 2008 at 8:14 am

    nice article….


  23. Emily James Says...

    On October 13, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    very interesting, thanks


  24. Judy Sheldon Says...

    On October 13, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Fascinating content. Thanks for sharing.


  25. thestickman Says...

    On October 13, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    I like the ’smart fabric’ design/idea.

    I wonder how that ‘experimental fabric’ test that was conducted on the ISS turned out? Special fibres of different colors, having different EM qualities, are touted to be ’self-cleaning’ meaning that the wearer can forgo bathing for ‘up to a week’ and still remain clean & odor-free… An astronaut was supposed to test-wear this fabric for about a week, 24-hrs/day and not wash… hmm… ???

    -thestickman


  26. ursula banteux Says...

    On October 14, 2008 at 7:53 am

    An extremely unique topic. I think one of the great things about science and inventions is that people don’t realize that some famous scientists and mathematicians (for example) have always been inspired by nature or dreams. Which one would think would be counter-intuitive for a scientist.


  27. Iya Says...

    On October 15, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Nice article… This is great… you also give picture credit which is nice, most people don’t do that. =)


  28. anonomys Says...

    On March 25, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Great article pictures are awsome


  29. Bob Says...

    On May 21, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    I’m using this info for a speech. This helped so much! Thanks for posting it here!!!!!


  30. PokemonProPerson Says...

    On May 21, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Internet is amazing. Valli, u r from India and im in Canada…

    -Pokemon is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  31. Deep Blue Says...

    On May 27, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Really nice article.


  32. Whaley Says...

    On November 29, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Cheers for the write up this is helping me with my tech homework ty guy’s.


  33. Nishat Says...

    On February 5, 2010 at 4:09 am

    Wow, I love this article!

    I’m a bit of transcendentalist and always look to nature for answers. This article helped strengthen my beliefs in nature. Nothing is more efficient than nature, and acknowledging that and learning from nature will make the world a better place.

    I’m sounding sappy and abstract. I’ll stop.

    Cheers!


  34. oap1990 Says...

    On March 31, 2010 at 7:00 am

    OK all u people are soo childish


  35. LEWIS WAKES Says...

    On March 31, 2010 at 7:00 am

    haha look


  36. Tamwarr Says...

    On March 31, 2010 at 7:01 am

    kwl link lewis


  37. bob Says...

    On May 14, 2010 at 8:34 am

    lol


  38. L Wakers Says...

    On May 19, 2010 at 6:26 am

    Hi guys I love this article


  39. Hamzah shat Says...

    On June 11, 2010 at 6:24 am

    Wow, I love this article!

    I’m a bit of transcendentalist and always look to nature for answers. This article helped strengthen my beliefs in nature. Nothing is more efficient than nature, and acknowledging that and learning from nature will make the world a better place.

    I’m sounding sappy and abstract. I’ll stop.

    Cheers!


  40. Jane Says...

    On June 11, 2010 at 6:47 am

    yes well nonomnomnomv+e as if you got that image of jerking off horses it is quite disgusting actually and frankly it should not be allowed and im reporting you.


  41. phil mashitter Says...

    On June 11, 2010 at 6:49 am

    i know it was u kealey


  42. CHAN LEE PENG Says...

    On June 15, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Nature is a source of idea for these wonderful inventions. Thanks and liked it.


  43. shubhi Says...

    On October 8, 2012 at 6:57 am

    web page is reaaly informative


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