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Animals are the inspiration for some incredible new inventions that improve our way of life. Here's 5 that inspired us to share them with you!

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Hi.  My name is Taylor.  Here at Animal Wonders, one of our goals is to educate the public about our animals through live presentations.  We take our animals to schools, birthday parties, and other community events and teach the audience about the animals and their awesome adaptations.  Animals have evolved amazing adaptations to perfectly survive in their specific environments.  These adaptations help animals find food, escape predators, survive harsh weather conditions, raise their young, and much more.  After our presentations, we hope to leave children and adults wondering about nature, because the more you learn and wonder about the world around you, the more you're inspired by it.  Today, I want to talk  to you about how some people are using those inspirations to solve some very big questions.


For centuries, humans have encountered and overcome one challenge after another.  We're smart, curious, and adaptive, and we've designed and built cities, machines, technology, medicine, clothes, furniture, and more, but none of that happened overnight.  We've been learning and adapting and passing on that knowledge from one person to another.  We have made our designs faster, stronger, more durable, and more flexible but we continue to encounter challenges and when we're searching for an answer, we forget to look around us for inspiration.  Thankfully, some very curious and inspired people out in the world have remembered that we are not the first creatures to build on this planet.

Thousands of organisms have survived and evolved around us on this Earth, and they each have some amazing adaptations that we can learn from.  Today, scientists and architects are trying to solve huge, complex problems by imitating organisms and processes in nature.  This is called biomimicry. 

Biomimicry is now being used to improve medicine, communication, transportation, and architecture.  It's also being used to find ways for us to build, design, and live more sustainably, and they're doing all this by going out in nature and observing how animals do it.  They're wondering how whales swim so fast, how eels produce electric charges, how roots absorb water, how sharks keep bacteria off their bodies, and even how sunflower seeds are arranged.  They're wondering and observing and they're coming up with some really awesome solutions to our problems.

Some of the products we use every day are powered by resources that are non-renewable, like gas and oil.  We're using them so fast that we could run out someday, so some people are designing structures that can be powered by sunlight or wind or water, resources that are renewable.  A company called Whale Power was inspired by humpback whales while designing wind turbines.

Humpback whales are huge animals, but they're able to turn in tight circles or at sharp angles because of the ridges on their fins.  These ridges allow them to move through the water better.  So the company is now putting the same ridges on to wind turbines.  The turbines are able to harness energy more efficiently and they can even turn when there's less wind.  

One of the problems with those big wind turbines though, is that they take up a lot of space, so a different company is designing vertical turbines and they're able to arrange them very close together.  This is because they're drawing inspiration from schools of fish.  When big schools of fish swim, each fish creates a vortex behind them and the next fish can use it to swim faster.

When the vertical turbines turn, they also produce these vortexes, so by arranging the turbines just right, the wind is being funnelled directly from one turbine to the next and so on.  This allows turbines to produce more energy and take up less space.  It can cost a lot of money to heat your house in the winter and cool it in the summer.  That's because it takes a lot of electricity and that means we have to produce a lot of energy.  

One project trying to fix this was inspired by termite mounds.  Termites in Africa live in huge mounds in the desert, but the temperatures in the desert change drastically.  During the day, it's extremely hot and at night, it's very cold, but the termites have built their mounds so the temperature stays the same all day and all night.  

Now, architects are trying to design buildings with similar structures so they can reduce the amount of energy needed for heating or cooling.  

The bullet train in Japan travels at amazing speeds, and the original design had a rounded end like a bullet.  When it entered a tunnel, it built up so much air pressure that when it exited, it caused a sonic boom, so when architects studied kingfishers and saw that they were able to dive into water without making a single splash.  This allowed the birds to be able to see the fish during the entire dive and they had a better chance of catching food, so the train was re-modeled in the shape of a kingfisher's beak.  

Medicine is always improving as we design more technology, but one constant is, many people don't like needles.  They hate the jab and pain that comes with getting a shot, but scientists in Japan are designing needles with the shape as a mosquito's mouth.  Mosquitoes need to be able to suck blood and then get away before you notice them and squash them.  The needles they're designing in Japan are intricately crafted and cause a lot less pain than current needles.  

Biomimicry is an amazing concept.  By observing and studying nature, hopefully we can continue to improve our world and coexist more harmoniously with the world around us.  Our Earth is an amazing place and the more we learn about it, the more we'll care about it, so when you get done watching this video, I want you to go outside, even if it's just for a minute, and observe and wonder at everything around you.  Who knows, maybe you'll notice something amazing and become inspired too?

Thank you for joining me today.  If you'd like more videos like this one, comment down below and if you'd like to go on an adventure with us every week, subscribe to our YouTube channel AnimalWondersMontana and we'll see you next week.