Video and Thumbnail are copyrights of the respective owners. Nikhil Gala does not own any of those contents.
Let’s talk about whales! Yes, those huge mammals that we are all comfortable to look at from a distance but are terrified to go anywhere near them. Seldom we get a chance to see a real whale in their natural habitat outside of museums, national parks or special cruise trips, or what have you. But those mammoth creatures are still a mystery to us humans in a lot of ways. Until recently, we were completely unaware of how they live and spend their days and how they feed themselves to go on a hunt. But with researchers focusing on their life, we get to know a great deal about whales. To top that, until 2008, we humans were in the dark as to why those whales have such small fins compared to their body size. Other fish seem to have larger fins to help them maneuver through the waters with high speeds, but why and how whales can do so with smaller fins was still a mystery, until recently. Upon observing whales closely, scientists discovered that whales have some bumpy like structures on their fins that help them take sharper turns with much more agility helping them chase their prey. This revelation came as a surprise and caught the attention of many more scientists and engineers.
Dr. Frank Fish of West Chester University said that the shape of the whale ‘flippers’ has inspired the creation of completely novel designs for wind turbine blades. Engineers have previously tried to ensure steady flow patterns on rigid and simple lifting surfaces, such as wings. The lesson from biomimicry is that unsteady flow and complex shapes can increase lift, reduce drag and delay ‘stall’, a dramatic and abrupt loss of lift, beyond what existing engineered systems can accomplish,” Fish said. “There are even possibilities that this technology could be applied to aeronautical designs such as helicopter blades in the future.”
The human hand fathom (length from tip to tip of hands spread wide apart) is almost the same as our heights. Such is the case with airplanes as well. But it’s not the case with these whales. This discovery has helped us understand much more about whales and the way they hunt their prey. These tiny bumps on the relatively small flippers help these huge and massive bodies give them a unique advantage in the waters.
Understanding nature and its meticulous efforts in the form of evolution of different species that thrive in different environments has given us millions of years of research and development, as we can call it. Hence, it only makes sense to take advantage of such an invaluable resource to design better products and solve many of our problems.
Thank you so much, Stephen Dewar, Philip Watts & Frank Fish for your expertise and contribution to humanity.
Living organisms have evolved well-adapted structures and materials over geological time through natural selection. Biomimetics has given rise to new technologies inspired by biological solutions at macro and nano scales. Humans have looked at nature for answers to problems throughout our existence.
Biomimetics or biomimicry is the imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems. The terms "biomimetics" and "biomimicry" derive from Ancient Greek: βίος (bios), life, and μίμησις (mīmēsis), imitation, from μιμεῖσθαι (mīmeisthai), to imitate, from μῖμος (mimos), actor. The field of Biomimicry, as it is today, is largely the contribution of Janine Benyus, a biologist, author, and an innovation consultant.
Please visit my social media profiles mentioned below to check out some more of my work and get in touch with me for a conversation.
Thank you so much for reading!