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Butterflies are such beautiful creatures that we often love to watch them fly around us. Although some people are afraid of them, most of us are just mesmerized by them and get butterflies when we see them (get it? :p ). Some researchers, however, were so fond of butterflies that they tried to recreate those beautiful feathers and mimic how they look and function. One such special species of butterflies is the tropical blue Morpho butterfly whose wings are iridescent blue and it changes when the butterfly flies around. The secret of that change in color was found to be the structure of the wings at the microscopic levels. Another shocking revelation that the researchers made was that the wings are not blue as they appear to be. The Morpho butterfly wings reflect the light bouncing on their wings to appear shiny blue to avoid predators. When the researchers studied their wings more closely, they found that the wings are made up of millions of tiny structures that trap the light and reflect only that iridescent blue color that we see. the butterflies found an ingenious way to keep predators at bay by just reflecting the light in a particular way without utilizing any energy of their own. This idea is mind-boggling!
In our world, there are so many applications for this phenomenon, for example, scientists used this phenomenon to make more secure bank bills so that the bills can be saved from their predators viz fake bills. Just by tweaking the structure of the material of the bills, they can be made much more secure from foresters and can help run our economies. We have butterflies to thank for that!
Another important application of this phenomenon that I envision is designing efficient car headlights that reflect the incident light from the incoming vehicles from the other side during a busy evening traffic commute and reduce the use of its headlights when the incident light is low. Photo resistive sensors can be used to calculate the amount of incoming light and its color information which can then be just reflected by a cleverly designed layer of similar structures as in butterflies thereby reducing the amount of power utilization in vehicles.
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 to solve 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.
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