My personal experience with biomimetics (Anja)

A few years ago when I went for a run or just a walk, I was of course thinking about how nice the nature is. How beautiful the colours of autumn leaves are, how nice it smells in a pine tree forest, how diverse animals and plants are, etc. That was practically it, I was enjoying it a lot but now I see it from a different perspective. When I started studying Bionik/ Biomimetics, I had no idea what this is actually and through three years that changed. I don’t look at a tree for example just as a living organism that looks nice and has a certain role in its environment but I try to understand why does it look so different from its neighbour tree, why can it grow on a rock without any soil, why, why, why… After this why comes an attempt to figure out an idea about how that can be used in our technology. For me, this is very difficult. I’m not that kind of a person who generates ideas immediately like some others do. But nevertheless, I try to get this million dollar idea 🙂 . Maybe one day an apple falls on my head and I will understand it.

It’s fascinating how diverse this topic of biomimetics is. We can talk about it in practically every engineering field of research – from architecture, mechanical engineering, energy sector, sustainable development, logistics, … Nature has it all figured out already, we just don’t see it or understand it yet. On the other hand we sometimes realize that it’s not really possible to do it like nature does it because we simply don’t have any technology at all to develop that product/ process or we can even do it better. An example for that could be our transport. We are using wheels to travel longer distances because it requires least energy to move that kind of a shape and also because we can build roads. In nature we practically don’t see wheels, especially not for transport. For me the biggest challenge of humanity is to follow natural energy flows. We based practically everything related to energy on non-renewable sources from which the energy is extracted sufficiently only at high temperatures. To produce glass or aluminium we need extremely high temperatures while ˝glass sponges” make their siliceous spicules without any problem in cold oceans. It’s worth to think about that. Another fact that touches me is how we treat resources. Only in recent years we’re trying to recycle things and reuse them but we’re far from doing well. No one knows how many tons of trash still end up in oceans, and it seems like if we don’t see that, we pretend it doesn’t exist. In natural systems every waste is a source, material cycle is rounded up. People are smart, we developed incredible things, but for some issues we still persist in Middle Ages.

Sometimes I wish to be that green leaf on a tree which just attaches a branch, makes photosynthesis and falls down when its chlorophyll dies out…. It looks so simple. No stress, no worries. But since I’m not a leaf, I have a choice to do something else. And my choice is to act to mimic nature. That’s why I’m an engineer of biomimetics! And I’m not alone, the field of bionics is growing and also you can join or at least spread our word around. We will be grateful and nature too. 🙂

Anja Soklič

My name is Anja and I come from one of the most beautiful places on the world – Bled, a small town in a very small country called Slovenia but very beautiful! Imagine that in two hours you can traverse this country, passing high mountains, numerous rivers and lakes, valleys, vineyard hills, and finish on the coast. No wonder why I decided to start my studies in relation to nature.

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