November 26, 2008
How Would Nature Build a Database?
The Biomimicry Institute launches AskNature.org.
Let’s say you want to use cement but are concerned about the high rate of carbon emissions from mining, crushing, and baking limestone. Maybe you remember hearing something about barnacles building a cement-like structure or termites using biological waste to make arches. The Biomimicry Institute has made finding information linking design and biology simple with the AskNature.org, which launched last week at Greenbuild.
The site is organized by function and currently has 738 design strategies plugged into the database. It offers inspiration and solid research on all kinds of fun questions: How would nature collect water? Paint a nursery? Hang a picture?
Biomimicry enthusiasts and followers of the movement’s leader, Janine Benyus, will likely dive right in to the wealth of information and start sharing findings in their own AskNature.org social-networking profiles. But the site aims to reach out to everyone. At a recent online press conference, Benyus marveled, “Imagine the design brilliance of 3.8 billion years being available to any innovator.”