Tag: Designed-by-Evolution

kugeltiere
Designed-by-Evolution

Rollin’ Safari

Assuming that true wildlife hàs gone extinct… Who needs the real thing when you can have a Next Safari? Let’s go and hunt for the plastic birds on the beach or watch genuine Scottish highlanders in the Dutch dunes. Or even in the mall; go shopping for real fur collar coats and some fancy stingray sneakers.

How is your scrollin’ safari going?

Students of the Filmacademy in Baden-Württemberg / Germany gave it a shot with 4 trailers for the Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film 2013.
Makes the question pop into mind: What was on these animal’s menu?

snail-teeth_anastasia
Biomimicry

The Future of Solar Power? Snail Teeth!

Gumboot chiton is a marine snail with an appetite for algae growing on rocks. Grazing on rocks would destroy the teeth of others, but not the gumboot chiton. This snail produces the hardest biomineral yet discovered to deal with its punishing eating habits.

This mineral, called magnetite, has inspired a new type of solar cell and a new type of lithium battery. By understanding how the snail produces this mineral, researchers could develop similar ways to make nano-materials at room temperature. This will allow researchers to develop low-cost, high-efficiency microscopic structures.

Dr. Kisailus, of Riverside’s Bourne College of Engineering in California, believes that understanding the gumboot chiton will lead to solar cells that can capture and convert more sunlight into electricity, as well to more efficient batteries. “If we can reduce the size of particles in batteries, which at present, are massive on a nano-scale, this will reduce their recharge time and increase their power efficiency”.

Via Elements Science

Designed-by-Evolution

The Six Epochs of Evolution

Monday afternoon, feeling a a bit jaded? Buckle up for a delightful cinematic espresso shot from Jason Silva (*) on the six epochs of evolution.

* Warning: Video essays from Mr. Silva may cause rushes of Techno-utopism.

Carnivorous Plants
Designed-by-Evolution

Carnivorous Plants Turn Vegetarian

Carnivorous plants are among the more unique plant species in nature. Through evolution plants like the Venus Flytrap have developed mechanisms to capture small animals (usually insects) from which they take nutrients. But pollution is making some of these plant species change their diet.

Most carnivorous plants trap animals because the soil does not contain enough nutrients like nitrogen. These plants get 57% of their nitrogen intake from animals. Because of pollution caused by industry and transport plants in polluted areas are able to get more nitrogen from rainfall and this reduced their nitrogen intake from animals to 22%.

The change in diet actually changed the appearance of the plants themselves. Their leaves lose some of their stickiness and the plants in polluted areas also started changing their colour. Will extended pollution cause these plants to turn to a fully vegetarian diet? More about the subject can be found in this article by Tom Marshall.

Do you want to know more about the future of meat? We are writing a speculative cookbook of in-vitro meat dishes, join us on www.bistro-invitro.com.

Anthropomorphobia

Paradise Reset

Interview with our own Koert van Mensvoort in the IKON Television Documentary ‘Paradise Reset’ on the future of human nature. Watch the entire documentary here.

Do you want to know more about the future of meat? We are writing a speculative cookbook of in-vitro meat dishes, join us on www.bistro-invitro.com.

biomech 03 1998_03_INSIDE
Augmented-Bodies

Protocell Shoe Mends Itself

The self-repairing sole is a dynamic solution to an everyday problem.

The ‘proto-sole’ is suitable for all footwear ranging from mainstream consumer trainers to haute couture footwear. It consists of a fluid reservoir, like a bubble, which is situated in the heel of the shoe, where the ingredients to make the active agents ‘protocells’ are pumped by the foot and mixed on demand as they leave the storage vessel. The newly formed protocells move through the spongy sole of the shoe where they are delivered to and activated at sites of wear and tear.

Protocells are a form of organic hardware that is not technically ‘alive’ since they do not possess any DNA. Yet they are capable of life-like behaviour that draws from the self-organizing potential of their ingredients. In keeping with Stuart Kauffman’s notion of ‘order for free,’ the protocells are equipped with remarkable, emergent properties such as, movement, sensitivity and the production of microstructures.

Read more

armyprotected_crops
Biomimicry

Army Protected Organic Foods

Over the last few decades, the public has been – and still is – creating awareness on the values of organically produced foods. For many foodies an important value of organic foods is the pure production process, without synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

The food industry tries to capitalize on this by increasing their yield in other ways. To minimize crop losses and thus maximize revenues, they have started to engineer killer bugs. These bugs are programmed to act as pesticides, eating and killing insects to protect the crops.

However, an ethical question arises. Are we now relocating the chemical process of crop preservation from the crops themselves to the insects? Is it better to modify and “enhance” these bugs, so the issue shifts from the crops to a new species and thus an altered ecosystem?

Via Businessweek. Illustration by Gerald Leung.

diatom-circle
Biomimicry

Nanotech Diatoms

No, those aren’t plastic trinkets or beads from a craft store. They’re diatoms, a group of single-celled algae, and unlike almost all of our current technologies, they can rapidly and reliably synthesize  nanoscale structures. Diatoms produce incredibly complex silica shells that are riddled with a regular pattern of pores. As can be seen above, diatoms come in an incredible variety of shapes – around 100,000 species in all. Strong, easy and quick-growing, and virtually unlimited, diatoms are drawing the attention of scientists who are interested in nanotechnology.

As with many nanotechnologies, research into the use of diatoms is in its infancy. These microscopic algae have been studied for their ability of synthesize novel electrical devices, including new ways to detect pollution. A chemical process that converts their silica shells into silicon creates ready-made nano electronics. Since biologically active molecules attach to the pores in their shells, they may eventually function as a “lab on a chip” for detecting antibodies, traces of diseases, and other chemicals in the body. Diatoms also show promise in the fields of optics. Solar energy cells with diatom-based coatings capture three times more electrons that standard coatings. Genetic manipulation might refine the diatom’s natural precision engineering to create bespoke parts for nanosensors and nanoscale machines from diatoms. Further proof that guided growth is the future of manufacturing.