That’s a good idea… I’m going to steal it

We shouldn’t feel inadequate when evolution does something better than we can. Evolution has had millions of years to fin-tune each species, never stopping to rest or get a cup of coffee – it just keeps churning. Modern technology is only about 300 years old, and about four decades it we’re talking about computing technology. And even the most hardworking inventor needs to take a break to pay the mortgage or order a pizza.

All of this is a good reason to just steal ideas from Mother Nature. She hasn’t patented anything, so no fear of a lawsuit there, and her solutions tend to be a lot more elegant than our own.

Take, for instance, the Namib desert beetle that lives in the drier parts of southern Africa. Deserts tend to be lacking in the water department, so the beetle has to improvise. Whenever it feels a breeze coming in from the distant sea the beetle raises its wings and collects moisture from the air. The wing structure allows the gathered water droplets to flow down toward the beetle’s mouth, giving it a fresh drink.

A concept so brilliant can’t simply be ignored by pioneering humans, so company NBD Nano is setting out to make a water bottle that does the same thing. The bottles would potentially refill themselves by four-fifths of a gallon every hour. NBD Nano says the bottles would be best used by military units and low-income communities living in Sub-Saharan Africa, where some people have to walk miles every day to get clean water.

See kids? Stealing can be good.


One response to “That’s a good idea… I’m going to steal it

  1. Pingback: What fireflies can teach us about tech | Scientific Chicago·

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