Ask Nature

Saturday, December 17, 2011

AskNature.org is a beautiful and useful example of an appropriate solution that incorporates more than 1400 strategies using the Biomimicry Taxonomy. Along with Appropedia, it is one of the major inspirations for this site.

The Taxonomy is depicted here:

It is based on the processes observed to take place in nature; here’s just a small part of it:

It’s possible to browse the site following this taxonomy, or search the site for answers to “How would Nature…”. I happened to come across it while researching the desalination mechanism of mangrove trees. The entry is short, and there is more information to be found elsewhere, but this entry provides a brief description, an academic reference, and a possible application of the natural solution. (Additional research on this topic can be found at http://www.nus.edu.sg/neri/green_chemistry_sustainable_energy.htmlhttps://www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/bitstream/1842/4131/1/J41%20ERA.pdf, etc. An example of a futuristic application is here: http://www.designbuzz.com/entry/bubble-shaped-fresh-water-factory-uses-mangroves-to-desalinate-seawater/.)

Components of the AskNature web site are moreover broken down into:

Clearly, whatever is already posted at AskNature.org does not need to be repeated here. If you have a question about how nature would do anything, this is the place to ask. And browsing the strategies, looking at examples of real products that imitate nature, e.g., http://www.suncatalytix.com/tech.html, or the other 24 ideas listed under “NYSERDA + Energy,” in nothing short of amazing.

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