For innovators of every variety, nature is worth looking to for inspiration. All living organisms have evolved over millennia to best survive their environments. In doing so, they’ve perfected elements and processes that can be applied to myriad human concerns — from leading us to engineering and medical solutions, like needles that pierce skin as painlessly as mosquito bites, to simply helping us make our creations more efficient and beautiful, like Kohler’s elegant rain-simulating shower panels. Here are some of the ways nature has highkey influenced human design.
Human anatomy is something better learned by studying detailed models, or actual people. Mastering the ins and outs of the human body isn’t the easiest thing to learn from a textbook, although once you hit the last page of Taschen’s latest tome, you’ll have a pretty solid understanding of the human skeleton, having just built one.
THE SPEED SKATING suit has always been the technical marvel of the Winter Olympics. With high-tech fabrics and unusual construction, it’s designed to eek out every bit of athletic optimization. In a sport where a thousandth of a second can determine who gets a medal and who doesn’t, athletes rely on technology to give them an edge. “We’re trying to get the body to be more aerodynamic than it is in its natural state,” says Clay Dean, chief innovation officer at Under Armour, the company behind the suit the US speed skating team will wear in PyeongChang this February.
Nike has never been afraid to use different technologies to experiment with its sneakers. After all, this is the company that brought you the Mag and HyperAdapt, two shoes powered by auto-lacing mechanisms. And while its latest basketball silhouette isn’t as tech-forward as those, there’s still plenty to like here, especially if you’re both a sneakerhead and an avid gamer. Meet the PG2, Paul George’s new signature shoe, which Nike created in collaboration with Sony and was inspired by the PlayStation. Sorry, Xbox, maybe next time.
Luxury vehicles from the 1930s were nearly aircraft carrier-long. It was the art deco era dominated by seemingly never ending clean lines. So it’s no surprise that the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet is over six meters long (about 20 feet) and has a single line that runs the length of the vehicle. Hell, the back the car is inspired by yachts and called a “boat tail.” In other words, it’s going impossible to find parking for it.
The US one dollar bill is still old school. In fact, it has the oldest design of all US currency being produced today. So that means it doesn’t have the flashy tech, or the colorful hues, or the wild looks that have leaked into the redesigns of the more valuable banknotes. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t changed. Just check out the evolution of the dollar bill from 1862 until now. Ol’ Georgie looks a bit different.
City sidewalks and brick buildings look a little greener today, thanks to new research showing that cement can soak up CO2. That’s not the only good news to come out this week. A team of German scientists engineered photosynthesis to be faster and more efficient. And a team of Americans buried 1,000 tons of carbon pollution underground.