Biomimetics-Patents of Nature
Information in English
The LWL-State Museum of Natural History presents the new special exhibition “Biomimetics-Patents of Nature”. It will run from July 2011 till June 2012. On an area of more than 1,200 sqm, this exhibition introduces the visitors to the different fields of biomimetics, to its aims and its impacts on humans and industry.
Additionally, the exhibition gives an overview over actual research projects concerning biomimetics and critically scrutinise this new discipline.
The LWL-State Museum of Natural History welcomes more than 150,000 visitors a year and is anticipating an increase of attendance by this special exhibition.
The word „biomimetics“ is Greek for „life imitation“. Biomimetics try to transfer materials and techniques developed by nature over millions of years to technology and engineering, in hopes of finding optimal solutions for today’s technical challenges.
By means of our exhibition we want the visitors to experience the fascination of nature and its wide-ranging, optimised structures. The visitor is supposed to realise the potential lying in nature’s patents. Nature is effective and sustainable at the same time. Human-made problems concerning recycling and energy efficiency are absent in nature. Given the current situation, it is very important to orient ourselves on nature’s solutions and it should be everyone’s aim to be as productive, efficient and sustainable as nature is.
10-30 million species with time-tested genius are living around us and can help us to find these solutions. Thus, protecting these organisms is the basis for biomimetics and for a sustainable way of living. This is what we want to show and emphasise with our exhibition.
Certain biological inventions provide various possibilities for technical applications. Lightweight constructions can be applied to buildings, but as well to cars or planes, effectuating an efficient way of movement. The potential for innovations is enormous – a fact, which is being more and more recognized by companies and decision-makers.
Moving as energy-saving as birds or fishes or constructing like insects – the dream to be able to do these things is nearly as old as mankind itself. Again and again, natural models inspired researchers to ideas for new inventions, from flying apparatuses based on nature's models to roofs constructed like a spider's web.
About 800 exhibits of all different subtopics of biomimetics are presented in our exhibition. Subdivided into eight areas the exhibition reflects the various subtopics of biomimetics. In the introduction visitors get familiarised with the term biomimetics and learn how scientists and engineers of this discipline work. The history of biomimetics is elucidated and visitors get an insight into the diversity of “biomimetic” inventions. Further topics are:
- Architecture, light construction and folding structures
- Surface structures (bonding, dissolving and antireflecting structures)
- Movement and energy efficiency
- Robotics, humanoid robots
- Perception, sensor systems and communication
- Biomedicine, neurobiomimetics
- Evolution and biomimetics
Several special exhibits are shown in our biomimetics exhibition. Speedo provides us with a FastSkin “shark” swim suit signed by the famous Olympic champion Michael Phelps. Together with this swim suit we display a real-skin shark preparation. A large model (seven metres high) of the Eiffel Tower is presented in the architecture area. Another spectacular exhibit is a flying machine originally created by Otto Lilienthal, one of the German pioneers of biomimetics. In the biomedicine area, one of the first moving prostheses, the hand prosthesis of Götz von Berlichingen is shown. We exhibit different humanoid and animal inspired robots and present the famous humanoid robot ASIMO, built by Honda. The “Löschroboter OLE”, a robot that walks through the woods, seeks fires and fights is presented in our exhibition, too.
The different areas in the exhibition are upgraded with hands-on exhibits for adults and children, so that visitors can explore things themselves.
Along with the exhibition, family days, presentations, project weeks, holiday programs and special guided tours will be organised. During these arrangements the different topics of the exhibition will be picked out as central themes. One of the highlight talks will be given by Prof. Dr. Werner Nachtigall and Prof. Dr. Ingo Rechenberg, two German pioneers of biomimetics.