In pictures: The biomimetic design projects that copy nature

In order to help our world become more sustainable, one environmental group has said our architecture needs to copy creations in nature more often than it currently does.

Making buildings that are biomimetic, so they imitate elements of nature, can help to save energy and utilise the surroundings around us, Friends of the Earth has said.

The organisation said that using land and water for more than one purpose, producing less waste from healthier diets, and also allowing access to nature for all will help with sustainability.

Mike Childs, who coordinates the Big Ideas Change the World project for Friends of the Earth said learning from nature would provide vital lessons going forward.

“Nature has the amazing capacity to provide humanity with the basic things that we need and we can all learn from nature about how to make sure we use those resources well to enhance our future survival.

“How we interact with nature affects the food we eat, the way we live and our sense of wellbeing, so it is essential that we treat it with respect and look after it.”

“Cities and urban landscapes need to work with nature to make efficient use of natural resources, and to create green spaces and environments that have been shown to enhance our sense of wellbeing.”

The group has highlighted some of the projects which copy nature and show how we can learn from the world around us.

Sahara Forest Project

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The project is set to concentrate the rays of the sun to evaporate sea water – which will leave the salt behind – it will then copy nature by re-condensing it and making it drinkable.

Copying the actions of the Namibian Fog-basking beetle to recondense water has already proven successful in Qatar and could be rolled out on a larger scale.


Image courtesy of Sahara Forest Project


Mountain Data Centre

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This project takes inspiration from the human lung by having a branching structure.

The designers arranged the servers radially inside the mountain to allow the venting of the hot waste air into a central shaft.


Image courtesy of Exploration Architecture


The Biomimetic Office

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This design is entirely naturally lit and has huge cuts for energy costs and carbon-related emissions.

To make the building and construction process as efficient as possible, the building would also have hollow columns to reduce the amount of materials needed.


Image courtesy of Exploration Architecture


The Mobius Project

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The Mobius project in London wants to re-build Silicon Roundabout and include an urban farm and city restaurant.

With food grown on site and the bio-degradable waste going into aerobic digester, the site would be acting like a natural ecosystem.


Image courtesy of Exploration Architecture


Windows mobile: pocketable PC takes your desktop on the move

A tiny but fully functional desktop computer that allows you to carry all your documents and software in your pocket has been developed by a team in San Diego, California.

The Tango Super PC is about the size of a mobile phone, weighs 200g (7oz), and is designed to plug into a custom docking station that can be connected to up to two monitors or a television.

The idea is that owners will have a docking station hooked up to each location they use the PC, such as at their office, at their desk at home and in their lounge.

With this, they will be able to carry their computer with them and continue working on projects or playing games quickly and easily, without the need for multiple computers.

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As many of us have rejected traditional TV in favour of online content, Tango could be particularly popular for its ease of use with a TV; existing solutions are often cumbersome, poorly designed or involve a mess of cables.

The technology could also be of significant interest to people who split their time between work and a home office, as it would do away with the need for continual transfer of files between systems.

Most beneficial of all is the cost savings involved. By only having the one system, users can save the cost of multiple desktops, and will also avoid the potentially eye-watering expense of getting multiple licences for their software.

Tango is currently on Kickstarter to raise enough funds for mass production, having previously completed a wildly successful Indiegogo campaign that saw the company generate more than three times its target.

The system starts at $349 for a version with a 32GB solid state drive (SSD) and 4GB of RAM, with a premium version featuring 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD available for $473.

Tango comes with one docking station, and additional ports are available for $89 a pop.

The company is also offering a serious sweetener for backing the project; once it sells 100,000 units outside the campaign it will give a free, additional Tango to every backer.

The company is pushing the system for gaming, and provides demos of the machine running Call of Duty 4 and Battlefield 4 as part of its campaign.

However, hardcore gamers are unlikely to see Tango as a rig-replacement.

The system has an AMD A6-5200 processor with integrated HD8400 graphics, which the company says is equivalent to Intel’s i3, the lowest specced processor in the company’s desktop range.

This should be absolutely fine for those looking to run older games or newer games running at low settings, but won’t be nearly powerful enough to run games such as Crysis 3 on ultra.

Nonetheless, the system should suffice for most people’s multimedia needs, and with the size and price could prove immensely popular.


Images courtesy of Tango PC.