Presse // 10. Juni 2005
Technology that imitates nature
Biomimetics: Engineers are increasingly taking a leaf out of nature’s book when looking for solutions to design problems
AFTER taking his dog for a walk one day in the early 1940s, George de Mestral, a Swiss inventor, became curious about the seeds of the burdock plant that had attached themselves to his clothes and to the dog’s fur. Under a microscope, he looked closely at the hook-and-loop system that the seeds have evolved to hitchhike on passing animals and aid pollination, and he realised that the same approach could be used to join other things together. The result was Velcro: a product that was arguably more than three billion years in the making, since that is how long the natural mechanism that inspired it took to evolve.