Category Archives: complex structure

inspired by a tree: bypassing problems will make complex systems more fail-safe

Vein_sceletonLook closely at many tree and plant leaves and you will see an intricate network of veins. Besides the channels branching outward from a central stem, you may also notice many smaller veins in random directions, connecting with each other in closed loops. This complex arrangement is unlike the simple outward geometry of tree branches and root systems. The structure provides protection for the leaf. Suppose there is damage from disease, insects, or wind so that a vein is broken. Nutrients and water can then take alternate paths across the leaf through adjacent veins. Even the larger, central vein of the leaf can be successfully bypassed. The multiple veins also allow for fluctuations in nutrient loads due to moisture and temperature changes. Similar loop network designs are observed in coral colonies, insect wings, and the blood vessels of our eye.

Technical application:

create safe complex systems

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Leaves learn us how to produce electricity and harvest water

Transpiration is the evaporation of water from the leaves of plants and trees. The undersidesTranspiration_Xerophyte.jpg of leaves are dotted with hundreds of tiny openings called stoma. Carbon dioxide enters the leaf through these pores, and water escapes.  A mature tree may evaporate hundreds of gallons of water on a warm, dry day. The process cools the vegetation and also allows the internal flow of nutrients. The familiar veins within leaves transmit the water to the stoma. Studies have shown that the branching Tomato_leaf_stomate.jpg.w300h307veins, called a dendrite pattern, are spaced out for maximum water flow. This leaf vein pattern may help design engineers build more efficient irrigation systems.

Tomato leaf stoma


Technical application:

generate  , harvest water

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Wild animals (macrosystem) show the same behavior like electrons (microsystem)

1024px-Cougar_closeup integrated-circuit-layoutThe search for a solution led McRae, now a biologist at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, to his past life as an electrical engineer. He had a hunch that the way animals travel through a landscape might be similar to how electricity moves across circuits. If that were the case, circuit theory would help explain how genes disperse.


Technical application:

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Salt-Nano wire for high speed data transfer

salt We are all familiar with table salt, or sodium chloride (NaCl). This essential, common compound is ordinarily crystalline and brittle in nature. However, many materials behave strangely on the scale of minute quantities, and salt is no efirewirexception. Researchers at Boston College have explored tiny salt samples at close distance using an atomic force microscope.


Technical application:

high speed data transfer

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DNA will rule Mass-Data-Storage

DNA-photo1DNA is a complex biomolecule which is embedded in the cells of all living organisms.  DNA consists of two intertwined chains of simpler molecules. The arrangement of these units serves as a blueprint or recipe for the structure and internal activity of plants, animals, and people. Life is incredibly complex, and much guiding information is needed. Just one gram of DNA holds as much information as one trillion compact discs. Obviously, such computer storage capacity lies far beyond our technology.

Technical application:

mass storage

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Festo´s world of bionic solutions

festo bionicFesto has been working intensively on the topic of bionics since the early 90s. In 2006, the Bionic Learning Network was launched – an association of renowned universities, institutes and development companies. Since this time, Festo has been developing and supporting projects and test objects whose basic technical principles are derived from a wide variety of principles found in nature.

Technical application:

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Flying with Algae

airbusJülich, 16 May 2014 – A global society and a functioning world economy would not be conceivable without mobility. An important role is played by the aviation industry, which needs solutions for sustainable fuel in the near future. The AUFWIND project investigates algae production and conversion to biokerosene. A related project, known as OptimAL, optimizes the productivity and light use of algae. To support these activities, the Algae Science Centre has begun work at Forschungszentrum Jülich.

Technical application:

alternative fuel for combustion engines

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Use algae to create meachanical nano gears

diatom1 diatom2Diatoms are microscopic, single-celled algae. They are typically a few microns in diameter, ten times smaller than the width of a human hair. There are many thousands of distinct diatom species known, in both plant and animal varieties. They exist in countless numbers in the sea and are the base of many food webs.


Technical application:

unexpected high



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sugar for Vaccines conservation

vaccinesNova’s stabilisation platforms are based on a sugar-glass stabilization concept. The inspiration for this technology arose from observations of anhydrobiotic organisms, such as the Resurrection Plant (Selaginella lepidophylla), which can protect themselves from extreme desiccation. Such organisms survive in drought conditions by producing high concentrations of particular sugars in their tissues. These sugars solidify as a glass during dehydration, preserving the cells and tissues in a state of suspended animation. When water is once again available the glass dissolves away, allowing normal biological functions to resume.

Technical application:

vaccines conservation

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Nature’s Water Filter

waterfilterThe 2003 Nobel Prize was awarded in part to Peter Agre of Johns Hopkins for his discovery, around 1990, of a membrane protein that allows water to pass through cell walls. The discovery of aquaporin solved a longtime problem in biochemistry.

Technical application:

water filters

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