Does nature hold the answers to some of our big societal challenges?
Posted on 12/06/2019
Are you interested in learning about the potential nature inspired engineering has to offer? Can the whiskers of sea-lions teach us how to design underwater sensors? How do birds morph their wings to maintain stable flight trajectories? And how do nocturnal mosquitoes avoid surfaces in the dark? These questions, and many more, will be unpacked at the first workshop of the Nature Inspired Solutions Special Interest Group (NIS SIG) on 9th July in London.
Humans may be the smartest species on this planet, or at least they think they are, but it is other animals, plants and insects that have been around longer and know the secrets to survival and sustainability. There have been many examples of biomimicry over the previous century, but we are only now beginning to take the health and future of this planet seriously. Wasted (and lost) precious resources and inefficient processes can and will cause economies, societies, and ultimately our environment to become unsustainable in the long term.
Nature is constantly adapting and there are many lessons to be learnt to enable us to create a truly sustainable world which we want to live in. KTN’s NIS SIG seeks to build a new community intent on discovering how nature inspired engineering can provide solutions to modern day challenges. The group will bring together problem holders with solution providers and create opportunities for networking and collaboration.
Kicking off the event in London, KTN’s Monika Dunkel will set the scene, introduce the new SIG and its ambitions and objectives. Next, speakers from academia and industry will present examples of solutions, focusing on areas of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure. Zoë Webster, Director of AI & Data Economy at Innovate UK will outline the commercial opportunities in the UK for NIS and provide an update on funding.
One of the speakers is Richard Bomphrey from the Royal Veterinary College, discussing how biological models can solve engineering challenges in the sphere of flight. He says “the stable and agile flight characteristics of birds and insects can influence the design of autonomous aircraft used for infrastructure or environmental monitoring. With increasing attention on unmanned aerial vehicles, their robustness to challenging conditions can enlarge the operational envelope. Similarly, collision avoidance technologies can enhance safety during inspection tasks.”
This promises to be an engaging and thought provoking event, taking place on the 9th July at the Hallam Conference Centre in London. Places are free but are limited and must be booked in advance.