Our mechanical engineering firm at MAKO Design works on so many different types of products. Some of the most interesting ones come from ideas that find their inspiration in the natural world. Innovation doesn’t always mean creating something entirely new, which is why turning to the evolution of nature can help you take old, tried-and-true concepts and use them to build new solutions.
This is called biomimicry, and it`s the basis for some of the most successful product designs out there. A mechanical engineering firm will work on everything from industrial to medical products, and will often look to animals, plants, and nature for design cues to get those product ideas flowing. Here are some prime examples of biomimicry in action.
Mechanical Engineering Meets the Animal Kingdom
One of the most notable biomimetic innovations is the bullet train. Japanese engineers needed a more aerodynamic solution for their latest high-speed trains, to minimize noise and the sonic boom encountered as they passed through tunnels.
Enter the Kingfisher bird, able to quickly dive into water with a minimal splash in order to hunt thanks to its distinctly-shaped beak. Studying the length and shape of the bird’s bill, and the way it pushes water out of the way instead of forward to lessen drag, is how the engineers adapted the nose of the bullet train to solve their issue.
Engineering Insight From the Insect World
The shapes and forms of animals and plants aren’t the only places to find design inspiration. As with the termite hills found in Africa, even the insect world is inherently full of feats of engineering.
To manage in Africa’s incredibly hot climate, the termites build their hills with a vast network of air pockets that serve as a natural ventilation system. A convection-based method of air-conditioning that keeps the inside of the mounds cool and regulated. This mechanical engineering firm used this idea to tackle air conditioning for large buildings, in an effort to lower the amount of energy needed for those systems to run.
MAKO Design + Invent is a full-service consumer product development firm servicing both high-growth corporate manufacturers and invention startups. With a 25-person team across 3 offices (Austin, England, Toronto), MAKO has complete in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering design and prototyping services. To assist our start-up inventor clients, we also have a subsidiary branch called Mako Invent that, in addition to above, helps start-ups with patenting, strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. For our corporate clients, MAKO Design develops world-class consumer electronics designs through our industrial, mechanical, and electrical design teams.