For our columnist Jean-Pierre Montanay, biomimicry, which is increasingly popular in the technological sciences, has also become a pretext for selling supposedly ecological innovations to the consumer.
"At the heart of an exhibition event at the Louvre, Leonardo da Vinci was one of the pioneers of 'biomimicry', which is to take inspiration from nature to create technical progress.To draw his futuristic machines, hydraulic or flying, the young Leonardo da Vinci, self-taught, spent hours watching the rivers flow or looking up to the sky, to understand how birds fly.More than 500 years ago, the author of the Mona Lisa is one from the first to theorize biomimicry Its motto: 'Learn from nature, you will find your future.'
For this genius of the Renaissance, nature is an inexhaustible reservoir of innovation. The history of technical progress has largely proved him right. The wings of an airplane? Inspired by those of a raptor. A sucker? Copied on that of the octopus. Diving suits imitate the fur of a beaver, the shell of an oyster has invented a perfectly waterproof watch, the Japanese have copied the beak of the kingfisher to make more aerodynamic their TGV. But man has not only copied the genius of nature, he has also plundered it.
Copy nature to better respect it
Tomorrow, biomimicry will have to achieve its revolution, that is, become a sustainable biomimicry. In Zimbabwe, after observing the ingenious ventilation system of a termite mound, an architect designed a modern business center without air conditioning, so no emissions. The fish do not have a propeller to move, so a French start-up manufactures wave-powered boats inspired by the fins. This system without eddy does not disturb the seabed.
Let us inspire natural processes in the service of a progress that is not only technological but also ethical, thus developing a zero carbon economy in which man respects biodiversity. Only after the green washing , biomimicry has also become the new vein of major brands. So beware of the ephemeral, ephemeral effect of the marketing, snoring and catch-all label, whose sole purpose is to sell us eco-phony innovations. "