BioDesign – Enviro-Friendly Solutions

BioDesign Environmentally Friendly Solutions

Ambience: Dawn Chorus
Kennedy: I realized that there are a lot of cases where nature is able to provide the same benefits that man-made engineering has, but in a way that is less toxic, less harmful to us and our children.

Bio-inspired designs are giving scientists and engineers a never-ending source of environmentally friendly solutions. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Brook Kennedy is an Associate professor of industrial design at Virginia Tech.

Kennedy: I had a traumatic personal experience living in a suburb of New York city and discovering that a former radioactive luminescent paint factory that the factory being demolished, it ended up as in-fill in a local ballpark. In musing about that subject, I realized that this older solution of using radon-based luminescent paint to illuminate dials on clocks and other instruments, this had a very, very harmful effect on the people who worked at the factory. And I had the realization one day, looking out my backyard, that fireflies produce the same quality of light as this luminous paint, and made me asked the question to myself, “How is it that nature is able to produce the same quality of light as this toxic luminescent paint, and how could we replace things like luminescent paint with design elements that are inspired by nature?”
There are researchers that have not only found ways to potentially re-create bioluminescence for low-level but practical lighting but also, through understanding natural lens geometry of a firefly.

We’ll hear more on bio-inspired designs in future programs. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

BioDesign - Enviro-Friendly Solutions

Could we replace things like luminescent paint with design elements that are inspired by nature?
Air Date:01/16/2017
Scientist:
Transcript:


BioDesign Environmentally Friendly Solutions

Ambience: Dawn Chorus
Kennedy: I realized that there are a lot of cases where nature is able to provide the same benefits that man-made engineering has, but in a way that is less toxic, less harmful to us and our children.

Bio-inspired designs are giving scientists and engineers a never-ending source of environmentally friendly solutions. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Brook Kennedy is an Associate professor of industrial design at Virginia Tech.

Kennedy: I had a traumatic personal experience living in a suburb of New York city and discovering that a former radioactive luminescent paint factory that the factory being demolished, it ended up as in-fill in a local ballpark. In musing about that subject, I realized that this older solution of using radon-based luminescent paint to illuminate dials on clocks and other instruments, this had a very, very harmful effect on the people who worked at the factory. And I had the realization one day, looking out my backyard, that fireflies produce the same quality of light as this luminous paint, and made me asked the question to myself, "How is it that nature is able to produce the same quality of light as this toxic luminescent paint, and how could we replace things like luminescent paint with design elements that are inspired by nature?"
There are researchers that have not only found ways to potentially re-create bioluminescence for low-level but practical lighting but also, through understanding natural lens geometry of a firefly.

We'll hear more on bio-inspired designs in future programs. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.