Nashville, TN dentist Dr. Kent E. White understands that nature has many lessons to teach us. That’s why he’s a firm believer in biomimetic dentistry.
But biomimicry isn’t just a dental approach, it’s used in many technologies in many fields. Here are some of the more successful examples of biomimetic technologies.
Annoying Seeds Adapted for Human Needs
Velcro is probably the most successful and widespread biomimetic technologies around. Velcro was inspired by the function of plant seeds known as burrs, which attach themselves to clothing and fur when people and animals walk by. This helps disperse the seeds so the plants can spread.
The technique inspired the invention of Velcro (a combination of the French words velour (velvet) and crochet (hook)). He developed strips of two different kinds of hooks that can bond together to make a strong but separable bond.
Don’t Let the Heat Bug You
Another great example of biomimetic technology comes from the study of how termite dens keep cool without the use of air conditioning. The mounds are built in some of the hottest areas on Earth, exposed to the hot afternoon sun, yet they can remain cool enough for the termites to live happily inside.
They do this by having a chimney that allows hot air to escape during the day and draws cool air deep into the mound at night to moderate the temperature. The Eastgate Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe utilizes this design to stay cool and warm without the use of conventional air conditioning.
You may also have heard about Speedo’s Olympic-banned swim technology. The new swimsuits were modeled off the skin of sharks. The rough skin of sharks is thought to help them by reducing their drag in water so they can swim with less energy.
Not all biomimetic technology works the same as its inspiration, and the sharkskin swimsuit is a great example. They don’t reduce drag at all, but they do make swimmers faster because they create a leading edge vortex that actually sucks swimmers forward!
Tiny Drones Are the Bees’ Knees
Harvard researchers are leading the way in trying to make tiny robots inspired by insects. They have made some important advances in their RoboBees project, which seeks to develop swarms of tiny drones that function like bees.
They have developed tiny bees–about the size of natural bees–that can fly around and perch on walls to conserve energy. They say that this will help the drones conserve energy to extend their mission life. If the drones can be given solar panels, it could potentially allow the drones to extend their missions indefinitely!
Researchers are now working on two more phases inspired by the bee–the brain and the colony phase, which will allow the bees to work together to coordinate their activities.
The Whole Tooth
You didn’t expect us to completely neglect the advances in biomimetic dentistry, did you? We’ll just highlight one: dental implants. Dental implants are inspired by the design of a natural tooth. A natural tooth has two different exteriors: enamel and cementum. Enamel is designed to be hard and beautiful: it’s the material makes your teeth pearly white. Cementum is a rough, dun-colored material that is perfect for attaching to bone.
Dental implants are made the same way. The implant is actually only the artificial root, which is made of titanium, a metal that bonds readily with bone. The crown, though, is made of highly attractive ceramic, which gives you a beautiful replacement tooth.
Learn the Benefits of Biomimetic Dentistry
Are you looking for a Nashville dentist who can offer you naturalistic solutions to your dental problems? Then you’re looking for Dr. Kent E. White at the Center for Advanced Dentistry.
To see how he can help you get healthy, attractive, durable dentistry, please call (615) 383-6787 today for an appointment.