How would a butterfly inspire your next design?

That’s the question currently on the homepage of Ask Nature, a new web-based resource which catalogues the many ways we can learn from nature when we’re trying to solve problems. The project is run by the Biomimicry Institute.

The site was announced this morning at TED Global in Oxford.

Here’s an excerpt:

Anchors of bull kelp protect it from torque by being flexible.

“Kelp’s survival depends on flexibility and extensibility. Each alga can grow up to 20 to 45 m (22 to 49 yd) long and consists of a holdfast, stipe, float, and fronds. The holdfast uses a flexible network of root-like haptera or anchors to attach the kelp to the ocean floor. By being flexible, the haptera allow the kelp’s base to rotate slightly, thus providing some protection from the high torque created by waves.” (Biomimicry Guild unpublished report) [read Bull Kelp article]

Hot from the online edit suite… you can also watch Gordon Brown’s speech at TED Global. The comments make interesting reading.