Once again, the Smithsonian Channel has created an amazing series filled by documenting some of the amazing efforts being investigated around the world in the field of biomimetics. NatureTech explores “biomimetics” – the science of looking to nature for answers to modern problems. Scientists investigating biomimetics are exploring some truly innovative areas to improve our lives in cool and interesting ways. And the Smithsonian Channel has done an incredible job of sharing the work of these scientists with the world through a mix of well written documentary techniques and glorious cinematography.
Speaking of cinematography, NatureTech won an Emmy Award for Cinematography in the Nature Documentaries/Dramatic Recreations category for “Magic of Motion”, one of the episodes included on this DVD. The series has also won a Gold Parent’s Choice Foundation Award, the Best Limited Series Award at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, and been nominated for other awards as well.
The DVD includes three episodes of NatureTech, which focus on three key areas of investigation: Energy, Motion, and Materials. All episodes are presented in widescreen and include subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired.
The first epsiode on the DVD, “Energy is the Key” focuses on how nature has already mastered the laws of energy conservation and gathering while allowing some truly stunning things to be done with that energy. Mankind is only now starting to see some of the efficient designs used by nature and adapting them for our own technology. For instance, using the sun-following properties of certain plants led engineers to develop solar panels that also follow the sun for a more efficient gathering of energy throughout the day.
The next episode, the “Magic of Motion” proves how much nature has to show us in aerodynamic designs for walking, swimming, and flying. A car company designed a more energy efficient car by looking at a fish. People are swimming wearing suits made out of materials mimicking shark skin to glide more smoothly through the water. And engineers are looking at designing planes with more flexible wings, similar to how a bird’s wing changes shape based on what they’re trying to do. All of these will eventually give rise to much more efficient cars, clothes, and planes to help us during these energy conscious times we live in.
And lastly, “The Material World” showed some ground breaking work being done in new material creation. Imagine a fabric that wouldn’t soak through, or a paint that repelled dirt and dust? Or using silk and chitin and other raw materials available in nature to create light, super-strong materials to be used in a variety of amazing ways.
I know from experience that some people don’t appreciate the amazing work that goes into producing documentaries, whether historical, about nature, or the arts. But the Smithsonian Channel has done an amazing job not only explaining some of the many mysteries readily available in nature, but sharing some of the work being done to reproduce natural properties to improve our lives.
If you’re a science geek like myself or merely interested in the closing gap between science and nature, definitely check out NatureTech on DVD. It’s worth every minute!