There can be numerous ways of getting inspiration in our daily life such as seeing other people accomplishing great things, fighting out in adversity, turning impossible into possible etc. But can you imagine even the smallest of things such as a tiny insect can be a source of inspiration for us. An insect can even inspire us to solve our everyday human problems.
Today scientists are turning to insects to get inspiration in dealing with the hurdles and obstacles of robotics. According to them, insects are strong in reacting to environmental disturbances and understanding the way they respond in these circumstances can help robots with the problems related to stabilization and control. This can also help us reach new milestones by solving the issues of security and defense.
One of the amazing qualities of insects is their surviving ability. Some insects such as desert ants and bark beetle can survive and even grow in extreme conditions. While desert ants can function even at mid-day temperatures in deserts using behavioral tactics, bark beetles use anti-freeze properties to prevent their cellular fluids from freezing, in order to survive the harsh winters of northern Alaska.
Most of the processes related to growth among insects such as fabrication occur at mild conditions and temperature which is very different as compared to the fabrication of our engineered materials. Fabrication process of engineered materials requires a lot of heat, pressure and energy. This inspires and teaches us that fabrication can also be done at mild conditions with some innovation.
We have plenty to learn from ants which can solve our daily or even modern-life problems. We can get inspired from various qualities of ants including their hard working ability, their organized behavior and their ability to defend their nests. Ants are experts in defending their nests from their enemies as they are organized and share their workload amazingly. Each cell in an ant colony is tasked to fight one or at most two different predators rather than battling out with every enemy. The same technique can be used to prevent unwanted spam mails in our mailboxes by building up a system in which each part reacts to a particular spam message. This can prevent hackers in reaching out to us.
Ants have a quality of returning the favor. Some species of ants take shelter on Myrmecophytes, also known as ant plant. The plant provides food and shelter to ants and in return they protect the plant from herbivorous plants and other insects.
We can also inspire from the hard working ability of ants. The worker ants move eggs and larvae deep inside the nest at night in order to protect them from cold and during day they keep their eggs on top of the nest to keep them warm. If an ant finds a good source of food, it leaves a smell behind so that other ants can also find it. It inspires us to be selfless and always be open for sharing.
When an ant colony is flooded, they work together in a team to protect their colony, when their eggs are attacked by enemies, they fight together to protect their nests, and when required, they assemble together with a level of collective intelligence to form a living bridge to save time and energy in collecting food.
Scientists believe that butterflies can inspire us to revolutionize the flight system in our airplanes. Butterflies have tiny capillaries that can help in the adjustment of materials mid-flight. Iridescent wings of “Morpho,” a butterfly species, could also be used in technology to benefit humans.
Butterflies are very selective in choosing their habitats to lay their eggs. They are tolerant to a specific range of temperature and migrate only to those habitats where they can easily find food resources and grow their larvae. Migrating butterflies are determined and are unaffected by obstacles which come across in their journey. In some cases, parent butterfly start the journey by flying in one direction and their offspring take the return journey.
Now let’s take an example of a honeybee. A honeybee travel miles to collect nectar from flowers and when the load becomes high, they pass this nectar to other worker bees. It passes from one bee to another until it turns into honey. This inspire us how we can work together to achieve a common goal.
Honeybees excel in the art of communicating the location of the foraging (nectar source) area to other bees with high precision with a very unique social behavior. They use dance language to communicate this which can be of two types, the round dance and the waggle dance, and the liveliness in their dance determines the quality or quantity of the food source.
So when it comes to get some learning and inspiration in life, even small things can teach us great lessons as we have already seen numerous ways in which these tiny insects can inspire us.