OnQ Blog

Nature Knows Best

Jan 7, 2010

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

What Burrs, Geckos and Termites Teach us about Design


Velcro was inspired by the way burrs stuck to fur, super-adhesive tape imitates a gecko's skin, and some high-rise buildings imitate termite mounds for passive air-conditioning. These are all examples of biomimicry, the science of studying nature and imitating its best ideas to solve problems. Nature has not only had millions of years to evolve and tweak solutions ,but it is inherently sustainable and efficient, so we would be foolish not to take advantage of what nature has to offer. Here at QMT, it was rational to seize the opportunity to take a cue from nature to make a display that embraces the natural elements and properties of light. We specifically turned to the wings of a butterfly when developing the mobile display technology, mirasol. The wings of certain butterflies have tiny scales and ridges that reflect light in such a way that only certain colors are perceptible to the eye. The optical interference that occurs within these minute biological structures results in “iridescent” colors that can represent any portion of the rainbow and change based on viewing angle. Our ‘tiny scales and ridges’ are itsy bitsy mirrors that move, changing the length of the wavelength and in turn, the color produced. Aside from butterfly wings, there are several examples of iridescent color in nature, including mother of pearl, peacock feathers and the scales of some beetles. The use of minute structures and ‘interference’ is essentially the same principle employed in mirasol displays. But it has not stopped with the mirasol display having the ability to produce bright, iridescent colors. Nature also gave us a display that is sunlight viewable, exceptionally efficient and scalable — all assets that come directly from nature. The world we live in is truly awesome more often than not, and we should sit back and learn from it. For more information go to – mirasoldisplay.com

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Vice President, Business Development

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