Mother Nature as Engineer

Engineers looking for new ideas have often found inspiration in nature’s designs.

Engineers building an upgrade to Japan’s Shinkansen, or bullet trains, succeeded in making them travel 200 miles per hour, but their noise exceeded environmental standards. As a train traveled into a narrow tunnel it would create a sonic boom upon exiting.

Part of the problem was a blunt, bullet-shaped nose which pushed air in front of it rather than slicing through. To solve the problem, engineers took inspiration from the bills of kingfishers, which can dive into water with scarcely a splash. Learn more here.

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