If ‘lowly’ ants and slime mold can build efficient networks without central planning, why can’t we?
With a rudimentary brain and no memory, individual ants aren’t particularly clever, but in groups they’ve shown the ability to solve complex problems. Now as researchers gain a deeper understanding of the processes used by these tiny insects, programming engineers are taking notice, using them as inspiration for computer algorithms.
Industrial designer Anthony Reale’s ‘Strait Power‘ aims to provides a highly efficient redesign of water-powered turbine generators:
It was in observing the activity and appearance of the basking shark that Reale gained insight into his model’s structure. The shark spends 18 hours a day with its mouth open, sifting for food, and the movement of the water into its mouth and out its gills aids in its swimming. Reale recognized that ‘fluid movement is more than just using the energy flowing through you but the energy flowing around you to aid in your task.’ he determined more specifically that, as with airplane wings, a pressure differential exists along the shark’s body: water moves a higher pressure along the straight bottom, while the increased distance it must travel over the curved top means that it is at lower pressure.