Biodegradable Computer Chips
Image source: Yei Hwan Jung/Wisconsin Nano Engineering Device Laboratory
Highlight: “In a bid to try and make the production of electronic devices more sustainable and reduce waste, researchers have managed to develop a semiconductor chip made almost entirely out of wood…the scientists say that this demonstrates the ability to replace the support layer found in all computer chips with what they’re calling cellulose nanofibril (CNF), a biodegradable material made from trees.”
Insight: Our current linear models of consumption whereby things are taken from nature without being returned in a reusable way are clearly not sustainable. A new uprising societal model often referred to as the “circular economy” will slowly make its way into mainstream business models; not because of the sudden realization that we need to do something but simply because it will become increasingly economically non-viable to do otherwise. In nature nothing is wasted and elements cycle, what is taken somewhere is reused somewhere else. Even humanity’s most complex technological achievements, such as computer chips, could follow this basic principle and we are only starting to see this happening. We should close the loops in our consumption patterns and go away from linear waste models as fast as possible..
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What is Biomimetics: the field of gaining inspiration from nature first to solve some of our most difficult challenges. Instead of coming up with our own solutions to a problematic, the odds are that species on the planet already offer an ultimate solution. This simple fact is also another strong case to preserve species at all cost as the intellectual heritage contained within or through the study of species is both irreplaceable and invaluable…