Biomimetic file 172: “DNA Origami”

Why learning from crisis situations should be an important business practice

image-20160523-11025-keou90Image source: Shutterstock. Crisis*: A time when a difficult or important decision must be made.

Highlight: “a recent development has the potential to massively improve our lives: an engine measuring 200 billionths of a metre, which could power tiny robots to fight diseases in living cells… researchers have managed to make micro-propellers using tiny strands of DNA. These strands can be stitched together so freely and precisely that the practise is known as “DNA origami”…However, DNA origami lacks force and operational speed, reducing its robotic function…to overcome that, they have produced nano-engines that can be operated with beams of light to work pistons, pumps and valves (a process referred to as ANTS in reference to the extraordinary ability of ants to lift items much heavier than themselves)…. Made from gold nano-particles bound together by a heat-sensitive chemical, the nano-machines are strong, fast and simple to operate, making them extremely practical for future applications….”

Insight: Sometimes true innovation takes the courage to detach ourselves from everything  that we know or believe to be right and to tackle a problem from a very different perspective. “Copycat” practices or behaviors towards a problem are all too common in modern societies.

Because the parameters and environments in any given situation change, so should be the mean to achieve a specific outcome with the most efficiency. This human trait has become apparent in emergency situations where crews were faced with unforeseen series of events that required fixing problems fast using whatever available solutions (a famous case occurred during the Apollo 13 space mission where ground engineers had to scratch their heads to guide a flight crew in trouble; there are many other similar cases…)…great innovations have also come from times of war (e.g. the Sonar, code breaking machines…).

The point here is that perhaps we should learn more (or at least remind ourselves) from times of crisis* for everyday solutions management.

More information: here

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 or natural systems 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…

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