The Garden of Science presents inventions that mimic nature

A new exhibition at the Davidson Institute’s Garden of Science, on the Weizmann Institute campus, invites you to a colorful and vibrant experience. This summer, we are celebrating the world of biomimicry, in which humans mimic nature to create new technologies inspired by phenomena, structures, systems, and mechanisms that animals and plants have developed over the course of their evolution.

The exhibition is spread over three enclosed, air-conditioned spaces across the Garden.

In the first space, “Biomimicry’s First Steps,” visitors join a biomimicry researcher’s journey, through stations offering observation, inspiration, creativity, and mimicry experiences. A variety of activities and surprises awaits you in each station. For example, how would you create your very own personal superhero, on the basis of different animals and their unique powers and characteristics? No villain would be a match for a hero with the arms of an octopus, the eyes of a hawk, and the web-spinning abilities of a spider. Victory is assured!

Then, brave the terror of a ravenous shark or a terrifying crocodile to pose for a selfie together. Children are invited to a building workshop in which they will mimic the ingenuity of nature’s architects, and to don white coats and blend into the green forest at a camouflage wall.

Expand your senses in the second space, called “In a Different Light”. Experience darkness to see what a bee sees (in the ultra-violet region of the light spectrum) when it looks at a flower, understand how a falcon detects its prey from afar, discover how a giant scorpion glows in the dark, and more. The space also introduces inventions that borrow from amazing animal capabilities, such as a medical ultrasound device based on the principle underlying dolphins’ hearing, a thermal camera based on a snake’s sight, and others.

The third space, the “Inspired-by-Nature Innovation Lab,” is where you can meet the raw, living science conducted at different research institutions. The lab is located in the EcoSphere, the Garden’s ecological complex, which hosts the fascinating exchange between living matter (plant or animal), biomimetic scientific research, and the development of technology inspired by it.

Inside, for example, you’ll find scorpions studied at the Weizmann Institute’s Department of Materials and Interfaces—the scientists are investigating the materials that make up the scorpion’s pincers, which are strong, flexible, and durable—and through them, learn what it takes to create new materials with ultra-features.

Visitors will also encounter the Lotus effect and the developments it gave rise to, such as dirt-repelling fabrics; geckos that climb smooth surfaces; moths that spin silk with surprising medical applications, and other intriguing exhibits.

In “Ant Party,” a unique and amusing headphone party, experience what it’s like to be part of an ant swarm. Are ants smart or stupid? And how do they manage to complete cooperative missions, like bringing food to the queen inside the crowded nest?

Ever wondered what ‘suspended in mid-air’ really feels like? “A Hook and a Loop,” a huge inflatable structure, invites you to find out. All you need to do is dress in a special suit—and jump on the Velcro wall; you’ll cling to it—and (almost) float. And in the “Fly Like in Nature” workshop, children prepare special kites inspired by birds’ gliding ability.

During the month of August, the Garden will hold a navigating game for the whole family.

 

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