If Termites Can Do It, Why Can't Humans?

Saturday, February 19, 2011: 1:30 PM-4:30 PM
145A (Washington Convention Center )
A paradigm shift is seen emerging in many areas of sciences and engineering -- away from what we can extract from nature, toward what we can learn from it. By many counts, humans are slow to learn from the vast evolutionary knowledge concealed in nature. Human efforts to regulate temperatures of indoor environments and build energy-efficient habitats could benefit from an integrated and multidisciplinary approach of understanding such issues as how insects and animals burrow into the ground to avoid temperature fluctuations at the soil surface; how evaporation from skin of sweat through the eccrine and apocrine glands, together with nerve impulses, provide cooling in biological systems; and what clues does body dehydration hold -- around 10 percent of body weight in humans and up to 30 percent of body weight in camels -- for thermoregulation and energy conservation. If termites can build soil-based towers that maintain steady internal temperatures of 86°F, why can’t humans build indoor environments without excessive need for external energy? Perhaps the reason why this evolutionary knowledge has been left untapped by humans is the fact that it takes collective talents of diverse groups of researchers at the interface of science, engineering, and technology disciplines who are interested in a multidisciplinary approach to interprete these systems in nature and imitate those systems using reverse engineering. This symposium is an important step in that direction.
Lakshmi N. Reddi, University of Central Florida
Eduardo Divo, University of Central Florida
Eduardo Divo, University of Central Florida
Shih-Chi Liu, National Science Foundation
Satprem Maini, Auroville Earth Institute
Stabilized Earth Architecture for a Sustainable Future
Chang Liu, Northwestern University
Biologically Inspired Sensors
See more of: Energy
See more of: Symposia