Posted by: cochinblogger | February 3, 2010

Learning from a Plant

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“Flytraps are improbably elaborate. Each yawning maw is a single curved leaf; the hinge in the middle is a thick vein, a modification of the vein that runs up the center of a standard leaf. Several tiny trigger hairs stand on the leaf’s surface. Lured by the plants’ sweet-smelling nectar glands, insects touch the trigger hairs and trip the trap. (A hair must be touched at least twice in rapid succession; thus the plant distinguishes between the brush of a scrambling beetle and the plop of a raindrop.)”
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I like the ingenious mechanism by which the plant neatly sidesteps the false-alarm problem.  Can human designers learn something from this? Or are they too stuck-up to learn from a mere plant??

I’ve heard complaints of burglar alarms that are triggered by a near-by squirrel fart, waking up the entire neighborhood.

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