Nature and Technology
Each passing day, man makes new progress in technology,
produces wonders in design and production. Human beings can design
and produce new products with the skills Allah grants them. This
point deserves particular attention, because Allah gives them this
skill, so people have no right to be puffed up with pride or arrogant.
Nature is one of the pieces of evidence for this.
Anyone, who looks around carefully, can see that Allah has gifted
nature with countless wonders. Everywhere, every living being, from
plants to animals, on land and in sea, is equipped with amazing
features. In this chapter, where living beings that serve as examples
of technology are presented, the purpose is to show that the things
people think they have attained with their own skill already exist
in nature and to remind us how wrong it is for man to be boastful.
Some designs produced by man after years of research,
effort and technological development have existed in nature for
millions of years. Scientists, who realise this, have been observing
nature for a very long time and they make use of it in their inventions.
They have started to develop new models by referring to the examples
in nature. They have realised with some astonishment that there
is a great difference between the techniques they use and the perfect
techniques used in nature. This has led them to accept the existence
of a superior Owner of Wisdom who rules over nature. They understand
that all these subtleties could not have been formed by coincidence.
The owner of this superior wisdom whose existence they have grasped
through science is unquestionably Allah, the Sustainer of the heavens
and the earth.
For instance, after dolphins were studied, a
projection called the "dolphin snout" was added to ships’ bows,
which were initially produced in a "V" shape. Designers understood
that the structure of the dolphin’s snout is ideal for the best
hydrodynamic cutting through water. No doubt, not only the structure
of the snout, but all the features of the dolphin are ideal, because
each one of them is the work of Allah Who is the "Maker"
(Surat al-Hashr: 24)
In this chapter, we will review models, which
designers produced by imitating nature as in the example of the
dolphin. We will draw attention to the excellence of the creation
of Allah. These features of living beings, each one of which is
a wonder of design, are very important for appreciating the might
of Allah. The features of living beings here covered have existed
for millions of years, that is, since they were created. Man, however,
has only been able to imitate some of their features in the last
couple of centuries. For those who can see the evidence of the might
of Allah, everything in nature is endowed with such features. This
is stated in a verse:
(These are) an instruction
and a reminder for every penitent human being. (Surah Qaf: 8)
| THE VELCRO BANDAGE
AND THE BURR
The Swedish engineer Georges de Mestral developed a new buttoning
system called the Velcro Bandage by imitating burrs.
After spending a great deal of effort in getting rid of
these parts of plants sticking to his clothes, Mestral thought
to use the system of these plants in the clothing industry.
He formed the same clasping system in an overcoat by putting
the hooks of this part of the plant on one side and the curls
of an animal’s coat on the other.
Due to the flexibility of the hooks and curls, the system
attaches and detaches easily, without wearing out. This is
why the suits of astronauts are today equipped with Velcro
Scientists working on robot technology do not fall short
in observing bugs during their research. Those robots, which
are made by taking the legs of bugs as reference, have a
firmer balance when standing on the floor. Such robots,
having sucker mechanisms placed on the tips of their feet,
can walk on walls and ceilings like flies.
BOW OF THE SHIP AND THE DOLPHIN
The snout of the dolphin was taken as a model for the bows
of modern ships.
Instead of the V-shaped bows, a structure similar to the snout
of dolphins is used in big ships constructed today. This type
of bow splits the water surface more efficiently, thus helps
faster sailing with less energy consumption. The dolphin snout-type
bows save up to 25% of fuel.
AND THE DOLPHIN
Dolphin snouts also served as a model for the designers
of the Concorde. In a study conducted by engineers to reduce
air friction on the outer surface of the Concorde, the spindle-shaped
snout of the dolphin inspired them. The tail fin of the fish
works as an engine in the water. Similarly, Concorde’s motors
were placed at the rear as is the driving motor-like fin of
the dolphin and a very good result was obtained.
AND THE DOLPHIN
The shuttle-shaped body structure of dolphins earns them
the ability to move very swiftly in water. Scientists discovered
yet another feature that plays a big role in the swift movement
of the fish:
The skin of the dolphin is made up of three layers.
The outer layer is very thin and flexible. The inner layer
is thick and made up of flexible hair which makes this layer
look like a plastic-haired comb. The third layer in the
middle is made of a sponge-like substance.
A sudden pressure likely to effect the rapidly swimming
dolphin is cushioned as it is transmitted into the inner
After a four-year research, German submarine engineers
managed to make a synthetic coating with the same feature.
This coating was made up of two rubber layers and between
the layers were bubbles similar to the skin cells of the
dolphin. A 250% increase in the speed of submarines was
observed in those in which these coatings were used.
AND THE DOLPHIN
From a special organ located on the front part of their
head, dolphins emit sound waves with 200,000 hertz (vibrations
per second). With the help of these vibrations, they not only
detect obstacles in their way but also, from the quality of
the echo, estimate the direction, distance, speed, size and
shape of the object in question. The working principle of
sonar is the same as this faculty of dolphins.
INSULATED CHIMNEYS AND THE NETTLE
The insides of the nettle are coated with a hard layer
made up of lime and silica. This special layer protects
the plant against the caustic liquid produced by the plant.
A German company has started to apply this protective quality
of the nettle to the construction of factory chimneys.
The sea sponge has an interwoven skeletal structure made
up of glass-fibres and slim pin-like structures. This skeleton
protects the sponge from all kinds of aquatic conditions.
The BMW building, which is constructed by a similar technique,
is, however, quite infirm in comparison with the skeletal
structure of the sponge living in its aquatic medium.
THE SKELETON OF THE SPONGE
AEROPLANE WINGS AND THE DRAGONFLY
In 1930s, engineers started to modify the
edges of aeroplane wings to prevent the vibrations caused
by air currents from harming the vehicle. Twenty years later,
scientists found out that this system had already been present
in the wings of the dragonfly. The small black cells at
the tip of the wings of the dragonfly serve the same function
as the weight on the tip of aeroplane wings.
HELICOPTER AND THE DRAGONFLY
MBB, a company producing weaponry and rockets, has taken the
aerodynamic structure and flight style of the dragonfly as
a model for the manufacture of BO-105 type helicopters.
Sikorsky Helicopter Company of the US developed a new
design by directly adapting the methods the dragonfly uses
for flight to helicopters. This process is shown on the
right with its intermediate stages during the design of
AND THE BAT
Having such weak sight as to be considered "blind", bats
emit very high frequency sound waves called ultrasound. These
sounds, which are over 20,000 hertz (cycles per second), are
inaudible to human beings. The sound waves emitted by bats
are reflected off birds in the air, animals on the ground
and other objects that stand in the bat’s way. The bat determines
its direction and orientation according to these reflected
vibrations. Radars work on the same principle.
MAPLE SEED AND THE PROPELLER
The shape of the maple seed causes it to rotate around
itself very rapidly as it falls to the ground. This shape
inspired Sir George Cayley, one of the first experts on aviation.
THE CHICORY SEED AND THE PARACHUTE
The seeds of the wild chicory plant make a long trip floating
in the air by means of winds. The principle of parachutes
is the same as that of this plant.
BUTTERFLY AND THE HOSE-PIPE
The butterfly’s proboscis is an advanced Ïtool equipped
with numerous technical details. At moments of rest, the proboscis
is coiled up like a watch’s helical spring. When the butterfly
wants to feed, a special muscle in the proboscis swings into
action. When the proboscis is unwrapped to take the shape
of a pipe, it can even suck the flower’s nectar from the deepest
The straws we use to drink beverages also have the same system.
MOUTH OF FLY AND THE ZIP
It has only been a century since zips were invented. Yet,
flies have been using the zip system, for the hundreds of
thousands of years since they were created, to lock their
The proboscis expands at its tip thus helping to disclose
the natural zip.
ARCHITECTURE AND THE COBWEB
The tight structure of the cobweb made by the dew spider
does not permit the web to be torn. In our day, this feature
of the web has been discovered by civil engineers, who use
the same system with the help of barbed wire. The Hajj Terminal
in Jeddah Airport, and Munich Zoo are just two buildings constructed
making use of this principle.
AND THE BLUE TROUT
New York firemen add a substance called ‘Yolioks’, which
is similar to the viscous gelatinous substance produced by
the blue trout, to the tank water of their vehicles. This
substance increases the speed of water flow at the hosepipe’s
nozzle. This system increases the water’s pouring volume by
The mucoid fluid covering the blue trout’s skin reduces
friction in the same manner, and helps these fish proceed
easily in water despite strong water resistance.
EIFFEL TOWER AND THE HUMAN BONE
While designing the famous tower, Maurice Koechlin, assistant
to Eiffel, the architect of the tower, was inspired by the
femur, the lightest and strongest bone of the human body.
The result has been a self-ventilated and strong structure.
The femur, which has been a source of inspiration for
the tower, is in the shape of a pipe and has a fusiform
internal structure, i.e. in which the bone narrows in the
middle and expands at each end. This structure provides
flexibility and lightness for the bones, yet does not cause
them to lose a bit of their strength. In buildings that
are constructed in this way, construction material is saved,
and the construction’s skeletons gain firmness and flexibility.
ROBOT AND THE WORM
Researchers from Amiens University took the worm as a model
and manufactured a worm-like robot consisting of independent
components. This robot can proceed in canals, in which man
cannot move, to detect water leakages or make measurements.
THE TELESCOPE AND THE BEE AND HONEYCOMP
serve as models for the frames of telescopes.
The lens of a space telescope, which is designed to
collect X-rays emitted by heavenly bodies, is manufactured
from hexagonal mirrors, in imitation of beehives.
The reason why hexagonal mirrors are used is that with
this shape, no area is wasted, and combinations of hexagons
reinforce the general structure.
In addition, a sequence made up of hexagons provides
a wide field of view and a high quality telescope. Interestingly
enough, the eyes of bees have been made of hexagonal units
for millions of years since they were created, just as this
SNORKEL ANF GNAT LARVAE
The gnat larva that develops in water satisfies its need
for oxygen through an air pipe reaching to the water surface.
The hair around the pipe prevents water from leaking in just
as the stopper on the top of the snorkel does.
CROCUS FLOWER AND THE SENSITIVE THERMOMETER
The crocus is a flower equipped with a bio-thermometer.
This plant opens, when the temperature rises to a favourable
degree and then starts to close again, when it falls below
it. The Schott Company, which imitated this flower's sensitivity
to temperature, produced thermometers measuring temperature
changes of even 0.001o C. (Bild Der Wissenschaft, February
MUNICH OLYMPIC STADIUM AND THE COBWEB
In the construction of the ceiling coatings of the Munich
Olympic Stadium, the structure of the crested lark spider’s
home, which it makes by stretching web on grasses and bushes,
is taken as a model.
THE CORN ROOT AND LIGHT CONDUCTING
An equivalent of light-conducting glass cables already
existed thousands of years ago. Researchers, however, have
only recently discovered that cables can convey light. The
shoot of corn seed can conduct daylight to the deepest place
of the root and it helps develop the corn seeds. Fibre optics,
which has this light-conducting feature, is extensively used
in many areas from traffic signs to inter-computer data transfer.
MUNICH OLYMPIC STADIUM AND THE DRAGONFLY'S WINGS
Despite its thinness, the dragonfly's wing is very strong
because it is made up of approximately 1,000 compartments.
Owing to this divided structure, the wings of the animal are
not torn and they resist air pressure. The roof of the Munich
Olympic Stadium is constructed according to the same principle
(see little photograph).
THE SPIDER AND THE
Scientists still work to
imitate the thread of the spider, which is thin, yet far
stronger than steel ropes of the same thickness.
STRAW AND THE SKELETAL STRUCTURE OF BUILDING
The interior webbed structure of straw makes it flexible
and strong. The same construction technique is used in the
skeletal structure of buildings.