30 Animals That Made Us Smarter

30 Animals That Made Us Smarter

By BBC World Service

Amazing things humans have learnt from the animal kingdom. Inspiring, fascinating, bingeable.

Episodes

30 Animals LIVE

The "nerd-fest" live show! A scorpion and tarantula on stage, biomimicry bingo and animal music, recorded at the BBC Radio Theatre in London. Welcome to the season finale, with your suggestions of animals which are inspiring us. Watch all the animations here: www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals With Patrick Aryee. #30Animals
21/10/1939m 40s

Spider and remote sensing

When a fly hits a spider’s web the web sends vibrations to the spider crouched at its edge. This is known as remote sensing. The webs may help us design sensors to detect vibrations in the earth and the built environment. These vibrations could be turned into electricity. This could lead to small scale energy harvesting. With Patrick Aryee. #30Animals www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals
14/10/1916m 59s

Butterfly and paints

The wings of one of the most beautiful butterflies could transform paints and textiles. Scientists are fascinated by how the blue morpho produces its shimmering blue effect. With Patrick Aryee. #30Animals www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals
07/10/1912m 42s

Peacock and computer screen

Unlocking the secrets of the dazzling colours in the tail of the peacock. It is designed to attract females but has caught the eye of scientists, as they mimic it to develop high-resolution reflective colour-screen displays. With Patrick Aryee. #30Animals www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals
30/09/1916m 1s

Ant and networks

How road, subway and computer systems could be helped by trails created by turtle ants. For extra information about all episodes, visit: www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals #30Animals
23/09/1915m 4s

Mussel and foetal surgery

Babies in the womb could be saved with the help of a glue based on proteins found in mussels. Performing surgery on foetuses in the womb is an astonishing medical feat but closing the delicate amniotic sac after surgery is difficult. A synthetic adhesive could do the job and help save lives of the youngest patients. For extra information about all episodes, visit our #30Animals website: www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals
16/09/1913m 54s

Butterfly and butterfly house

Imagine a building based on the shape of an egg – all thanks to the butterfly. Nature has long been a source of inspiration for the design of buildings, like the Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona. This is the story of a butterfly house inspired by the shape of the eggs of the White Royal butterfly and the patterns on their shells. www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals With Patrick Aryee. #30Animals
09/09/1913m 17s

Dolphin and tsunami detector

The way dolphins communicate is being studied to create tsunami early warning systems. They produce click sounds to help navigate and hunt for prey. They listen back to the echoes to help create a 3D image and visualise their surroundings. www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals With Patrick Aryee. #30Animals
02/09/1914m 9s

Bat and robot

Picture the scene after a serious earthquake or a tornado. A flying robot inspired by bats could help survey the damage. There may be burst gas pipes, live electrical wires and many other dangers. Scientists have been studying bats to design an “eye in the sky” for use in exactly these situations. www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals With Patrick Aryee. #30Animals
26/08/1914m 45s

Fish schools and windfarm

The way hundreds of fish move together may help with the design of wind turbines. Schools of fish appear to move as one - turning, contracting, expanding, even parting and then coming back together again. This is a beautiful sight. Scientists have been studying them to try to make wind farms more efficient. www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals With Patrick Aryee. #30Animals
19/08/1913m 59s

Bombardier beetle and fuel injection

It blasts a toxic spray at predators. Now this beetle may help cars become more fuel efficient. The bombardier is the species of beetle that even sprayed acid in Charles Darwin’s mouth. The 'biological cannons' may help in the design of powerful fuel injection systems. See our animations here: www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals With Patrick Aryee. #30Animals
12/08/1912m 33s

Bat and unassisted flight

Imagine flapping your arms and flying. Could we do that based on how the bat does it? Leonardo Da Vinci was fascinated by the flight of bird and bats and used to sketch ideas in notebooks for a flying machine called the Ornithopter. With Patrick Aryee. Catch-up with our animations here: www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals #30Animals
05/08/1915m 38s

Spider and window glass

How can we prevent millions of birds from being killed by flying into windows? The solution could rest with spiders. Webs containing UV reflective threads deter birds from colliding with them. With Patrick Aryee. To see our spider and window glass animation go to: www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals #30Animals
29/07/1914m 23s

Whale and wind turbine

The shape of flippers may help with the efficiency of wind turbines, thanks to humpback whales. Bumps on the edge of their flippers assist them, as they power through water. Biologist Frank Fish discovered this when he saw a sculpture. With Patrick Aryee. For more information and animations: www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals Please leave rating and reviews and help us to spread the word. #30Animals
22/07/1914m 50s

Gecko and adhesives

How do geckos walk up walls and across ceilings? It is all down to the hair-like structure on their feet. A sticky material based on these clever lizards could help us grab debris in space! With Patrick Aryee. For more information and animations: www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals #30Animals
15/07/1913m 22s

Spider and rescue robot

Meet the spider-inspired robot that one day might just save your life. Based on how spiders move, it could get to places too difficult for a rescue team to access. Just like our eight-legged friends, it can squeeze around obstacles and through small spaces. With Patrick Aryee. For more information and animations: www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals #30Animals
08/07/1913m 13s

Shark and hospital surfaces

Millions of ridged scales make it difficult for bacteria to attach to the skin of a shark. Can we reduce infections and fight superbugs in a similar way? Have a look at our beautiful animation to see how the shark’s scales or ‘denticles’ work: www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals With Patrick Aryee. #30Animals
01/07/1913m 8s

Albatross and drone

Imagine a drone that can fly like the Wandering Albatross. The huge bird harnesses power from the wind and sun and glides over the sea. It is extraordinary. And an engineer has designed a robotic glider that can also ride the wind, while surfing the waves like a sailboat. With Patrick Aryee. See all our animations so far: www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals #30animals
24/06/1914m 59s

Stenocara beetle and water collector

It performs headstands in a desert; now this beetle is teaching us how to collect water. The Stenocara beetle survives in one of the most arid places in the world – the Namib Desert in southern Africa. Scientists have been studying its wings and back. With Patrick Aryee. See our Stenocara beetle animation: www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals #30Animals
17/06/1912m 45s

Sea otter and wetsuit

Want a warm and waterproof wetsuit? Then take a look at how the sea otter does it! It’s all down to air-trapping hairs. Ideally, surfers want something that is flexible and easy to wear, which sheds water as quickly as possible when you are out of the sea and will keep you warm when you are in it. With Patrick Aryee. www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals #30Animals
10/06/1913m 34s

Desert spider and Mars robot

The cartwheeling spider acrobat that could help us explore Mars. This is no ordinary spider and it has led to an extraordinary robot design, perfect for space exploration. With Patrick Aryee. www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals #30Animals The audio for this podcast was updated on 7th June 2019.
03/06/1914m 58s

Cod and antifreeze

Fish living in sub-zero waters are inspiring ways to de-ice planes and store ice cream. Arctic and Atlantic cod and also snow fleas are able to live at temperatures which would normally freeze human blood. We are learning from them - new methods are now being developed that could even prolong the viability of human organs which have to be transported over vast distances. With Patrick Aryee.
27/05/1914m 51s

Termite and ventilation system

A building which heats and cools itself? How was that possible? Termites had the answer. The insects circulate air around their homes or mounds and regulate the temperature inside. They inspired an architect called Mick Pearce, who was designing the heating and ventilation system for a large office and retail building in Harare. With Patrick Aryee. www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals #30Animals
20/05/1916m 17s

Mussel and plywood

How a trip to the seaside led to the development of a glue and a formaldehyde-free plywood. When a scientist called Kaichang Li had trouble pulling mussels off a rock, he decided to investigate their tenacious grip. See our animations from previous episodes: www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals #30Animals
13/05/1914m 28s

Firefly and lightbulb

The secrets of a firefly’s glow could help us brighten our lives and create more energy efficient lighting. See our animation: www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals Male fireflies attract mates by producing flashes of light in the dark at night. Scientists have been studying this in order to improve our own LED bulbs. #30Animals
06/05/1911m 51s

Tardigrade and vaccine transport

A bizarre looking creature that may help us make vaccines last longer to move them across the globe. It is less than a millimetre long but the tardigrade is tough - really tough! Its extraordinary survival abilities may hold the key to helping us extend the shelf life of both blood and vaccines. This could extend the distances they can be transported, saving more lives. With Patrick Aryee. www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals #30animals
29/04/1914m 5s

Bat and visual aid

Click, click, click! The bat’s navigational skills could be life changing to people who are blind. Daniel Kish has mastered the art of echolocation and can navigate by tongue clicking. In this podcast, you can try too. With Patrick Aryee. www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals #30animals
22/04/1914m 51s

Woodpecker and black box

A bird’s remarkable skull and the quest to protect aeroplane flight data recorders from damage caused by high impacts. Woodpeckers can hammer repeatedly on trees without damaging their brain. Could this lead to new designs for black boxes and bicycle helmets? With Patrick Aryee. www.bbcworldservice.com/30animals #30animals
15/04/1914m 10s

Mosquito and surgical needle

The blood sucking pest and a pain free surgical needle. Scientists have been studying the mosquito’s mouthparts. Could the dreaded ‘prick’ of a needle soon be a thing of the past? With Patrick Aryee. #30Animals
08/04/1914m 56s

Octopus and camouflage

The eight-limbed master of disguise and surveillance technology. The colour and texture-changing abilities of the octopus are helping researchers develop camouflage. Can we make robots do the same thing? With Patrick Aryee. #30Animals
01/04/1913m 4s

Kingfisher and bullet train

The story of the bird and the engineer. How the kingfisher inspired the design of a train. The 500 series Shinkansen, also known as bullet train, is one of the fastest in the world. It is also quiet, but that was not always the case. This is the tale of Japanese engineer Eiji Nakatsu, the kingfisher, an owl, a penguin and biomimicry. With Patrick Aryee. #30Animals
25/03/1914m 59s

The preview

"It’s about animals which have inspired us": Patrick Aryee explains what it’s all about. Episode one available from 25 March 2019. #30Animals
20/03/193m 9s
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