TED Conversations

Jamie Samman

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How do you perceive butterflies and moths?

I'm spending my final year of study at Northumbria University looking specifically at what design can do to protect the diminishing species of butterflies and moths in the UK. I'll be exploring how we perceive butterflies and moths, and the potential to change peoples' attitudes towards conservation.


Closing Statement from Jamie Samman

Hi everyone,

I'd just like to say a massive thank you for all your contributions, you've all been a great help!

My project is really gaining speed now, I've spoke to a butterfly conservationist and an entomologist, and am in the process of contacting a farmer to talk to, so I can get a good picture of the implications of farming to butterfly conservation.

The emotional side of butterflies and moths is something you've made me really excited about, and the power of these insects as an educational tool is fascinating.

Thanks you all so much,

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    Nov 25 2013: It's amazing to me to think that the vivid colour on some butterfly wings is not pigment at all, but iridescence. I'm a big fan of biomimetics, and this optical trickery I'm sure could be used more in technology, like iridescent displays:


    These colour displays actually work best in direct sunlight.

    Also moth's eyes have amazing anti-reflective qualities to help them see better in the dark, using a natural nanostructured film, which decreases reflection by effectively removing the air-lens interface:


    Possibilities there for improving anti-reflective coatings on lenses.

    There's so much we can learn from the natural world - one good reason to conserve all we can!
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      Nov 25 2013: Fascinating Allan, and I agree.....there is a lot we can learn from the natural world. I never knew about the moth's eyes....amazing. The colors in nature....butterflies, dragonflies, birds, etc. are also amazing, and bring me pleasure every moment that I observe them:>) As many times as I have seen a monarch butterfly for example, I am still awed by that little fluttering colorful creature:>)
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      Nov 26 2013: very true Allan, we recently had a talk from Raymond Oliver, a specialist in nano technology who discussed the potential of biomimicry in design, and how butterflies possess some really exciting traits! thanks for your inspiring comment

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