Do you know why frogs have big eyes that bulge out?
Or why frogs can walk upside down?
Frog eyes are big and come in a stunning range of colors and patterns. Perhaps you have seen a frog resting in the water with only its eyes and nose above the surface. Frogs can protrude their colorful eyes so they can see above the surface while they are underwater! Learning from frogs’ bulging eyes have helped designers to make car lights.
It is almost impossible to sneak up behind frogs since they can not only see in front but also to the sides, and partially behind them. This means that frogs do not even have to move their heads to see. Would it not be fantastic to see things that are behind you by putting on some glasses inspired by frogs’ amazing eyes? What would these glasses look like?
Photo: Irene Mei
Biomimicry is an exciting way to be creative, curious and to observe the world. Bio means life and mimicry means to mimic life and nature. Amazingly frogs have already solved many of the problems that we are facing today. Frog- watching is a fun way to hunt for ideas and solve problems.
Observing frogs leaping through the air can lead to ideas about how to build a jumping robot. Frogs that live on land and in trees have shorter legs while frogs that live in water often have very long, strong legs with webbed back feet to help them swim.
How would you design a swimming robot that can overtake a frog with webbed feet?
Photo: Glenn Simmons
Spending time in nature and discover how fantastic the natural world really is by observing how frogs move around and how they communicate can lead to sustainable solutions. Hearing frogs is easy but it is rather tricky to spot frogs. The frog may jump into the water when it hears a noise. So walk quietly walk towards the sound, stay still and the frog may jump back up after a couple of minutes.
How would you make a shoe that can hold on to the wet and slippery surface?
Tree frogs have the sticky pad on the tips of their fingers and toes, which aid in climbing and helps them to cling on to wet leaves and other smooth surfaces. They can even walk upside down using their suction pads.
Imagine to be able to rapidly change skin texture from smooth to spiny. This is what the “punk rocker” frog, or the Mutable rainfrog (Pristimantis mutabilis) can do. This weird frog might inspire lots of new innovations.
Next time you are out looking for frogs, bring a notebook and write down your observations. Make detailed drawings of what you see and use these as inspiration for ideas ranging from cars to robots, sticky shoes to shape and colour shape changing clothes. Build a cool model of your ideas or make a drawing. You can use recycled material to build a frog robot or a frog lamp.
Be a frog detective this summer and get lots of interesting ideas.
Featured photo: Jim Liestman