The past few years have yielded a promising array of designs inspired by biomimicry, radically diverse in domain and application but unified by a common tangent of brilliant simplicity and impressive efficiency. One such award-winning example is Ornilux Mikado – bird-protection glass inspired by spider webs.

Spiders weave their nets out of special UV-reflecting silk, allowing birds – which are able to detect UV light – to recognize them as obstacles. Standard window panes, however, are made of clear glass that birds have trouble detecting and often injure themselves flying into.


The discreet lifesaver is covered in an innovative coating barely visible to humans. Backlit, it resembles intricate and subtle frost patterns, or Mikado sticks – hence the name. To birds, however, the patterns come to life as powerful UV reflections that signal an impenetrable surface.

The glass architecture is the result of close collaboration between ornithologists, designers and engineers – an epitome of how the cross-pollination of disciplines ignites ingenuity and innovation.

Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine, Design Observer and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.