Sunday, 4 March 2018

Owls, Penguins and Kingfishers Inspire Quieter and More Efficient Bullet Trains

Bullet trains in Japan. Image courtesy of DAMASA, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Joel Kontinen

Design in nature is so obvious that it’s practically impossible to deny it.

The University of Guelph newsletter recounts how Japanese engineers solved the sonic boom problem caused by high-speed bullet trains that could reach a speed of 270 km /hour (170 mph).

But every time the train came out of a tunnel it caused a sonic boom that could be heard from 400 metres away.

It needed to be resigned. The research team solved the problem by drawing inspiration from the owl’s feather, the penguin’s belly and the kingfisher’s nose.

The resigned was ”10 per cent faster, used 15 per cent less electricity and travelled under the noise limit in residential areas.

Unfortunately, writer Vicky Lin attributes the amazing design found in birds to Darwinian evolution, concluding: “Evolution has done a lot of research for us.

However, Darwinian processes are blind. They can’t design anything. Nature abounds with intelligent solutions that defy evolutionary explanations. (See examples here, here, here, here and here.).

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” (Romans 1:20, NIV).


Lin, Vicky. 2018. Sustainability solutions and technological innovations are regularly found in nature, writes Vicky Lin. Guelph Mercury (19 February).