How To Use The Fibonacci Series Of Numbers To Build The Ultimate Solar Tree

Photo: Yzmo (CC)

Photo: Yzmo (CC)

What else could we learn from nature, one wonders, if we only paid attention. Andrew Michler reports on this amazing discovery for Inhabitat:

While most 13-year-olds spend their free time playing video games or cruising Facebook, one 7th grader was trekking through the woods uncovering a mystery of science. After studying how trees branch in a very specific way, Aidan Dwyer created a solar cell tree that produces 20-50% more power than a uniform array of photovoltaic panels. His impressive results show that using a specific formula for distributing solar cells can drastically improve energy generation. The study earned Aidan a provisional U.S patent – it’s a rare find in the field of technology and a fantastic example of how biomimicry can drastically improve design.

Aidan Dwyer took a hike through the trees last winter and took notice of patterns in the mangle of branches. His studies into how they branch in very specific ways lead him to a central guiding formula, the Fibonacci sequence. Take a number, add it to the number before it in a sequence like 1+1=2 then 2+1=3 then 3+2=5, 8, 13, 21 and so on a very specific pattern emerges. Turns out the pattern and its corresponding ratios are reflected in nature all the time, and Aidan’s keen observation of how trees branch according to the formula lead him to test the theory. First he measured tree branches by how often they branch and at what degree from each other…

[continues at Inhabitat]

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  • Nunzio X

    Unless the boy posted news of this on his Facebook account, it isn’t really important. (cough, cough)

  • Nunzio X

    Unless the boy posted news of this on his Facebook account, it isn’t really important. (cough, cough)

  • Nunzio X

    Unless the boy posted news of this on his Facebook account, it isn’t really important. (cough, cough)

  • Wanooski

    Why does no one ever suggest, you know, using less “energy”? It’s always about getting more of it or alternative forms of it. Why is it never suggested that you use, you know, less? Or stop. “Well how are we supposed to power our myriad techno novelties that don’t really improve our lives, and in many cases actually detract from them?!” I dunno. So go on wasting your time continuing to try. 

  • Anarchy Pony

    Why does no one ever suggest, you know, using less “energy”? It’s always about getting more of it or alternative forms of it. Why is it never suggested that you use, you know, less? Or stop. “Well how are we supposed to power our myriad techno novelties that don’t really improve our lives, and in many cases actually detract from them?!” I dunno. So go on wasting your time continuing to try. 

    • Liam_McGonagle

      Fair play.  But this really could be revolutionary, not just in terms of the technology, but the philosophical approach to it.

      Not just more aesthetically pleasing.  Not just 20% more efficient during the summer–or 50% more efficient during the winter–than traditional solar panels.  Not just less sensitive to physical placement or less costly and maintanance-intensive. 

      This is deeply responsive to the ecosystem’s gestalt at a fundamental level, in ways that the push for fuel economy standards don’t even approach, much less equal or surpass.

      Yeah, it’s a multi-front battle, and no one’s suggesting ignoring our unsustainable levels of consumption.  But there is something profoundly awesome about this.

  • Anarchy Pony

    Why does no one ever suggest, you know, using less “energy”? It’s always about getting more of it or alternative forms of it. Why is it never suggested that you use, you know, less? Or stop. “Well how are we supposed to power our myriad techno novelties that don’t really improve our lives, and in many cases actually detract from them?!” I dunno. So go on wasting your time continuing to try. 

  • Anonymous

    Fair play.  But this really could be revolutionary, not just in terms of the technology, but the philosophical approach to it.

    Not just more aesthetically pleasing.  Not just 20% more efficient during the summer–or 50% more efficient during the winter–than traditional solar panels.  Not just less sensitive to physical placement or less costly and maintanance-intensive. 

    This is deeply responsive to the ecosystem’s gestalt at a fundamental level, in ways that the push for fuel economy standards don’t even approach, much less equal or surpass.

    Yeah, it’s a multi-front battle, and no one’s suggesting ignoring our unsustainable levels of consumption.  But there is something profoundly awesome about this.

  • Anonymous

    Sadly, Aidan is wrong. His experiment is flawed in multiple ways and the results are incorrect: Optimal angle is mathematically impossible to improve upon, Aidan was measuring voltage which doesn’t measure power generated, etc. However, kudos to Aidan for being the only human being “thinking” out of hundreds of others who just go along with whatever sounds good. For a complete breakdown of the problems with Aidan’s findings go here: http://optimiskeptic.com/2011/08/21/this-is-where-bad-science-starts/

  • http://blog.mrzach.com/ Zachariah Wiedeman

    Sadly, Aidan is wrong. His experiment is flawed in multiple ways and the results are incorrect: Optimal angle is mathematically impossible to improve upon, Aidan was measuring voltage which doesn’t measure power generated, etc. However, kudos to Aidan for being the only human being “thinking” out of hundreds of others who just go along with whatever sounds good. For a complete breakdown of the problems with Aidan’s findings go here: http://optimiskeptic.com/2011/08/21/this-is-where-bad-science-starts/

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