The Secret Beyond Matter

Biomimetics: Technology Imitates Nature

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Organs Superior to Technology

A July 12, 2001 news release published by America's Sandia National Laboratories announced that as a result of their work, they had "approached the visual acuity of the eye itself." The report stated that using 64 computers, a digital image was produced that took them only seconds to acquire.85

This is a most important development, yet one point shouldn't be forgotten. In as little as one-tenth of a second, human eyes form an image that takes up no more space than one square millimeter on the retina. With this in mind, it can be seen that the human eye is much faster and more functional than 64 computers, using the very latest technology.

Technology Is Unable to Match the Design in the Human Heart

Human beings live for an average of between 70 and 80 years. The human heart beats some 70 to 80 times a minute, for a total of several billion times during the course of an individual's lifetime. The Abiomed company, known for its research into artificial hearts, has stated that despite all its work, it will be unable to imitate the flawless functioning that the heart displays successfully over the years. For the company's newly-developed artificial heart to beat 175 million beats, or about five years, appears a significant target.86

A product of the latest technology, this artificial heart was tested in calves before human beings, although the calves survived for only a few months. The artificial heart developed by the company has been put in safety trials in human heart failure patients in 2004. But, obviously researchers find the human heart so difficult to imitate. Steven Vogel of Duke University, a biomechanic who has also written a book on this subject, describes why:

It's that the engines we have available, whatever their power output or efficiency work so differently. Muscle is a soft, wet, contractile engine, and that's just unlike anything in our technological armamentarium. So you can't imitate a heart . . . 87

Like the genuine article, Abiomed's artificial heart consists of two ventricles. There the similarity ends, however. Alan Snyder of Penn State, a bioengineer who led the research, explains the difference in these terms: "In the natural heart, you're using muscle as a container and the container pumps on its own."88 Pumps that work along the same lines as the heart contain a container and a system that pumps the fluid. In the heart, however, the container carries out its own pumping. That is the difference Snyder summarized.

Alan Snyder

Researchers, wondering how to make a heart that contracts by itself, set the interior walls of the two ventricles into motion by placing a separate engine between them. This artificial heart works with a battery located in the patient's abdomen. This battery has to be recharged continuously by radio waves emitted by a rechargable battery pack patients will wear in a harness.

Our natural hearts, on the other hand, have no need of a battery for energy, because they boast an incomparable muscular design capable of creating its own energy in every cell. Another feature of the heart that can't be replicated is the incomparable efficiency of its pulses. In fact, the heart can pump five liters of blood a minute while at rest, which can rise to 25-30 liters during exercise. Kung, Abiomed's director, describes this extraordinary change of tempo as "a challenge that currently no mechanical device can meet." The artificial heart made by the company can only pump 10 liters a minute at best, which is not sufficient for a great many ordinary activities.89

The real heart is nourished and strengthened according to its needs by the blood it pumps. Such a heart can work for 50 to 60 years with no need for repairs. The heart possesses the capacity for self-renewal, which is why it never loses its ability for uninterrupted work. This is yet another feature that makes it impossible to imitate artificially.

Our heart, which scientists can only dream of matching with present-day technology, shows to us the superior knowledge of our Creator and our Great Lord—God.

From the Immune System, a Solution to the Computer Virus Menace

Once a single computer is affected by a virus, this means that other computers in the world may soon be contaminated as well. Many companies, therefore, have seen it necessary to set up an "immune system" to protect their network systems from viruses and continue to carry out intensive research in this area. One of the centers that is carrying out this work is the virus isolation laboratory at the IBM's Watson Research Center in New York. There, a high-security microbiology laboratory works with lethal viruses, also producing programs that can diagnose the 12,000 or so viruses identified so far—and also isolate the viruses from a computer in a safe manner and then kill them.

IBM is only one of the firms trying to construct a worldwide immune system to protect its existing computer systems from virus threats in the cyberspace. Steve White, one of the company's executives, states that to achieve that end, an immune system like the human body's is needed.

It's only the existence of an immune system that allows the human race to exist. Only an immune system in cyberspace will allow it to exist.90

Pursuing this analogy between the computer and living things, researchers have begun producing protective programs that function like our own immune systems. They believe what we have learnt from epidemiology (the branch of science which studies contagious diseases) and immunology (which deals with the immune system) will be able to protect electronic programs from new threats in the same way that antibodies protect living organisms.

Computer viruses are clever self-replicating programs designed to infiltrate computers, multiply by copying themselves and damage or "hijack" the computers they enter. Indications that such viruses are present include a slowing down of the computer system, occasional mysterious damage to files, and sometimes, complete failure or "crashing" of the computer itself—much as with the various diseases that affect human beings.

To protect our computers against the menace of viruses, identification programs search every code in the computer's memory to find traces of viruses that have previously been identified and stored in the programs' memory. Computer viruses carry traces of the signature of the software writer that let them be recognized. When the computer's search program recognizes that telltale signature, it warns that the computer has been infected with a virus.

Even so, anti-virus programs can't offer complete protection for computers. Some programmers can write new viruses within a matter of a few days and again insert them into cyberspace through just one infected computer. That being the case, it's vital that anti-virus programs be constantly updated so that they have the information they need to recognize new viruses. New anti-virus programs need to be added constantly, therefore, to protect against the virus threat.

With the increasing spread of worldwide use of the Internet, these viruses have begun to spread very much faster and to inflict serious harm to infected computers. IBM researchers have found solutions by imitating natural examples. First of all, just like biological viruses in nature, artificial computer viruses use the host programming to multiply. Starting from that analogy, researchers investigated how the human immune system works to protect the body.

When it encounters a foreign organism, the body immediately begins to build antibodies that will recognize the invader and destroy it. The immune system doesn't need to analyze the whole of a cell that might result in a sickness. Once any preliminary infection has been suppressed, the body keeps a number of the appropriate antibodies in readiness, to respond immediately to any future recurrence. Thanks to these standby antibodies, there is no need to examine the entire infected cell. Similarly, existing anti-virus programs also contain an "antibody" that recognizes not the whole computer virus, but rather its signature.

As we have seen, the solutions to many problems in the technical arena that leave us floundering already exist in nature. Our immune system, of which every detail has been thought out and which functions perfectly, was ready to protect us before we were even born. It is Our Lord Who watches and protects all. In one verse it is revealed:

My Lord is the Preserver of everything.
(Qur'an, 11: 57)

From the Eye to the Camera: the Technology of Sight

1. Object
2. Lens

3. Diaphragm
4. Image on the film

5. Image on the retina
6. Iris

The eyes of vertebrates resemble spheres with openings called pupils through which light enters. Behind the pupils are lenses. Light passes first through these lenses, then through the fluid that fills the eyeball, finally striking the retina. In the retina there are some 100 million cells known as rods and cones. The rod cells distinguish between light and dark, and the cones detect colors. All these cells turn the light falling onto them into electrical signals and send them to the brain via the optic nerve.

The eye regulates the intensity of the light entering it by means of the iris, surrounding the pupil. The iris is able to expand and contract, thanks to its tiny muscles. Similarly, the amount of light entering a camera is restricted by a device known as a diaphragm. In his book Wild Technology, Phil Gates describes how the camera is a very simple copy of the eye:

Cameras are primitive, mechanical versions of vertebrate eyes. They are light-proof boxes equipped with a lens to focus an image on film that is briefly exposed when a shutter is opened. In eyes the image is focused by changing the shape of the lens, but cameras are focused by changing the distance of the lens from the film.91


1. Lenses
2. Light

3. Film
4. Iris diaphragm

This is the first step in taking a photograph. The same kind of focusing of an image is also necessary in order for it to fall clearly onto the sensitive retina in the eye. With cameras, this is done by hand or automatically in more sophisticated models. Microscopes and telescopes, used to see up close and far away, can also be focused, yet this process always involves a certain loss of time.

The human eye, on the other hand, performs this process constantly by itself, and very quickly. Furthermore, the method it employs is so superior that it cannot possibly be imitated. Thanks to the muscles around it, the lens sends the image onto the retina. Very flexible, this lens easily changes shape, sharpening the point on which light falls by expanding or contracting.

If the lens didn't do this automatically—for instance, if we had to consciously focus on the object of our attention—then we'd have to make a constant effort to be able to see. Images in our sight would blur in and out of focus. We would require time to see anything properly and as a result, all of our actions would be slowed down.

Because God has made our eyes flawless, however, we experience none of these difficulties. When he wants to see anything, no one has to wrestle with setting his eyes' focus and make various optical calculations. In order to see an object clearly, it is sufficient to look at it. The rest of the process is handled automatically by the eye and the brain—moreover, it all takes place in the space of time it takes to wish to do it.

Light Settings

A photograph taken in the daytime will be very clear, but not when the same film is used to take a picture of the night sky. Yet even though our eyes open and close in less than one-tenth of a second, we can see the stars quite clearly, because our eyes automatically set themselves according to various intensities of light. Muscles around the pupil allow this to happen. If our surroundings are dark, these muscles expand, the pupil widens and more light is allowed into the eye. With plenty of light, the muscles contract, the pupil shrinks and less light is permitted to enter. That is why we enjoy clear vision both night and day.

A Window on a Colored World

The eye "snaps" both a black-and-white picture and a colored one at the same time. These two pictures are later combined in the brain, where they take on a normal appearance, in much the same way as four-color photography combines black with red, yellow, and blue to produce a realistic full-color image.

The rod cells in the retina perceive objects in black and white, but in a detailed manner. The cone cells identify the colors. As a result, the signals received are analyzed, and our brains form a colored image of the outside world.

The Eye's Superior Technology

Compared with the eye, cameras possess a very primitive structure. Visual images are many times more precise than those obtainable with even the most highly developed camera. As a result, images perceived by the eye are of much higher quality than those provided by any man-made equipment.

This whole idea can be better grasped if we examine the principles of a TV camera, which operates by transmitting numerous dots of light. During broadcast, a scanning procedure is applied, and the object before the camera is thus divided into a specific number of lines. A photocell lamp scans all the dots in each line consecutively, from left to right. Having finished scanning one line, it moves on to the next, and the process continues. The light values of each dot are analyzed, and the resulting signal is emitted. This photocell scans 625 or 819 lines in one-twenty fifth of a second. When one entire image is complete, a new one is transmitted. In this way the quantity of signals emitted is very high, all created at a dazzling speed.

The eye's mechanism is much more functional. One can clearly understand the astonishing perfection of its structure when one considers that it never needs to repair or replace any parts.

As medical science advances, the human eye's miraculous nature is being ever better understood. By applying to technology the knowledge we're acquiring about the eye, ever more advanced cameras and countless optical systems are being developed. But no matter how much technology advances, the electronic devices manufactured so far remain a primitive copy of the eye itself. No computer-supported camera or other man-made gadget can rival the human eye.92

So how did this complex structure in the eye emerge?

It is undoubtedly impossible for any structure this complex to form itself by trial and error, over a long period of time. The eye's structure is such that it won't be able to work if even one component is lacking. No design can come about by chance, and the eye reveals a very clear and incomparable design. This leads us to the question of Who designed it. The only Originator of the design is God. The fact that such an organ has been given to us, allowing us to perceive everything round us in the best possible way, is a great reason for us to thank Him. As we are told in one verse of the Qur'an,

Say: "It is He Who brought you into being and gave you hearing, sight and hearts.
What little thanks you show!"
(Qur'an, 67: 23)

Scientists' Attempt to Imitate the Eye


1. Inner retina
2. Outer retina
3. Optic nerve

4. Iris
5. Cornea

Amazed at the eye's functioning, and seeking to duplicate its superior features in the technological field, scientists have recently begun to examine more closely the flawless mechanisms of living things in nature. A number of studies in biomimetics have greatly accelerated progress in the technological arena.

Computer Circuitry Imitates Nature

The retinal cells in our eyes recognize and interpret light, then send this information to other cells to which they are connected. All these visual processes have inspired a new model for computers.

The retina, consisting of nerve cells tightly linked to one another, is not restricted to only perceiving light. Before signals from the retina are transmitted to the brain, they undergo a huge number of processes. For instance, cells that compose the retina process information to accentuate the edges of objects, called "edge extraction," boost the power of the electrical signal and carry out adjustments, depending on whether the ambient illumination is dark or bright. Yes, powerful modern computers are capable of carrying out similar functions, but the retina's neural network uses a relatively much smaller amount of energy.93

Carver Mead

One research team, led by Carver Mead of the California Institute of Technology, is looking into the secrets that allow the retina to carry out all these processes so easily.

Together with the Caltech biologist Misha Mahowald, Mead designed electronic circuits containing light receptors like those in the eye, with a structure similar to the retina's neural network. Also as in the retina, these light receptors are connected to others, allowing the electronic circuit components to communicate with one another, just as retinal cells do.94

Despite all these efforts, however, it's proved to be impossible to imitate the retinal network's circuitry, because of the vast number of individual cells in the living retina and the connections between them. Design engineers, therefore, are now trying to understand how the retina's neural network operates and are designing simpler circuits which, ideally, can perform similar functions.

The Fly's Ear Will Cause a Revolution in Hearing Devices

Ron Hoy

Researchers from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., began studying hearing systems in nature in order to design more sensitive auditory equipment. As a result, they realized that the ear of Ormia ochracea, and its extraordinary design could lead to a revolution in hearing aids. The ear of this species of fly can identify a sound's direction in a most accurate manner. As an article of U.S. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders describes it:

Humans were considered the best creatures at locating sounds... Because humans have six or so inches between their right and left ears, the difference between what each ear hears is greater, making it easier to compute the location of the sound. But with its right ear only half a millimeter away from its left, Ormia has a much bigger challenge in telling the difference.95

Identifying the direction of sounds is essential for Ormia's survival, because it must locate crickets as a source of food for its larvae. The fly deposits its eggs atop the cricket, and its larvae feed on the insect after they emerge.

Ormia has very sensitive ears designed to establish the location of a chirping cricket. It can pinpoint sounds exceptionally well.

For locating sounds, the human brain uses a similar method to that of Ormia. For this purpose, it's enough for sound to reach the closer ear first, then the more distant one. When a sound wave strikes the eardrum's membrane, it is converted into an electrical signal and immediately transmitted to the brain. The brain calculates the milliseconds of difference between the sound's reaching both ears and thus determines the direction it came from. The fly, whose brain is no larger than a pinhead, performs this calculation only in 50 nanoseconds, 1,000 times faster than we can.96

Scientists are trying to use the exceptionally functional design of this small fly's ear in the manufacturing of hearing and listening devices under the brand name of ORMIAFON. As we have shown, even the tiny fly possesses a superior structure and design that demolishes evolution's nonsensical theory of "coincidence." In the same way, this minute creature's every organ and feature display the infinite might and knowledge of our Creator. It is impossible for such a tiny yet complex creature to be recreated even by skillful scientists working together and employing the most advanced technology, let alone through an imaginary "evolutionary" process.

Even this tiny fly constitutes a self-evident proof of God's superior creation.

O Humanity! An example has been made, so listen to it carefully. Those whom you call upon besides God are not even able to create a single fly, even if they were to join together to do it. And if a fly steals something from them, they cannot get it back.
How feeble are both the seeker and the sought!
They do not measure God with His true measure. God is All-Strong, Almighty.
(Qur’an, 22: 73-74)



85 "New standard set for scientific visualizations", Sandia National Laboratories, News Releases, July 12, 2001;

86 Robert Kunzig, "The Beat Goes On," Discover, January 2000.

87 Ibid.

88 Ibid.

89 Ibid.

90 "The Internet strikes back," New Scientist, May 24, 1997.

91 Phil Gates, Wild Technology, p. 54.

92 David H.Hubbel, Eye Brain and Vision, Scientific American Library, 1988, p. 34.

93 Jim Giles, "Think Like A Bee," Nature, March 29, 2001, pp. 510-512.

94 Ibid.

95 "SWAT'z new?—fly that's setting the hearing world abuzz", NIDCD, February 13, 2003;

96 Peter M. Narins, "Acoustics: In a Fly's Ear," Nature 410, 2001, pp. 644-645.


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