As humans, many of us have lost the sensitivity to deeper relationships and essences because we’ve become educated to focus on the particulars of experience as opposed to the universals. For example, suppose we were asked to design a new can opener. Most of our ideas would be driven by our experience and association with the particulars of existing can openers, and we would likely design something that is only marginally different from existing can openers.

If, however, we determined the essence of a can opener to be “how to things open,” and looked for analogies and cues in other worlds, we increase our chances of discovering a novel idea. In nature, for example, when a pea pod ripens its seam weakens and the pea pod opens. This observation led to the invention of producing cans with weak seams that can be pulled and opened.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s focus on universals was certainly at the basis of Leonardo’s genius to form analogies between totally different systems. He associated the movement of water with the movement of human hair, thus becoming the first person to illustrate in extraordinary detail the many invisible subtleties of water in motion. His observations led to the discovery of a fact of nature which came to be called the “Law of Continuity.” He was the first person in history to appreciate how air and water were blended together. “In all cases,” he wrote, “water has great conformity with air. His study of the kinship birds and fishes in motion inspired him to design crude prototypes of the airplane and submarine.

Doctors who worked in mosquito infested parts of Africa have often noted a particular mosquito quirk. When mosquitoes enter into the reach of a brewing storm, they become more passive, flying closer to the ground in search of lower vegetation and protection, and their instinct to bite and suck blood is overridden by the instinct to survive.

Anyone who has been caught in a summer storm knows that it kind of sucks. Evidently, mosquitoes think the same thing, as they apparently choose to seek shelter when they sense an approaching storm, rather than risk hanging out and biting people. Who can blame them, right? Well, maybe no one can blame them, but creative engineers engineers certainly jumped on that evolutionary quirk to find a new way of fending off everyone’s least favorite blood-drinking insects.

Inventor Kurt Stoll believed this to possibly be a revolutionary new way to approach mosquito bites. He looked for a ways to identify something in mosquito genetics he could use to modify their behavior. His research revealed that mosquitos sense brewing storms by sensing weak signals emitted from the storm. He and his team using new technology created an electromagnetic signal that mosquitoes reacted to.

They created a wristband that emits very weak electromagnetic signals which convince mosquitoes that a storm is coming, and they quickly become passive seeking protection in their instinct to survive.


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