Related worlds


Have you ever struggled to find a solution to a problem? You’ve gone round and round the houses, but end up back at the same place. Well now consider this, who or what else has already solved the issue?

A great example of this type of thinking is the connection between fighter jet pilots and giraffes. 

Fighter jet pilots can pull up to 9G vertically, which as thrilling as it may be, makes them vulnerable as the force pushes all the blood from their brain to their feet causing them to pass out - ultimately effecting their chances of survival in a dog fight. So, how can we stop blood pooling at the feet? This is where we look to giraffes! 

Have you ever wondered how a giraffe stops itself from passing out? 

Giraffe’s are about 5 metres tall and the pressure differences between the top of the giraffe’s head and the bottom of it’s feet can reach over 1,000 pounds a square foot - so how an earth do they avoid passing out? Well, the secret is the extremely tight skin on their legs - this forces the blood to stay up towards the heart and the brain, avoiding any pooling at their feet! 

So why might this information be useful to a fighter pilot?!

Using the physiology of a giraffe, a G-combatting suit was created, worn by both combat pilots and also astronauts. When you pull a G-force manoeuvre the suit pressurises, squeezing your legs, pushing the blood back up to the brain so that the heart can’t pump it downwards, and that’s how we retain the blood in our brain and remain conscious. 

This is a great example of our related world tool – where you ask a clear question and then look for who or what else has solved that issue or similar, in this case the giraffe.

It’s amazing to think that giraffes have helped fighter pilots - who would ever have imagined?!