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Biomimicry: Inspire, Innovate, Initiate

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Victoria Woodhouse

on 14 October 2014

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Transcript of Biomimicry: Inspire, Innovate, Initiate

Biomimicry: Inspire, Innovate, Initiate
Case Studies
Biomimicry- what is it?
"Bio" meaning life
"Mimicry" meaning to copy
To learn about biomimicry and its presence within science and nature.

Foster critical/collaborative thinking that looks to nature and natural systems, to create innovative solutions for current challenges across many disciplines.

To gain an understanding about the rapidly evolving field of biomimicry, and the ability to view nature as a teacher and a model for future innovation.

To fully comprehend that what we observe, participate in, and perceive, is affected by the environment and our past experiences and as students rooted in interdisciplinary education, we have the incredible ability to create innovative solutions to complex problems.

Biomimicry in Practice
Janine Benyus founded Biomimicry 3.8

A non-profit organization focused on academic and public education with the mission to naturalize biomimicry in the culture by promoting the transfer of ideas, designs, and strategies from biology to sustainable human design

An interdisciplinary approach to creating innovative solutions to global challenges using nature and natural systems.

The design and production of materials, structures, and systems that are modeled on biological entities and processes
How did Biomimicry come to be?
Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) made notes and sketches of "flying machines" from his observations of the flight of birds and their anatomy

The Wright Brothers in 1903 invented the first flying machine based on a pigeon

The term "biomimetics" was coined by Otto Schmitt in the 1950s when he developed the Schmitt trigger based on the nervous system in squid

Biomimetics entered Websters Dictionary in 1974

In the late 1990s biologist, Janine Benyus took a more comprehensive look at biomimicry and published "Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature."
1) An innovator examines how a process works within nature and attempts to apply that approach to an existing problem or piece of technology.


2) The innovator looks at an existing design problem or technology and then looks to the biological world for a solution.

In Janine Benyus's book, she emphasizes nine "laws of nature" that must be considered when developing a biomimetic design:

Nature runs on sunlight.
Nature utilizes only the energy it needs.
Energy fits form to function.
Energy recycles everything.
Nature rewards cooperation.
Nature banks on diversity.
Nature demands local expertise.
Nature curbs excess from within.
Nature taps the power of limits

How do these nine "laws of nature" relate to biomimicry?

How is this inspired by Biomimicry?
 Self-sustaining architecture
• Polar bear fur inspired thermoregulation

 Alternative energy
• Whalepower turbines
• Must alter natures strategies to fit human needs such as damage to environment

 Energy efficient display technologies
• Mirasol display
• Morphotex Fibers

By observing how chimps and other species cope with illness, researchers have acquired leads on plants with promising medical applications to human health.
 The Fastskin FS-Pro Swimsuit
• Design based on V-shaped ridges of Shark Skin
• Micheal Phelps – 2008 Beijing Olympics

An old simple gadget made new by biomimicry
The first prototypes:
The final product:
Designer Toshi Fukaya was determined to make pins safer and was inspired by the retraction of cat claws.
He had some trial and error...
But he finally produced a thumbtack covered by a hollow silicone sheath. The pin is not exposed until it's pressed onto a hard surface like a board or a wall!
In 2005 Mercedes-Benz (DaimlerChrysler AG) developed the "Bionic" car (aka, the ostracion cubicus) modeled after the yellow boxfish.
It has 80% lower nitrogen oxide emissions with its Selective Catalytic Reduction technology (a means of converting nitrogen oxides, by a catalyst, into diatomic nitrogen and water).
Imitated the boxfish's low coefficient of drag from its body shape and the rigidity of its exoskeleton making it extremely lightweight, sturdy but still have a spacious interior!
By Victoria Woodhouse and Hollie McGee
The future of Biomimicry?
Issue: Birds confuse reflections of the sky and trees and fly into glass windows :(
Dr. Meyerhuber (an attorney with an interest in birds), and his friend and Mr. Arnold (an insulated glass manufacturer) came together to come up with a solution to save birds (specifically those endangered) from large windows that were increasingly becoming popularized by modern architecture

Dr. Meyerhuber read an article in a magazine about orb weaver spiders and their use of stabilimenta and showed Mr. Arnold

Broader Impact: Should these design standards become more
common and if products like ORNILUX go into wider use, the
deaths of hundreds of millions of birds could be avoided every
Arnold Glas’s Head of Research and Development, Christian Irmscher, led the technical product development of ORNILUX where he designed a pattern and material with the same spider fibers

He developed a UV-reflective glass coating that would balance visibility to birds and transparency to people by capitalizing on the human eye’s inability to see UV light.
What is Nature?
Forget what we
we know.
Scale: Forms, Processes, Systems
Biomimicry - a fundamentally different way of seeing the natural world.
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