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Biomimicry on Design

October 26, 2012 by Georgia Konzel   

Biomimicry is using an element that exists in nature as inspiration to solve a problem. This solution  formed from the idea that everything we ever need as humans can be found in the environment.    Biomimicry uses the solutions that nature has already found, and converts them to solve a practical problem. With Biomimicry, plants, animals, and bacteria are the engineers who solve the problems, and human engineers either take their ideas directly to solve the problem, or use their solutions as ideas to find a way to solve a problem. Using solutions that are inspired by the environment really drives home the fact of how important the environment and its biodiversity. Biological Engineers intensively study biomimicry and its effects because they learn many design methods through engineering and apply that to the information that they learn about the environment.

We can learn a lot from the environment  and with biomimicry, we learn how to solve problems based on how nature has solved problems. Biomimicry shows us how we can learn from the environment, instead of taking from it. We can use biomimicry during  the process because it just gives us an options of how to find a sustainable solution. An American inventor name Otto Smith came up with the term biomimetics which means to transfer ideas related to biology and look at them with a technological point of view. This was the idea that started biomimicry because Smith was the first person to bridge the gap between biology and technology. Janine Benyus coined the term biomimicry after writing a book on this topic. Benyus stressed 3 ways that we could look at nature: as a “model” that shows how solutions can be achevied, a “measure” that can judge how sustainable solutions will be, and a “mentor” that can inspire innovations to solve the problem at hand.

A great example of biomimicry, is how George de Mestral, a swiss engineer, invented velcro. He was inspired by the burrs that would cling to his dogs fur. He examined the burrs under a microscope and noticed how they had small hook-like appendage that would cling to the dog.  He designed velcor with the knowledge that he gained about burrs in mind and created one side of the material so that there were hook-like projections, and the other side had loop like projections.

1 Comment »

  1. Richard says:

    good topic. Benyus has a good website with an inventory of biomietic designs. the though tithey are tested by nature and also sustainable

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