BIOMIMICRY Nature as Model, Measure, and Mentor Webinar Agenda Introduction to Biomimicry The Scientific Approach to Biomimicry Applying Biomimicry Emerging Topics in.
Transcript BIOMIMICRY Nature as Model, Measure, and Mentor Webinar Agenda Introduction to Biomimicry The Scientific Approach to Biomimicry Applying Biomimicry Emerging Topics in.
Nature as Model, Measure, and Mentor
The Scientific Approach to Biomimicry
Emerging Topics in Biomimicry
Examples of Biomimicry (video link)
Questions and Comments
(From the Greek bios, life, and mimesis, imitation)
Biomimicry is a new science
that studies Nature’s models and then imitates or takes
inspiration from these designs and processes to solve
Biomimicry uses an
ecological standard to judge “rightness” of our
Biomimicry is a new way of
viewing and valuing Nature.
Learning from Nature
how to create flow
PAX Fans and Impellers
Design: How does
Nature attach and
Toxics: Learning from
plants how to clean without
cleaners. The Lotus Effect
Architecture: Learning from termites how to create
Passive Climate Control in the Eastport Building, Harare Zimbabwe
does Nature travel
quickly and smoothly?
The Bullet Train in Japan
Learning from human lungs how to sequester carbon
Agriculture: Learning from prairies how to grow
food sustainably. The Land Institute in Kansas
The Biomimicry Guild’s Functional Taxonomy
What functions do you want your design to perform?
How does life perform that function?
Identify the Real Challenge
Don’t ask “what do you want to design?” (an air conditioner)
Ask “what do you want your design to do?” (make people feel cooler)
Ask “why?” multiple times: (Challenge: Air conditioners use lots of energy
because they use heat to dry desiccants that dehumidify air and then they
must cool the heated air.)
Why use desiccants? (To dry the air)
Why do the units dry air? (Because high humidity makes air feel warmer)
Why are they using heat? (To drive the moisture out of the desiccant so it
can be reused)
So, you want a design to pull moisture
out of air and cool the air!
Develop a Design Brief
for the Needed Function
Biologize the Question:
Identify functions (i.e. purpose, role, or use)
How does Nature do that function?
How does Nature not do that function?
Reframe questions with
Define Operating Parameters
How does nature perform this function HERE?
In this ecosystem?
Integrate Life's Principles
into the Design Brief
Biomimicry uses an
ecological standard to
judge the “rightness” of
our innovation and
Life Creates Conditions Conducive to Life
* Optimize rather than maximizing
Using multi-functional design
Fitting form to function
* Leveraging interdependence
Fostering cooperative relationships
Recycling all materials
* Benign manufacturing
Life friendly materials
Life Adapts and Evolves
* Locally attuned and responsive
Resourceful and opportunistic
Shape rather than material
Simple, common building blocks
Cellular and nested
* Integrates cyclic process
Cross pollination and mutation
* Feedback loops
Antenna, signal and response
Learns and imitates
Decentralized and distributed
Find The Best Natural Models
Go for a walk outside
Consider both literal & metaphorical models
Comb the literature
Brainstorm with Biologists
Imagine 3.8 billion years of design brilliance available for free, at the
moment of creation, to any sustainability innovator in the world.
Imagine nature's most elegant ideas organized by design and
engineering function, so you can enter "filter salt from water" and
see how mangroves, penguins, and shorebirds desalinate without
Now imagine you can meet the people who have studied these
organisms, and together you can create the next great bio-inspired
That's the idea behind AskNature, the online inspiration source for
the biomimicry community.
Identify Deep Patterns & Principles
Look across discovered strategies
Look at the strategies collectively
Specific to your desired function, what
does each strategy have in common?
How are they different?
Deepen the Conversation
you mimicking form?
Can you mimic process?
Can you mimic the ecosystem?
Ask the question - Does the design
create conditions conducive to life?
Evaluate your findings
Can it adapt and evolve?
Thank your teacher (Nature) for the inspiration
The Biomimicry Institute works
with companies to donate a
percentage of sales or savings
of products and processes that
were inspired by Nature to
conservation efforts that help
protect and restore the home
habitats of these inspiring
Emerging Topics - What’s New?
Biomimicry is a 21st Century
The vision is to create
* organizations &
new ways of living
that are well adapted
to life on earth over the
Center for Biologically Inspired Design
Center for Biologically Inspired Design
Biologist in the Board Room
Use knowledge of biological systems and
processes to create valuable assets in
organizations with a commitment to
This ethos can be extended
outside organizations to
supply chain, customers,
communities, and the
“Interface’s values are our guiding
principles.” – Ray Anderson, CEO
Achieving Mission Zero™
evolved into the
our promise to
Interface has on
the environment by
Custom Innovation Habitat
A habitat is seeded with:
Samples from commercially available lab
prototypes and bio-inspired products and
Biomimicry methodologies, systems exploration
and intervention and Life’s Principles.
Expedition pack for field exploration.
Training guide for biomimicry brainstorming.
Interface Carpet’s Custom Innovation Habitat
Amoeba thru Zebra
Comparative analysis of nature’s
strategies and US patent database reveled
a 12% overlap in design solutions.
Amoeba thru zebra research reveals much
of the remaining 88% novel solutions to a
company's specific design challenge.
that wicked moisture away from
the skin during the summer Olympics
Site designers take inspirational cues from
nature to set aspirational metrics for largescale projects.
Goals for ecological performance match
the local ecology can be set by
understanding the ecological performance
of the native ecosystem.
Genius of Place
A survey of the
generates a list of
species in the
Human Artifacts Tell a Story
Genius of Place
For site-specific design challenges of the
built environment, Genius of Place
identifies the functional best practices locally attuned strategies
adopted by local organisms
specific to your design
Development site in Colorado
“The “climate problem” will NOT be
solved through technological innovation.
The LEVER is policy that allows for the
implementation of existing technology.”
Auden Schendler, Aspen Ski Company
The Course Challenge (thesis)
Develop a methodology to evaluate existing
sustainability plans to determine how and
where to incorporate Life’s Principles.
Recommendation how to implement policy
that will incorporate Life’s Principles for:
Cuyahoga County (County Commissioners)
Biofuels Industry (EPA, ORD)
EU Environmental Programs (Sweden)
Thinking About the Whole System
The bureaucracy and
political influence within
can be an impediment
that prevents dedicated
scientists and engineers
from going deeper.
employees the creativity
to find restorative solutions
to environmental problems.
Biomimicry encourages biologists and engineers to
collaborate, using nature as model and measure.
Life manufactures, does chemistry, builds structures,
designs systems, and engineers to within a fine tolerance.
BIOMIMICRY allows us to ask:
What is connected?
Nature as Mentor
* Incredibly competent universe
* Nature’s living examples
* Can live abundantly
and enhance where you live
* Much older mentors have
figured it out
* We can do the same thing
– JANINE BENYUS
Janine M. Benyus
U.S.EPA Region 8
Marie B. Zanowick
Pollution Prevention & Toxics Unit
1595 Wynkoop Street
Denver, CO 80202
Mail code: 8P-P3T
E-mail: [email protected]
To hear more about Biomimicry applications - check out this video