Life's Principles

CE 2006 Biomimicry Workshop (Norbert Hoeller)

© ktsdesign - Fotolia.comThe Canadian Federation of Engineering Students organizes yearly Complementary Education courses that "offer an intimate, focused learning opportunity for engineering students to extend their education beyond the material taught at school".  The University of Toronto was chosen to host the course in 2006 on the theme "BioDesign: Breathing Life into Technology".  I was invited to do full-day workshop on biomimicry to a group of 25 engineering students from universities across Canada as well as the University of Michigan.  The students were in their first to fourth year of study and represented a wide range of disciplines including Nanotechnology, Systems Design and Biological Engineering.

Project Update: Life's Principles Game (Kamelia Miteva)

© Kheng Guan Toh - Fotolia.comCan we use game playing as a way to help people learn and apply the Life's Principles?  Games can be a powerful means of engaging players to develop new skills, solve problems and collaborate with other players.  Jane McGonigal is at the forefront of promoting 'serious games for the public good', such as World Without Oil that encouraged players to explore how a simulated 32-week global oil crisis might unfold and develop their own creative solutions.  In the process, players changed their behavior in ways that lasted well after the game was over. 


The ‘Algae Connects’ Project

© INFINITY - Fotolia.comA common thread in the Turning Ideas into Reality and Making a Living with BID conference calls was the need for more opportunities to do bio-inspired design.  Janet Kübler suggested that the BID Community participate in the 2011 International Algae Competition which had the goal of developing “… an open source collaboratory that expands and shares a vision for algae in our future with design ideas for algae production landscapes, sustainable and affordable algae production systems”.   Although the competition had a flavor of bio-utilization, the Algae Landscape Design track provided an opportunity to design a system that could incorporate ecological concepts and be inspired by the Life’s Principles.

Algae Connects: 2011 International Algae Competition Entry

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The international and interdisciplinary BID Community team collaborated on developing an entry for the 2011 International Algae Competition in the Algae Landscape Design category.  The team decided to take a problem-driven approach, developing a bio-inspired systems solution involving algae that would address important problems associated with a particular place: Haiti both before and after the devastating earthquake of 2011.


Connection-Based Tools for Bio-Inspired Design (Ernst-Jan Mul)

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As part of my thesis in the Masters Program of Integral Product Design (Delft University of Technology), I explored how biomimicry could shape the design process by providing a compelling sustainability vision as well as the means to achieve that vision. Tools and methods are essential for a new design discipline to thrive.   I reviewed the kinds of tools that could be employed in bio-inspired design and developed a model that mapped these tools to the analysis, synthesis, materialization and evaluation phases (shown below).


Making a Living with BID (Norbert Hoeller)

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A number of participants in the Turning Ideas into Reality conference call hosted by Emer Natalio described the challenges of trying to apply their biomimicry skills in the real world.  During the March 2nd BID Community conference call, Ernst-Jan Mul and Mike Westdijk shared their experiences in the Netherlands.  Both had based their Masters' thesis on biomimicry and worked closely with design firms.  In spite of his design firm’s interest in biomimicry, Mike found that time and financial constraints imposed by clients made it difficult to justify biomimicry.  Ernst-Jan had similar issues and decided to become a free-lance designer in January 2010 so that he could maintain his focus on bio-inspired design.

An Interview with a Certified Biomimicry Professional (Lisa Schmidtke)

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Lisa Schmidtke discovered the BID Community site late in 2010 while searching for resources and looking for help in establishing the practice of biomimicry at Clark Nexsen.  She is part of the first cohort of the Biomimicry Institute's Two-Year Certificate program, now called the Biomimicry Professional Certification Program.  Lisa has been actively involved in the BID Community initiatives Turning Ideas into Reality and Making a Living with BID.


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