'Algae Connects' Update

© Kheng Guan Toh -

Although the TEDxBG (Bulgaria) organizers were interested in having Kamelia Mitevia present the 'Algae Connects' project, they ultimately decided against including the project.  Kamelia had focused on the systems aspects of the design as well as the process we had used.  The organizers appeared more interested whether the 'Algae Connector' component had been built and tested.  We also found out on March 5th that the project had not been selected as a finalist by the International Algae Competition jurors.  One of the competition organizers commented that our presentation was difficult to summarize on a single overview page for the website because of the unusual format and sequence.

The Story Behind Zygote Quarterly (Marjan Eggermont, Tom McKeag, Norbert Hoeller)

© Yang MingQi - Fotolia.comThe inaugural issue of ZQ was officially launched on March 23 to 26 through a wide range of channels, including LinkedIn groups, mailing lists, the BioInspired! site, and e-mails to key opinion leaders and an early Biomimicry Newsletter distribution list.  The response has been gratifying:

  • Fabulous story on Bespoke – like the other stuff too! (Andrée Iffrig)
  • Interested in biomimicry? Check out this MUST SEE new online magazine devoted to the subject. It'll knock your socks off. (Cindy Gilbert) 
  • It absolutely is in a sweet spot and is a gorgeous, informative conduit to bigger and better biomimetic things to come! (Margo Farnsworth)
  • It looks superb, the content is wide-ranging and well-chosen, and the overall intent of what you're doing is focused exactly where it's needed. (Paul Downton)

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.

Announcing Zygote Quarterly

© Lim Jerry -

Marjan Eggermont, Tom McKeag and Norbert Hoeller will be launching a new publication patterned on the Journal of Computational Media Design.  The intent is to reach out to a wider audience and thereby attract a wider range of authors.  This will allow the BioInspired! newsletter to focus on BID Community projects.  The first issue of Zygote Quarterly is planned for March, 2012. 

An Interview with Nature's Apprentice (Igor Barteczko)

© frank peters - Fotolia.comIgor Barteczko joined the BID Community in November and agreed to be interviewed in early December.  His portfolio at ARCHITEORYZM demonstrates his creativity and graphic sense.  Igor is a natural biomimic who also understands the importance of human culture and engineering.  Ultimately, we need viable solutions to human problems that help re-connect us with the natural systems that support our existence.


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

© Kheng Guan Toh -

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.


NSF Bio-Inspired Design Workshop (Norbert Hoeller)


2012/01/21 corrected links to Vincent and Rosen video

Through the efforts of Ashok Goel (Georgia Tech), Dan McAdams (Texas A&M) and Rob Stone (Oregon State), the first NSF-funded Bio-Inspired Design Workshop was held in Palo Alto on March 20, 2011.   The theme was Charting a Course for Computer-Aided Bio-Inspired Design Research, bringing together 34 members of the bio-inspired design research community to explore how we can "systematically mine biological knowledge to solve existing engineering problems". 

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

© Fribourg -

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)

© Kheng Guan Toh -

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.

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