December 2010 Newsletter (Issue 7.4)

2011/09/30 This issue now publicly readable.

Welcome to the last issue of the BioInspired! newsletter for 2010.  This issue includes articles on the HOK/Biomimicry Guild Partnership (Mary Ann Lazarus), a case study on early-stage bio-inspired design (Kathleen Murphy), the evolution of the bombardier beetle's chemical defense (Kathryn Nagel) and the implications for searching biological literature (Marc Weissburg), cognitive aspects of bio-inspired design (Ashok K. Goel), a summary of the first Skype conference call (Faye Yoshihara, Janice McDougall, Norbert Hoeller), and a Call to Action.  The PDF also includes a Calendar of Public Events.

The newsletter can be read online or downloaded as a PDF (1.9 MB) using the link near the bottom of this page.  This issue is now publicly readable.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the newsletter!


© Don Hammond/Design Pics/CorbisWe are a community of active or aspiring practitioners with a shared goal of making bio-inspired design a valuable and valued design strategy.  We benefit from the expertise of organizations such as the Center for Biologically Inspired Design at Georgia Tech as well as the experience of members on what works and what still needs to be done.  In addition to delivering information to the community, we need to actively encourage interaction and collaboration within the community.

© Yang MingQi -

HOK is the largest architecture-engineering firm in the U.S. and the fourth-largest worldwide with over 1,800 professionals in 25 offices across three continents.  HOK and the Biomimicry Guild announced a formal alliance in September 2008 that has added depth and breadth to HOK’s offerings through access to the expertise of dedicated Guild staff.  In turn, the Biomimicry Guild has been able to influence large scale projects and demonstrate the value of applying biomimicry to the built environment. 

© johann35 - Fotolia.comI have a passion - unencumbered travel with the perfect carry-on bag at my side.  I want it all - all my favorite thing (yes, even heavy running shoes) in one small, beautiful bag that gently sits, more melds, to my shoulder.  For more than a decade, I have searched, shopped and bought not-quite-the-right one.  This summer, I finally faced the truth - the bag did not exist.  It was time to take the leap and enter the product design world with my big ideas and no experience.

bombardier beetleComplex biological designs are often used by proponents of intelligent design as evidence to refute evolution.  In their view, the idea that organisms perform functions necessary for their survival (i.e., are “designed” for certain tasks) is taken as evidence for the existence of a designer.  Those who do not accept the scientific validity of evolution appear to be fixated on the use of the word “design”, which in their view must represent an intentional process.  As is clear from hundreds of years of study across many fields, evolution is a design process that is sufficient to account for biological characteristics without requiring a guiding intelligence.    

© INFINITY - Fotolia.comAlthough lack of information about biological systems is often considered a key inhibitor, tools and repeatable methods are also essential if we are to become proficient at bio-inspired design.  When new fields are developed, existing methodologies can sometimes be adapted from other disciplines that are comparable or familiar to designers. A better approach involves studying how designers go about designing within the new field. 


© iQoncept - Fotolia.comCan biomimicry help us develop better business and organizational models?  Faye Yoshihara hosted a Skype conference call on October 21st to discuss business models that support sustainable development.  Janice McDougall added her perspectives on creating humane organizational structures that help promote sustainable businesses.

© Lim Jerry -

This section is intended for announcements and opportunities of particular interest to the BID Community as well as a broad range of ways in which members can help support the goals of the community. 


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