June 2011 Newsletter (Issue 8.2)

2011/09/30 This issue now publicly readable.

Welcome to the second issue of the BioInspired! newsletter for 2011.  This issue includes articles on the Biomimicry in Higher Education Webinar, the NSF Bio-Inspired Design workshop, the 2011 San Diego Zoo Biomimicry Conference, an in-depth look at Ernst-Jan Mul's connection tools, a summary of the Making a Living with BID community conference call, and an interview with Lisa Schmidtke.

The newsletter can be read online - a PDF version is currently not available.  This issue is now publicly readable.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the newsletter!

© Don Hammond/Design Pics/CorbisSince the March newsletter was published, the first Participation Rebate has been credited to active paid-up members and $9.21 was refunded to Karen Verbeek's PayPal account. Free memberships that had been offered to anyone who registered on the website expired on June 22. Of the 131 registered users, 23 became paid-up members - calls with these members are being scheduled to get their input on the BID Community. The team working on the Algae Competition has settled on a theme and has scheduled conference calls every two weeks to meet the October 11th deadline.

© ktsdesign - Fotolia.comThis past January, the Biomimicry Institute hosted the webinar “Biomimicry in Higher Education”. The full proceedings, including abstracts of two of the teaching modules, can be purchased from the Biomimicry Institute ($10, 79 page PDF). The event was extremely informative, inspiring and useful for understanding where biomimicry is being integrated into higher learning today. The experiences from a diverse range of educators highlighted some of the challenges they face in bringing biomimicry into the existing curricula but also showed how productive these efforts can be. Imagine what this might be like in another five years!

© INFINITY - Fotolia.comThrough 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".

 

© ktsdesign - Fotolia.comThe third annual San Diego Zoo Biomimicry Conference was held on April 14-15, 2011. The two-day event fostered many new interdisciplinary relationships and received overwhelmingly positive reviews from attendees. There were over 250 people in attendance from throughout the nation and around the world, including Denmark, Switzerland, Canada and Brazil. This conference received significant media coverage, including 3 front-page articles on the San Diego Daily Transcript. The focus of the conference was on the positive economic and environmental impact of bio-inspired innovation and how existing companies and researchers have gone through the design process from concept to completion.

© Fribourg - Fotolia.com

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).

 

© Kheng Guan Toh - Fotolia.com

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.

© frank peters - Fotolia.com

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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