March 2012 Newsletter (Issue 9.1)

Welcome to the first issue of the BioInspired! newsletter for 2012.  This issue includes articles on the new Zygote Quarterly journal, updates on the Life's Principles Game and Algae Connects project, a review of a 2006 biomimicry workshop for engineering students, and background on the PhD in Biomimicry program at the University of Akron. 

This newsletter is publicly readable - click on the titles to read the full article.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the newsletter!

© Don Hammond/Design Pics/Corbis

Another year has sped by. The big event has been the launch of Zygote Quarterly - the response has been phenomenal. As mentioned in earlier newsletters, ZQ will allow the BioInspired! newsletter to focus on articles of specific interest to the BID Community, including projects and member activities.

We also completed our first project: developing and submitting an entry to the 2011 International Algae Competition. Although we did not make the finals, the team members found the experience worthwhile and want to do another project. We formed a team to submit an entry to the Morph My City Challenge but this project is on hold until we can find someone with architecture and urban planning expertise. Currently, Kamelia Miteva is leading a project to develop a game based on the Life's Principles while Norbert is leading a team working on developing a BID Toolkit.

© 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 overwhelming:

  • 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)


© 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.



© 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.

© 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.

© ktsdesign - Fotolia.comThe University of Akron (UA), Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA), and The Biomimicry Institute (TBI) are launching the first and only PhD training in biomimicry available in the world. Our vision is to bring together designers, entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers and artists to be trained in the emerging discipline of biomimicry. By integrating across disciplines and engaging business, academic and public sector partners throughout the training, we will create innovation leaders that not only understand the technical details of biomimicry but who also have the experience and skills to bring about real change in how products and services are designed and manufactured across all sectors of the economy.


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