Biomimicry & The Future of Design

What is Biomimicry?

Biomimicry is the act of observing nature to learn from it’s innate problem-solving abilities. We can use what we learn from nature to solve everyday design issues in a sustainable way.

Why was Biomimicry considered throughout The Sustainable Future Roadmap project?

Biomimicry is a great jump-off platform for any project. There’s no need to recreate the wheel on every project, and when trying to create environmentally sustainable systems, the environment is the best place to look. So many of our systems are extractive because they are needlessly complex or don’t consider environmental outcomes at the beginning of a project.

Biomimicry from this designer’s perspective:

Something that was pointed out to me when I first became interested in Biomimicry is that a lot of what we know and learn from nature is studied by scientists but scientists don’t usually interact with designers. Biomimicry helps bring these two communities together to help create sustainable natural solutions using data from all around us.

One of my favorite examples was about spider webs. They are so intricate and yet so easy for us humans to just walk into. Not always noticeable, when I learned that other animals such as birds can see these webs easier it was no surprise that someone connected how and what the bird can see and figured out a way to add this to glass windows. By adding this pattern to windows they were able to make it something we humans can see through without disruption, and yet birds can see and avoid safely.

Another example is lily pads. Lily pads are these flat looking plants that float on the surface of the water. They have inspired such things as a design for solar panels that can float in the water, soaking up the sun’s rays as it reflects from the water’s surface. They also provide shade to things under the surface and mimicking the lily pad has proven to help in reef repair by providing the shade from the surface down needed.

Resources

Below are links to some of my favorite Biomimicry case studies on sites that are exceptional places to start your search when beginning a new project.

Medical Surfaces: Shark Skin

The microstructure of a shark’s skin has evolved in such a way that no bacteria or algae can grow on it. Importantly, the surface works without killing micro-organisms. Therefore there is

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Clean Energy: Flower Spirals

In July 2016, a solar-powered airplane flying over the desert region of Andalusia in Spain photographed breathtaking images of the Gemasolar concentrated solar power plant. The plant, operated by Torresol

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Needles: Mosquitos

Materials researchers and engineers at Kansai University in Japan saw amazing potential in the structure of the mosquito’s mouth. They used sophisticated engineering techniques that can carve out structures on the nanometer

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About The Artist

Joy Musillo

Joy Musillo

Charismatic and intuitive UX Researcher. Compassionate, people-first INTJ. Operational navigator. Proactive and start-up agile. Strong, aural learner. Planet saving, road trip warrior.