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Marina Haslam

Biomimicry is innovation that creates products, processes, and policies that are already well-adapted to life on earth because they are from nature’s current patterns.

In the video she starts off by talking about her neighbor and how he thought that humans built the beautiful wasp nest; but nature builds beauty too.

When you decide to design something ask yourself -”how would nature solve this?” She uses the example of designing a train to be similar to a bird that can dive into water without a splash. The newly designed train was then faster and quieter. This train benefited from nature!

After watching this video it seems that nature can do a lot of things that we can build off of or learn from. I think it is really smart to design products based off nature because if nature has it’s own ways of doing things that already work, such as taking salt out of water and getting water from fog, we should design larger scaled products to do the same and not waste time on high technology and testing for new ways to do the same thing. It also seems that we would be better off to work with nature rather than against nature, which it seems most people are working against it. What I really learned from this video is that nature is genius and I have so much to learn from it!



Biomimicry Challenge drives innovation at L.A. Auto Show

By Tom McKeag

Published December 03, 2013

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Biomimicry Challenge drives innovation at L.A. Auto Show

It is noteworthy that this year's Auto Show 2013 in Los Angeles chose biomimicry as its 10th Design Challenge. Nine contestants vied for first-place honors in the "Biomimicry & Mobility 2025 -- Nature's Answer to Human Challenges" competition, and on Nov. 21, a winner was announced.

I was excited to see what the design shops of some of the best-known carmakers -- including BMW, Subaru and Toyota -- would produce when asked to create a sustainable vehicle of the future based on nature. And while I was a bit disappointed by the results, some designs were truly innovative.

Missed opportunities, interesting concepts

Why was I disappointed? While I have great respect for the effort, technical know-how and sophisticated graphic communication employed, I didn't see very many instances where a principle from nature was translated to an appropriate application.

To be sure, there were a lot of animal shapes that inspired designs, and some terms such as "symbiosis" used, but few of these showed a deep understanding the inspiring phenomena. Several entries, for example, tried to translate biological forms into completely different functional applications, and as a result were unconvincing. Then, of course, there were performance claims that simply could not be supported, including a vehicle design that claimed to be able to walk on water.

Many designs can be clever, but it's difficult to reach a level of biologically inspired innovation. That said, there were some bright spots at the show, with two designs from China making an impression.

SAIC Motor's winning Mobiliant design (Credit: L.A. Auto Show)

SAIC Motor's ant-inspired one-seater

The first was submitted by SAIC Motor as the "Mobiliant," and represented the system-solution approach. The form of an ant inspired the one-seater vehicle, and the concept of mutualism, as exhibited by the ant and the trumpet tree, was behind the system's topology. The design clearly impressed the judges as well, as it ended up winning the competition.

The concept is clever: Vehicles would produce fertilizer as they drove, then return to tall towers where passengers would exit and the manufactured fertilizer would be disgorged. The passengers would go to their jobs and the fertilizer would go into the production of the biofuel that runs the cars.

The design calls for the vehicles to be equipped with super-traction wheels with internal Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) motors that allow them to climb up the sides of the towers and run in any orientation, including upside down. This ability was critical to innovation in the third part of the system: roadway infrastructure. All surfaces of interchanges -- top, bottom and sides -- were shrewdly designed to permit free flow of traffic without any crossing of vehicles, eliminating stops or yields.

The miracle traction in the wheels was enabled by "nano-layered cilia." Cilia are typically used for locomotion, as in bacteria, or transport and filtering, as in a windpipe. But in this case, it seems the designers were going for surface gripping.

There are other ways to make these cars stick to non-horizontal surfaces, including super magnets, or even something as antediluvian as road cables and grips. More challenging would be to allow the driver to arrive without feeling like a pina colada put inside a blender. In addition to driving upside-down to make that left turn at the intersection, the driver must be spun 180 degrees on the vertical axis of the car (and driver) in order to exit through the building portal.

As for the fertilizer production, that, too, seemed to have its technological limits. Inspired by the spiracles of exoskeletons, the car top would filter pollutants and an "enzyme driven transformer" would employ nitrogen-fixing bacteria to convert them into fertilizer. Many complaints could be made of this scheme, including the amount of surface area needed for collection and storage capacity.

What this design does demonstrate is a principle that we see in nature, mutualism, reduced to components simple enough to be replicated in our technological world. Along the way, the designers have come up with some smart ideas to make the system components potentially work in a completely new way. Changfeng Motor Corporation's flexible car design (Credit: L.A. Auto Show)

Changfeng Motor Corporation's shape-shifting vehicle

The second standout, from the Changfeng Motor Corporation, was called the "La Brea -- Los Angeles Bio Research Project," and was of the single-vehicle, road-only type. This design floated to the top in my estimation because of the novelty of its approach, and because, like nature, the designers tried to accomplish two very different functions using the same material. Moreover, that material was organic in form, rather than a collection of the standard mechanical parts.

Still, the concept was a bit of a reach. The designers described a "closed loop and semi-rigid torsion reed network to distribute and manage maneuvering capabilities." The concept involves a bundle of cross-laid tubes that create both the body of the car and the steering mechanism. A flexible nature allows the car to change shape -- although, unlike another entry, this shape change does not make the car significantly shorter for parking.

Many practical considerations were unclear to me: How does the car open up for passengers without interrupting the hydraulics? How is the hydraulic power transferred to the wheels? And how is propulsion created and maintained? It does, however, represent a true jump in what it means to be a car, not just in the body, but in its working systems.

While these two entries were particularly interesting from a bio-inspired perspective, all the designs had something to impart about the future of nature-inspired design. That future is definitely worth getting excited about.



Color from Structure

Researchers are working to understand how often-colorless biological nanostructures give rise to some of the most spectacular technicolor displays in nature.

By Cristina Luiggi | February 1, 2013


Colors may be evolution’s most beautiful accident. Spontaneous mutations that perturbed the arrangement of structural components, such as cellulose, collagen, chitin, and keratin, inadvertently created nanoscale landscapes that catch light in the most vibrantly diverse ways—producing iridescent greens, fiery reds, brilliant blues, opalescent whites, glossy silvers, and ebony blacks.

Structural colors, in contrast to those produced by pigments or dyes, arise from the physical interaction of light with biological nanostructures. These color-creating structures likely developed as an important phenotype during the Cambrian explosion more than 500 million years ago, when organisms developed the first eyes and the ability to detect light, color, shade, and contrast. “As soon as you had visual predators, there were organisms that were either trying to distract, avoid, or communicate with those predators using structural coloration,” says Yale University evolutionary ornithologist Richard Prum.

AGELESS BRILLIANCE: Although the pigment-derived leaf color of this decades-old specimen of the African perennial Pollia condensata has faded, the fruit still maintains its intense metallic-blue iridescence.COURTESY OF P.J. RUDALLEver since, structural coloration has evolved multiple times across the tree of life, as a wide range of organisms developed ways to fine-tune the geometry of some of the most abundant (and often colorless) biomaterials on Earth, engineering grooves, pockets, and films that scatter light waves and cause them to interfere with each other in ways we humans happen to find aesthetically pleasing.

PIXELATED COLORS: Optical microscope image of the Pollia condensata fruit under epi-illumination. Below: Transmission electron micrograph (TEM) showing the cellulose microfibrils within a thick-walled cell of the fruit's outermost cell layer that give rise to the berries’ color.COURTESY OF SILVIA VIGNOLINIFor centuries, scientists have studied the minute structures that give peacock feathers, butterfly wings, and beetle carapaces their striking iridescence, but “nothing really compares to the interest we’ve seen in these species over the last 10 or 12 years,” says physicist Peter Vukusic, a professor of natural photonics at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.

The recent interest stems from the birth of synthetic photonics—a field that aims to create materials that precisely control the flow of light and color through structure. Begun in the late 1980s and early 1990s, synthetic photonics has given rise to ubiquitous technologies such as Blu-ray and to major technological advances in telecommunications. “But if you look at a colorful butterfly, or beetle, or fish, or bird, you see these structures that have been doing a similar job for such a long time,” Vukusic says.



Bio-Inspired LEDs 55% More Efficient

January 9, 2013 by Energy Manager Today Staff


The nighttime twinkling of fireflies has inspired scientists to modify an LED so it is more than one and a half times as efficient as the original, according to papers published in the Optical Society’s open-access journal Optics Express.

Researchers from Belgium, France, and Canada studied the internal structure of firefly lanterns, the organs on the bioluminescent insects’ abdomens that flash to attract mates. The scientists identified an unexpected pattern of jagged scales that enhanced the lanterns’ glow, and applied that knowledge to LED design to create an LED overlayer that mimicked the natural structure.

Researchers say the overlayer, which increased LED light extraction by up to 55 percent, could be easily tailored to existing diode designs to help humans light up the night while using less energy.

Fireflies create light through a chemical reaction that takes place in specialized cells called photocytes. The light is emitted through a part of the insect’s exoskeleton called the cuticle. Light traveling through the cuticle more slowly than it travels through air, and the mismatch means a proportion of the light is reflected back into the lantern, dimming the glow.

The unique surface geometry of some fireflies’ cuticles, however, can help minimize internal reflections, meaning more light escapes to reach the eyes of potential firefly suitors.

Using scanning electron microscopes, the researchers identified larger, misfit scales (pictured), on the fireflies’ cuticles. When the researchers used computer simulations to model how the structures affected light transmission, they found that the sharp edges of the jagged, misfit scales let out the most light. The finding was confirmed experimentally when the researchers observed the edges glowing the brightest when the cuticle was illuminated from below.

Human-made light-emitting devices like LEDs face the same internal reflection problems as fireflies’ lanterns, and researchers thought a factory roof-shaped coating could make LEDs brighter.

In the second Optics Express paper, the researchers describe the method they used to create a jagged overlayer on top of a standard gallium nitride LED. They deposited a layer of light-sensitive material on top of the LEDs and then exposed sections with a laser to create the triangular factory-roof profile.

Since the LEDs were made from a material that slowed light even more than the fireflies’ cuticle, the scientists adjusted the dimensions of the protrusions to a height and width of 5 micrometers to maximize the light extraction.

The paper authors say the technique is easy, and doesn’t require creating new LEDs. It only takes a few additional steps to coat and laser patterns on an existing LED. 

Photo Credit: Optics Express


Scott Coffman





The concept of biomimicry is exactly what it sounds like, mimicking elements in the environment that have evolved to use their natural surroundings to their advantage. As said in the article, we as humans have not been on this planet for long and have not had a chance to adapt like some other species have had. This is why we need to use biomimicry to make up the lost time. Not only this, but biomimicry will allow us to leave a better planet for the next generation and the one after that. If we learn from how species naturally act in a certain environment, we can mimic them and have a long prosperous future.


Phillip Snay 




Although many people do not like bats, either because they are afraid of them or think of them as pest, we need bats because they play a crucial part when it comes to sustainable living. Bats are a very effective method when it comes to pest control. When it comes to organic farming, bats are a more environmentally friendly form of pest control, rather then pesticides. Also without bats, some plants ability to reproduce would decrease by 50%, some of these plants include mangoes, peaches, bananas, and guavas which are crucial to keeping our bodies healthy and disease free, these plants also are a source of energy for our bodies as well. Bats are just a small example of bio-mimicry, but this example just goes to show how there are many different methods found in nature that can increase sustainable living. 



Rose Wilson


In a Ted Talks video from July 2009 Janine Benyus introduces the idea of biomimicry. Benyus describes biomimicry as a sustainable innovation inspired by nature. She says that human beings forget that we weren’t the first ones to build things and that we should more often ask ourselves, “how would nature solve this”. An example that is given is how carbon dioxide can be used as a building block with coral reefs and how we should take this recipe and make use of it. We need to find a way to minimize material while still adding design to it. Practicing biomimicry will allow us to be more in touch with the models of nature and live in a different and more efficient way. Benyus also has a book titled “Biomimicry: What would nature do here”, which goes into further detail about biomimicry. We need to use nature as our teacher and make the world a home to us, but not us alone. I think that Benyus’s motivation to make biomimicry more popular is great. Benyus encouraged the audience to look into their web database. A website I found called Biomimicry 3.8 shows different videos and articles on how we can use biomimicry. 


Here is the link:






Matt Haddock

Human beings have a degree of narcissism. It helps us survive, to put ourselves before others. But we've taken that narcissism to a new level. We've developed a superiority complex. Through gaining so much technological and scientific progress in the last few centuries we've essentially become megalomaniacs, with the believe that the Earth is ours. But we forget that we're a new species here, and the changes we're making to Earth are hurting our fellow species. Species that have just as much a right to be here as we do. In Biomimicry we actually look at innovation through the perspective of nature. In the reading it says the first question to ask when making these innovations is "What would nature do?" to better emulate it. The natural world is full of genius that we can learn from. Biomimcry takes the laws of nature into account not just for sustainability purposes, but also simplicity. 





Mike Bonomo

Biomimicry is the ultimate design format. It is taking the mechanical and physical laws found in nature to do complex tasks in the most simple ways.  Nature is the most creative engineer and designer when it comes to skillfully sustaining life in a constantly changing and competitive environment. We have so much to learn just by looking at the complete organic life cycle of the things that grow right in our own backyards. The most important part about Biomimicry is that these organisms have learned to adapt to suit its living conditions without causing greater harm to its outside environment or neighbor species. Uses the least about of resources for the most effective jobs.  Designing product that can function like this and take away our dependence on devices that run on elements toxic to our enviornment , will change the way people look at simple mechanics to be dependent on flue or electricity.


Jason Nejame


Nature can really teach us a lot. As Janine Benyus has explained, nature works in a way that it has designed itself to be the strongest and most resilient is can be while forming itself and functioning in the most efficient way possible. With so much needed to be in an ecosystem one tree cannot just inefficiently form itself and take all the nutrients for the rest of the forest and its animals, it itself would not survive. There are many things we can learn from nature to biomimic in our own designs. This is very important because we waste a lot of energy and supplies to complete tasks that if we took natures advice would save us a lot of design time along with those wasted energies and supplies. It even had me thinking of ideas of insulation for your house even just using a beehive idea. There are so many variations of things we can take from this. And studying the nature to find ways to copy it is really the only template that we have to be able to sustain yourself on this planet. In other words, nature is the only evidence that we have of living on this planet with longevity. There is absolutely no evidence to support that our current way of life can sustain itself for a long time.  In some ways this reminded me of the eco communities and also had me thinking about how these ideas can be implemented in places were they don't even have access to essential things for life like water. A building that could take fog and turn it into water like that bug has the ability too would revolutionize a community without those resources. 



Elijah Clark

                Biomimicary is all about listening to the natural world around us and seeing how problems we have, are already solved by organisms. The reading was pretty much a repeat of the TED talk done by the author, with many if not all the same examples. The idea that we should look to see how nature collects energy from the sun, or separates salt from water is new to many people.  It may seem new to many but I think its answers are inherent in all of us, and once connected to it again we will see things in a different light. We as humans  like to think we are the pinnacle of existence because of everything we have done,  but its not really what a species has done that makes them the pinnacle  but rather how long have they been able to survive on this ever changing planet. In that case we are very much far behind the multitude of organisms that inhabit this planet with us. One of my personal favorite topics is desertification and specifically the reversal of it, I wonder how nature would handle it. I know it should require large herds of animals. What if I wanted to solve it without these what natural phenomenon exist already and how can we barrow their blue prints to make these changes. Perhaps look at that tree on the west coast that lives in a very wet climate all but two months of the year and during that two moths there isn’t a drop of rainfall. The large amount of rain would be like the monsoon season in may desert areas and the dry season would be similar to the long droughts they have.

Olivia Genier:

I thought the example of using a textured surface to enable water to shed dirt from a surface copying the design of lotus flowers was really neat.  I had had the opposite vision of what a surface should look like if it is to stay clean; that is, flat and smooth.  I think that one of the challenges of the pursuits of biomimicral engineering would be to change the preconceptions that people have of what something is, should be, or should look like.  For instance, people, at least in the Western world, seem to have an affinity for rectangular buildings.  When you think about it, what in nature makes a rectangular home?  To change buildings so that they more resemble a den or a hive, the inclination toward rectangles in architecture needs to be changed.  I feel that thinking differently about form and function and how many of the things that we deal with on a daily basis could be made to function better by copying nature will help to promote the spread of biomimicry.

Robert Rouelle


I think that it is very interesting how much we can learn about creation, and even efficiency from nature. I was amazed to see what types of things we have created based on how nature solved the same problem. I think that humans become so consumed in the fact that we are an advanced species, and think that no other species can create things the way we can. Yes we do create advanced technology, and have the ability to build massive structures, but just like in the ted talk, the wasps created a structure that they might consider to be massive. Figuring out how to solve our problems by looking at nature I think will make everything we do more efficient, and I think if this trend grows consistently we can make advancements as a society, while being environmentally friendly and as efficient as possible.


Victoria Parkhurst


This weeks video about biomimicry surprised me as I hadn't realized how much humans are making products, technologies, and homes to mimic what nature already designed. We spend so much time and money trying to come up with solutions when nature has already figured out the most efficient way to deal with it and we are finally learning to copy what already is there. The bullet train had the problem of noise and an engineer so happened to enjoy bird watching and noticed the kingfisher. He wanted to mimic what the kingfisher did when it went from air to water without a splash, so the engineer modified the nose of the train to helped the changed in air density when it traveled. The shark described in the video was able to prevent bacteria from latching on by having denticles. By making products using these denticles patterns doctors are able to prevent hospital born infections without the use of chemicals. The beetle has a shell that's waterproof and sturdy. Surprisingly that shell is better than a chip bag which consists of 7 layers as opposed to the beetle's one. If we can mimic nature more in our daily lives then we can be more sustainable.


Tanner Parenteau


Nature Wins! Ford Looks To Biomimicry To Sustain Auto Industry (CT Exlusive Interview)

October 29th, 2015 by Tina Casey 

Biomimicry might not be the first word that comes to mind in association with the US automotive industry, but if the Ford Motor Company has any say in the matter, that’s going to change sooner rather than later. Earlier this week Ford teased out some news about its exploration of two-way adhesives based on the special skills of the gecko lizard.

CleanTechnica got a chance to break it all down during a phone conversation earlier this week with Deborah Mielewski, who heads up Ford’s research into biobased plastics and other sustainable solutions.

biomimicry Ford gecko


This video shows that in many cases nature does it best. We have a lot of technology out there but it is cool to see that if we mix technology with things that are found in nature that we can actually make a superior product that we may have never thought of before. 


Tyler Valley 

Review of Biomimicry 


Biomimicry at its core is a pretty fascinating concept. The idea is to use nature as a recipe or a blueprint. It is not by accident that nature is perfect even or especially when all human interference is eliminated. So why not use nature in design? That is the basic concept of biomimicry as I understand it. To achieve this one must ask the question “What would nature do”  In her Ted Talk, Janine Benyus talked about biomimicry and gave some real world examples of “natures apprentices applying this concept in their designs. The first example that i found interesting was the bullet train example. To combat the problem of the sonic boom created by the pressure build up when the train went through a tunnel, the engineer studied the king fisher and it’s ability to go from the air to the water without making a splash. He applied the design which appears to be anth angled/ more pointed nose and viola problem solved. Another example is the buildings exterior designed to simulate that bug that captures the fog with its wings and drinks the water that way. These are great examples of the genius of nature. Nature has had it right for so long and it makes a lot of sense to design things using nature's blue prints.   



Biomimicry is essentially plagiarizing from nature.  Due to the fact that nature has evolved many organisms to solve common problems common to all life by copying those designs we are able to bypass much of the trial and error involved in overcoming these problems. How do trees survive drought?  How do plants have a 90% photosynthesis rate when our best solar panels are only 10% efficient.  By asking these questions and attempting to replicate the results we can use proven design concepts to better create our own products and environment.


-Shawn Britt


Eric Blanchard

      Biomimicry is an amazing way of Designing and making products for humans in a natural way. As humans we used products and chemicals that were made with high pressure, high temperature, and with very toxic chemicals. Now if we real study nature's structural way of solving a problem, we are amazed by the simplicity in how the problem solve. Natures approach to design is the exact opposite to humans design approach. Using much less toxic chemicals from the periodic table. Combined with the with low pressure, and low temperature, nature is able to solve the same problems that human face.

   In the video there was a great emphasis on how nature use structural design to solve certain problems. The one part that really stuck out for me was how a peacock was able to create color. The basic color of the bird was brown. By changing light that passing through its' feathers it was able to create amazing colors. The structural design, the texture, and nature simplistic approach, was all created without harming the environment. 


Andrew Larvia

Biomimicry is the idea that humans have only been trying to make materials and change things in a blink of the evolutionary eye, as opposed to the long history of natural selection and the age of the earth, the idea is to mimic natural designs in our man made designs. This idea of mimicking nature in our designs of things has been around for decades and has been used across a variety of fields. Velcro for example was invented after the creator studied burs that had been stuck to his clothing and adapted the idea to create Velcro. The main question one would ask when trying to design new products or improve older designs is, “What would nature do?” Biomimicry is most successful when you include human beings as a part of nature and not a separate entity. The natural world has millions of solutions to different scenarios, with the growing use of newer and more corrosive materials nature is also developing new solutions to deal with and adapt to those chemicals. The earth has been evolving and flourishing for millions of years before humans were present, animals, plants, insects, and natural elements all serve as blueprints for modern design and innovation.  This article does a wonderful job getting you to think about things a little bit differently such as yourself apart of nature and the idea that the answers to design questions are already out there in nature you just have to find them and mimic it to fit your needs.





pring 2016 posts here:


Nick Hamilton

The discussion of biomimicry is one that is very eye-opening. It is the idea of mimicking nature in every way possible, such as the way that we create and use the needs in our everyday lives. This is something that I think humans should have never evolved out of. Every living organism created by nature goes through certain cycles or evolutions to sustain their species. Then why are humans evolving to unintentionally destroy the planet that gives us life? This is a topic that isn’t fully understood by most people, but anyway, Janine Benyus explains how biomimicry could be a very important tool in sustaining human life, if it is not already too late. This is the idea of copying the ways that nature creates and destroys itself, to sustain any given ecosystem. Humans could adapt to natures cycle of life, and we could work to better the land and ourselves, while sustaining life for us and what is around us. If humans could do this, it could be a massive step in reversing this damage that we have created. Granted, we couldn’t completely reverse the vicious cycle we are in now, but we could dramatically slow it down if this idea of biomimicry is adapted to by our species. I think we could really learn a lot from observing nature’s ways of sustaining life, and we could hugely benefit from it. There is a lot we could learn from plants, animals and all other living organisms on how to sustain the ecosystem around you by using certain practices.


Nick Banta


Biomimicry is the idea of using already existing natural sustainable materials and integrating them seamlessly into our everyday lives. Thus in theory making our overall footprint much less detrimental. One example Janine gives is an organism’s ability to adapt to their surroundings based on a specific ability. Such as a slugs “slime” will produce 1500 times its weight in water allowing the organism to maneuver itself over any conditions making it very versatile. In the word Biomimicry we notice the word “Mimic”. Or to act in the same way as something else. If we mimic the natural healing occurrences found in nature there would be a much larger margin for the decrease of endangered species. Janine describes this process as a “Borrowing”. We would not harvest organisms for their mechanisms that make them unique but instead try to copy these mechanisms to the most natural form. This way of thinking also creates a consciousness of our environment for we will have a much larger appreciation for these already existing organisms. In the upcoming generations if everyone took initiative such as corporations, manufacturers, trading companies, etc, we would not look at this process as obscure but as a conservation of the already existing nature we keep imposing on. 


Madeline Zukowski


This week’s reading I found to be interesting in that it discussed biomimicry in a way that I found easy to connect to. It was presented in a manner that was geared towards the common person so they could take away at least one point of information that could pertain to their lives. Author Janine Benyus spent the first portion of this reading describing what biomimicry is, “innovation inspired by nature,” and how nature has been able to use amazing skills in order to establish community and adapt to the world around them. These features of nature are then brought to the concept of biomimicry as Benyus writes of ways in which we, humans, could take knowledge from our natural surrounds and apply them to our not so natural world that humans have established. In order to implement biomimicry into the human community we need to look at these natural systems, study them, not just understand them, but also take the next step to incorporate their ways into our systems. Overall I found this whole reading to be the most interesting one of the semester, but in particular I enjoyed reading of how Benyus envisions biologists, engineers, geologists, and such to learn from nature and use what they learn in their fields of study. An example of this is when Benyus wrote about our inability to be as productive as plants are in capturing the sun’s current energy, how we are still using energy that has been captured billions of years ago through the use of fossil fuels. I found that this whole article captured sustainability, as we have defined it, because it speaks to creating a system that is lasting and even produces positive effects rather than less bad ones. If we as humans were able to grasp and implement the ideas of biomimicry we would certainty be living a sustainable lifestyle. In regards to the question what else needs to be done I would say that we just need to start doing it. We need to start following the guidance of nature and accept that we are apart of their system, no matter how much we build a separate world, there is no denying that we should adapt rather than conquer. 


Galen Higgins

Biomimicry, is an innovation in sustainable design of our products. As in the name the process is that of mimicking biological functions, structures, and processes that have been designed by “intelligently” through evolution. This intelligence that life possesses is not subjective, it is a simple mission that we have observed: “Life creates conditions conducive to life.” That means to say life is not only utilizing the earth for it’s survival within its generation, but within the lifespan of the species. It is a progressive/evolutionary mindset. My favourite example of biomimicry, so far, is the design of paint that resembles the structure/surface of a lotus flower, which grows out of hot mud wetlands, but by its structure and natural laws cleans itself using rain water allowing the plant to breath properly. The paint they have design, resembling the structure of the lotus leaf when dried, now does not need any sandblasting to clean, dirt just runs off with the rain. Since being introduced to biomimicry, I’ve started asking myself in most situations, what would nature do here? Now, there is no direct answer to this question, therefore we must go outside and observe, make connections, then design a living world, rather than the cancerous effect we have on our planet currently. It’s time to start looking to nature because we’ve been separating ourselves from it since the industrial revolution. It’s time for a ecological industrial revolution. 


Katie Butler

In the video it teaches us that we can learn a lot from nature/other organisms. They have been on this planet longer than us humans. They are a lot more ignorant than us, which makes them closer to the earth. They don’t use chemistry to just bond different things together that aren’t even necessarily supposed to be bonded together. If you think of a worm for example, the worm isn’t really doing anything, but helping the earth. By it filtering dirt through its body and pooping it out a more fertile “soil.” Maybe instead of a worm, we talk about a fish or even a tree, how they don’t really do anything, but help out the earth’s exist in the long run. Most of the things us humans do decrease the longevity of the earth. As compared to humans where we eat a cow and and chop down trees. We are hurting the earth driving cars around, huge factories sending large amounts of smog into the earth's atmosphere. We humans use to much chemicals, where other organisms don’t. We can learn a lot from them!



Skyler Dixon


Biomimicry, explained by Janine Benyus, is a topic that is very interesting in the world of sustainable living. While most solutions to living sustainably include massive leaps in technology, such as solar panels, aquaponics, or wind turbines, biomimicry is so much simpler to understand. According to Benyus, the idea is to replicate nature as it exists without human inventions, with the logical basis that life has been sustainable without these inventions for all of time. A big point that is made is “life upcycles everything”, which means essentially there is no waste or pollution created in the natural world, and this makes complete sense to me. Nature wasn’t created to be self-harming, as everything naturally-made has its own use. Benyus also explains how naturally-made materials can be much more durable than man-made. A comparison is spider’s web to steel, which proves to be five times stronger. Another big point Benyus makes is the existence of carbon dioxide, which is not as harmful as it’s made out to be in contemporary times as it is used by plants and aquatic organisms. What I find to be very interesting is how Benyus shows companies that make efficient technology mimicking how it’s done in the natural world. An example is how a company can make a self-filling water bottle that uses the humidity in the air to create water. As Benyus explains, these inventions that mimic the natural world have proven to be much more efficient than how current technology exists. From this standpoint it seems like a very smart idea to make this ideas widespread around the world. However, I can find one fault in the video, in one specific topic that’s not handled as well in nature: transportation. In today’s world, people need to go places whether by car or by plane, and nature really doesn’t have a sustainable alternative to this, because it’s not a part of the natural world. At this point, the best alternative would be to find ways to power these methods of transportation that don’t create as negative effects as they do now. With research going into technologies like hybrid cars, though, there appears to be some thought going in to it. Biomimicry is a very interesting way of living sustainably, and it appears to be much more efficient than how current technologies exist.



Rebecca Smith


In the reading “Biomimicry: What Would Nature Do Here?” Janine Benyus talks defines what biomimicry is and how we can apply it to the way we design. Biomimicry is the concept of learning from and adopting ideas from nature that can potentially solve our current design flaws or make them more efficient. Nature all around us has already created/adapted solutions to our design problems, it is just a matter of looking to nature as a mentor. “What would nature do here?” is the ultimate question to take the first step towards biomimicry. Benyus closes the reading by saying “I believe we can do what other organisms have done, which is to make of this place an Eden, a home that is ours but not ours alone.” This statement greatly reminded me of the structures that William McDonough presented in the UCLA Oppenheim Lecture. The structures were part of the ecosystem, not separate from that of the rest of nature. Benyus does a wonderful job explaining that we humans are in fact part of nature, not separate from it. I truly believe this is important to realize because it seems that humans have defined themselves as more important than other species or living creatures. Benyus also states that “The earth is abundant and resilient, but she is not endlessly abundant nor endlessly resilient.” In a way, permaculture or the ideas of Ben Falk already support the idea of learning from nature, living with it, making it more resilient as well as becoming resilient, and most importantly mimicking it. The idea of regeneration and resiliency is incorporated into the idea of what nature would do. Seeing as “life has learned to create conditions conductive to life” which is the basic concept of sustainability. To become resilient while preparing for the next generation of offspring. The idea of biomimicry is already being applied today, as seen in the video for biomimicry. I thoroughly believe that biomimicry will play a part in seeking a more sustainable future for the human species. 



Bryan Kirby

In this video we are introduced to an idea known as Biomimicry. Biomimicry is the idea of basically forgetting everything that we as humans have been doing, and taking a step back and watch how the world really works. As human beings we tend to not be able to see passed our own life. We often forget that our specie has only been on earth for a very short time period, and that our way of doing things is correct. An example that I thought was really cool from the video was that spiders use anything that flies into their web, and then they create an amazing material doing chemistry in room temperature that once for once is 5 times stronger than steel. Instead of thinking this way we see a spider and freak out. Another really cool thing that I found in the video was the company called Newlight, and what Newlight has done is take air carbon which has methane which is even worse than carbon, and they create things out of it like chairs and packaging materials out of it. Biomimicry has to be one of the coolest methods of changing our ways on effecting the earth because most of the work has already been done for us. All we have to do is sit back and watch the species that have been here for millions of years.      


Sarah McAdam


Biomimicry is an amazing concept that does;t get enough attention. It is the idea of copying the way our earth deals with problems. We are still a relatively new species on the earth, and we constantly overlook that. We are ignorant to the fact the earth has it’s own ways of dealing with problems. It is not the idea to stop doing anything we do to help protect the earth, but it;s the idea of watching and understanding how the earth works to help itself survive and how we can aid that process. Benyus does a wonderful job at explaining in detail this idea with examples and theories. Benyus wants us to use nature as our teacher, since our earth is infinitely wiser than we are as a whole in taking care of itself and its inhabitants. 


Quinlan Anderson


The main subject in "Biomimicry: What Would Nature Do Here?" Is Biomimicry and how it can be incorporated into industrial design to create a more sustainable way of human existence. Biomimicry is innovation inspired by nature. The first point in the article is that our current ways of maintaining human life is toxic and nonsustaining. We are trying to accomplishing things that life already has accomplished in a much more sustainable, efficient, and more effective manner than ourselves. For instance, in order to produce steel, one has to subject non-renewable elements to extreme levels of heat and pressure; something that requires tremendous energy, resources, and damage to the planet. A spiders web, on the other hand, is five times stronger that steel, and it is created at room temperature with no damage to the earth whatsoever. This leads into the second main point: Life has already solved most of the problems that we are trying to solve today. Engineers are looking for ways to reduce calcium build-up on pipelines, and they are sifting through different chemical concoctions that are both expensive to create and damaging to the environment. However if we look at organisms in our oceans, we will find one with a much more efficient and self-sustaining system to draw calcium and other mineral deposits out of the water supply than our own. The third main point tells us that engineers and biologist should collaborate, rather than being separate entities, in order to accomplish this goal of mimicking nature. There are a number of companies that hire biologists alongside engineers to aid in the development of new products using natures "Genius," as Janet Benyus calls it, to teach us new methods of production. What I found most interesting about this article and video, was the fact that there are small companies out there that have already begun to derive their product designs from those of natural systems. It has restored my faith in our ability as humans to collaborate and adapt to the problems we are facing, and I would think that increasingly more industries will become involved with the production of such products as environmental catastrophe becomes more eminent. I would hope so, at least, because using natures blueprint to design products will improve the sustainability of our society profoundly. I don't think I would do anything differently, this idea is very solid, but I do think that more needs to be done in terms of insinuating this idea on a larger scale. Persuading large corporations to cooperate with such a mode of product design would drastically improve the conditions on this planet.


Evan Doyon


The main subject in "Biomimicry: What Would Nature Do Here?" Is that biomimicry is an innovation that is inspired by nature and it looks to nature as a teacher. Human beings are seen as biological organisms and as a result it makes human beings a part of nature. Compared to past generations, the generation of today have plenty to learn about how to live gracefully on this planet. This article describes organisms as having done everything that us humans would like to do. Some of these things include circumnavigating the Earth, living at top of mountains and at the bottom of oceans. In other words, organisms has done everything that humans cannot do without hurting the environment. The adaptations that occur in life develops a pattern for survival. This article uses the example of a wood frog that can freeze solid in winter and be unharmed during the spring time. The people in today's generation need to learn how to create conditions conductive to life. In terms of biomimicry, we would have to ask ourselves "What would Nature do here?". People have a tendency to get hung up over which conventional method to use to solve a problem. For example, people may get worked up about which cleaning product to use. Instead, this article suggests that we should ask how nature stays clean. What I found most interesting is the question posed in the article which is how does nature power itself. This is a question that is impossible for humans to answer that are not inspired by nature. In a way, this question challenges us to think about our own lives in general. 









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Sarah Camber

I had never heard of this concept before watching the video and reading. I think using ideas from nature to design products is really cool. It only makes since because nature adapts to it's environment in the way that would help it out, so why not take ideas from something in nature that's had years to perfect whatever skill they have. By using the laws of nature to design products it shows that we as humans can take a step back and say we need help and nature can help because we are new and it's been doing it's own thing for years.  I think if we started taking ideas from nature we could become more sustainable in the way that we wouldn't have to keep redoing things because they failed, we could just look at nature and get it right the first time. 







Comments (2)

glb09290@lsc.vsc.edu said

at 12:08 pm on Mar 28, 2016

Georgia Bussink
Sustainable Living Journal: Biomimicry

Biomimicry describes, “mimicking” biological processes. This process may prove instrumental in creating a more sustainable human lifestyle. The article uses examples of nature’s resiliency such as wood frogs, which have the ability to freeze in the winter and then come back to life in the spring, and a maligned garden snail that produces slimy bile so it can climb over thorny terrain without injury. Humans need to emulate this resiliency so that we do not destroy the environment around us. The article comments, “ Luckily, we do not need to make it up. We need only to step outside and ask the local geniuses that surround us”. This is what biomimicry is all about- using the knowledge of the already well-functioning environment to design a human lifestyle that will better fit within that already well-functioning environment.
The article also comments, “Seeing nature as a model, measure, and mentor changes the very way you view and value the natural world. Instead of seeing nature as a warehouse, you begin to see her as a teacher. Instead of valuing what you can extract from her, you value what you can learn from her”
It is this change in philosophy that will be grounds for integrating ourselves into nature rather than viewing ourselves as a separate entity, or as it seems a superior to nature. Nature and human life is interdependent and it is critical to start recognizing it as such.
Currently, biologists and engineers run human lifestyles; it is not very often that these two interfaces comingle and determine the best way to manage human lifestyles in a sustainable way. It is addressed that perhaps the key to managing human lifestyle is to bring experts from many fields together to solve lifestyle issues together. It takes cooperation to turn human lifestyle into a sustainable one.

Evan Fitzsimons said

at 6:35 pm on Oct 29, 2015

biomimicry is something that I have never heard of before, and for a matter of fact I believe is something that will help us further our beliefs. like elijah has said it is a way of listening to nature and using its ways to create things that we never thought imaginable. the ideas about using whale fin designs for wind turbines or designing buildings with the architecture of the bug that drink water through the fog. these are all different ways that through time, and adaptation to environments that help those creatures thrive. In respect to us humans using these things and seeing what these animals have done for centuries, like the women said we were not the first to create houses or figure out how to keep warm, and use them to understand that sustainability can come in different forms than just existing with what we have, new designs can be used to better the existence and create a future.

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