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BIOMIMICRY Nature as Model, Measure, and Mentor BI-O-MIM-IC-RY ( From the Greek bios, life, and mimesis, imitation) Nature as model. Biomimicry is a new science that studies Nature’s models and then imitates or takes inspiration from these designs and processes to solve human problems.

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BIOMIMICRY

Nature as Model, Measure, and Mentor

bi o mim ic ry from the greek bios life and mimesis imitation
BI-O-MIM-IC-RY(From the Greek bios, life, and mimesis, imitation)
  • Nature as model. Biomimicry is a new science that studies Nature’s models and then imitates or takes inspiration from these designs and processes to solve human problems.
  • Nature as measure. Biomimicry uses an ecological standard to judge “rightness” of our innovations.
  • Nature as mentor. Biomimicry is a new way of viewing and valuing Nature.
slide3

Energy Efficiency: Learning from Nature how to create flow without friction.

PAX Fans and Impellers

Design: How does Nature attach and detach?

Gecko tape

slide5

Architecture: Learning from termites how to create sustainable buildings:

Passive Climate Control in the Eastport Building, Harare Zimbabwe

slide6

Transportation: How does Nature travel quickly and smoothly?

The Shinkansen Bullet Train in Japan

slide8

Human Safety:

Learning from Dolphins how to warn people about Tsunamis

slide9

Climate Change:

Learning from human lungs how to sequester carbon

the biomimicry guild s functional taxonomy
The Biomimicry Guild’s Functional Taxonomy

Function is the pivot between life’s wisdom and what we

are trying to achieve intentionally.

  • What function do you want your design to perform?
  • How does life perform that function?

The Biomimicry Guild has produced an organized collection of functions that covers everything that life does and that we might want a design to do.

The functions are grouped by similarity so it’s called a taxonomy (an organized system of naming) of functions.

identify the real challenge
Identify the Real Challenge
  • Don’t ask “what do you want to design?” (an air conditioner)
  • Ask “what do you want your design to do?” (make people feel cooler)
  • Ask “why?” multiple times: (Challenge: Air conditioners use lots of energy because they use heat to dry desiccants that dehumidify air and then they must cool the heated air.)
  • Why use desiccants? (To dry the air)
  • Why do the units dry air? (Because high humidity makes air feel warmer)
  • Why are they using heat? (To drive the moisture out of the desiccant so it can be reused)

So, you want a design to pull moisture

out of air and cool the air!

develop a design brief for the needed function
Develop a Design Brief for the Needed Function
  • Biologize the Question:
    • Identify functions (i.e. purpose, role, or use)
    • How does Nature do that function?
    • How does Nature not do that function?
  • Reframe questions with additional keywords.
develop a design brief for the needed function14
Develop a Design Brief for the Needed Function
  • Define Operating Parameters;
    • “Climate” conditions: (wet, dry, cold, hot, low/high pressure, highly variable, high/low UV,etc.)
    • “Nutrient” conditions: (nutrient poor =no $, nutrient rich = lots of available materials)
    • “Social” conditions: (competitive, cooperative)
    • “Temporal” conditions: (dynamic, static, growing, ageing)

After defining operating parameters, ask:

“How does Nature do that function HERE?

In these conditions?”

integrate life s principles into the design brief
Integrate Life's Principles into the Design Brief
  • Optimize rather than maximize
  • Locally attuned and responsive
  • Build in resilience
  • Leverage interdependence
  • Integrate cyclic processes
  • Use benign manufacturing
find the best natural models
Find The Best Natural Models
  • Go for a walk outside
  • Consider both literal and metaphorical

models

  • Comb the literature
  • Brainstorm with Biologists
identify deep patterns and principles
Identify Deep Patterns and Principles
  • Look across discovered strategies
  • Look at the strategies collectively

Specific to your desired function, what does each strategy have in common?

How are they different?

deepen the conversation
Deepen the Conversation
  • Are you mimicking form?
  • Can you mimic process?
  • Can you mimic the ecosystem?

Does the design

“create conditions conducive to life”?

evaluate your findings
Evaluate your findings
  • Can it adapt and evolve?

Thank your teacher (Nature) for the inspiration

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Nature as Mentor

* Incredibly competent universe

* Nature’s living examples

* Can live abundantly

and enhance where you live

* Much older mentors have

figured it out

* We can do the same thing

– JANINE BENYUS

questions
?? Questions ??

How can EPA use Biomimicry to meet our mission?

Where are the leverage points EPA can use to promote Biomimicry as part of a sustainable ecosystem approach?