Biomimicry Tools to Inspire Designers
10/07/2015 by Jared Green
ALSA's The Dirt

“Biomimicry is about learning from nature to inspire design solutions for human problems,” said Gretchen Hooker with the Biomimicry Institute at SXSW Eco in Austin, Texas. To enable the spread of these exciting solutions, Hooker, along with Cas Smith, Terrapin Bright Green, and Marjan Eggermont, Zygote Quarterly (ZQ), gave a tour of some of the best resources available for designers and engineers of all stripes:Zygote Quarterly Issus gears / Zygote Quarterly The gears, which Eggermont’s engineer husband modeled and then 3-D printed, were passed around so we could check them out. According to Eggermont, the gears are “remarkably self aligning, backlash free, with a one-directional timing mechanism that sweeps through a subtle 3D path.” They could potentially be applied to our world as “evolved mechanisms, ad hoc hinges, for seldom-used orchestrated movements — precise movements.” Eggermont thinks they could one day be used in space crafts. But thinking more broadly, Eggermont sees the magazine as an educational tool. In the future, she wants each case study in the magazine to have a link to a 3D file that can be downloaded and printed. Real models could then be passed around in classrooms or design firms for inspiration. Benyus, who was also in the session, went even further, calling on fans of biomimetic design to go to natural history museums, scan the collections and create a worldwide library of digital files that could be widely accessed as design models. “We can have a scan jam.”
a web site with biomimicry strategies. The site organizes biological information by function. “Everything nature does fits into a function. And these functions enable us to connect biology to design.”

Tapping into Nature
an online report covering the world of biomimetic design, including an interactive graph.

Zygote Quarterly (ZQ)
a magazine that uses compelling imagery, interviews, and case studies to provide a historical record of the growing biomimetic design movement.

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