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Filaments modeled after Earth’s fastest falcon

April 22nd, 2017|Categories: Additive Manufacturing, Energy Efficiency, Engineering|Sectors: , , , , |

Filaments modeled after Earth's fastest falcon

The peregrine falcon is delivering some “real innovation and benefits” to aeronautics researchers in England, where they’re copying the bird’s feathers to 3D print filaments that mimic its ability to sense airflow changes, according to this 3D Printing Industry article. It could help create safer, more aerodynamic, and fuel efficient airplanes.

Curated by Janine Benyus

How polar bears can lower our heating bills

April 14th, 2017|Categories: Energy Efficiency, Materials|Sectors: , , , |

How polar bears can lower our heating bills

It makes sense: Want to design the ultimate insulation? Look to the polar bear. That’s what a student at the Royal Academy of Art did to create Plyskin, according to this Materia article. The three-layered material mimics the makeup of a bear’s skin and, most importantly, is being developed biobased and recyclable materials.

Curated by Janine Benyus

Fern fractals inspire fast flow that saves energy

April 8th, 2017|Categories: Energy Efficiency, Materials, Structures|Sectors: , , |

Fern fractals inspire fast flow that saves energy

Solving the challenge of creating smaller, more efficient batteries enables greater use and application of renewable energy systems. Inspired by the microgeometry of fern leaves, scientists created electrodes that can store more power per unit area while reducing the path that electrons have to follow to complete a circuit, according to this Nature article. Small geometries not only increase efficiency, but are amenable to powering small, wearable devices, or large, regional systems.

Curated by Mark Dorfman

Resilient architecture that helps fight climate change

April 7th, 2017|Categories: Architecture, Business Models, Climate Change, Energy Efficiency, Resilience, Structures, Waste, Water, Wellness|Sectors: , |

Resilient architecture that helps fight climate change

Thomas Knittel of McLennan Design has written a thought provoking article in Arcade magazine about his work on an orphanage project in Haiti. Beyond appreciating the form and process inspirations from nature (the strength of tree branching and the filtering ability of bark), I was intrigued by the ecosystem-level thinking that became ingrained in the project. There are not many project teams that are learning resilience lessons from population biology case studies and applying that idea to their buildings, and I found it heartening and valuable.

Curated by Jamie Dwyer

Insect wing flexibility principle adds major turbine oomph

March 11th, 2017|Categories: Climate Change, Energy Efficiency, Structures|Sectors: |

Insect wing flexibility principle adds major turbine oomph

Lessons from nature don’t always have to be complex. The simple principle of “add flexibility rather than rigidity” helped researchers at Paris-Sorbonne University demonstrate the potential to yield 35% more power from wind turbines. While the challenge now lies in scaling the prototypes, abstracting the simple design principle opened up new ways of thinking about blades.

Curated by Dayna Baumeister

Monkey pod tree inspires locally attuned functionality

February 26th, 2017|Categories: Architecture, Energy Efficiency|Sectors: |

Monkey pod tree inspires locally attuned functionality

HOK’s San Francisco office was inspired by local species during its work on the NOAA Daniel K. Inouye Regional Center in Hawaii. The HOK team specifically references learning how the monkey pod tree responds to changing environmental conditions, according to this HOK website article. Using biomimicry methodology as part of their design process brought in an extra focus on functionality of the building, and more importantly, locally attuned functionality.

Jamie-01Curated by Jamie Dwyer

New technology could help us emulate nature’s brilliant shapes

February 4th, 2017|Categories: Additive Manufacturing, Architecture, Carbon, Energy Efficiency, Engineering, Materials, Product Design, Structures, Textiles, Water|Sectors: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

New technology could help us emulate nature’s brilliant shapes

The key to many of nature’s strategies is using shape rather than material. Emulating those shapes, especially at the nano-scale, has proven challenging. This new platform technology has the potential to leverage the shape of nature’s surface textures to add functionality to a wide variety of surfaces by building from the bottom up.

Dayna-01Curated by Dayna Baumeister

Super-powered batteries modeled after human gut

December 17th, 2016|Categories: Energy Efficiency|Sectors: , |

Super-powered batteries modeled after human gut

A new way to help keep batteries powered has been discovered–inside the human gut. According to this BBC article, scientists have mimicked the villi of the small intestine to help trap material that have broken off inside batteries, allowing them to continue powering the battery. This could help develop a battery with five times the energy density as traditional batteries.

Jenna-01Curated by Jenna Cederberg

Important evolutionary lessons from giraffe necks

December 3rd, 2016|Categories: Energy Efficiency, Engineering, Materials, Product Design, Resilience, Structures|Sectors: , , , , , |

Important evolutionary lessons from giraffe necks

Giraffes remind us of life’s “evolutionary baggage”—an important awareness in the practice of biomimicry. Nature’s solutions are local optima (not usually global), yet amazingly still offer huge insights into life’s work-arounds. This fascinating Nautilus article offers a plethora of giraffe lessons worth exploring.

Dayna-01Curated by Dayna Baumeister

Inexpensive irrigation inspired by natures

November 12th, 2016|Categories: Energy Efficiency|Sectors: |

Inexpensive irrigation inspired by natures

An ancient system for moving water to fields for irrigation is suggested as an inexpensive way to use these underground duct systems for a source of heating and cooling buildings in the Sahara. The Fouggara system uses underground and aboveground channels, according to this Science Direct article. A ground-air heat exchanger uses very little driving energy. Pumping air through these channels is suggested as a source for heating, cooling, and ventilation.

Robyn-01Curated by Robyn Klein