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How a coconut can save your cellphone

April 21st, 2017|Categories: Additive Manufacturing, Packaging, Product Design|Sectors: , , , |

How a coconut can save your cellphone

Functional gradients are one of the patterns observed in the natural world as a tactic for lightweighting. Recent research published by IOP Science describes how coconuts exhibit functional gradients through the arrangement of fibers leading to greater impact resistance. Might this inspire, say, lightweight + impact resistant cellphone cases?

Curated by Erin Rovalo

Engineering, biomimicry fusion creates pavilion that grows

March 23rd, 2017|Categories: Architecture, Engineering, Life's Principles, Materials, Product Design, Structures|Sectors: , , , , |

Engineering, biomimicry fusion creates pavilion that grows

The Elytra Filament Pavilion is now displaying in Germany. The pavilion, inspired by the hexagonal structures in beetle wings, is woven by a robot. This Inhabitat article mentions that real-time sensing data directs how the pavilion grows, opening the door for new thinking on how robots and engineering can help our designs evolve (as well as meet other Life’s Principles that seem incongruent with the built design).

Curated by Jamie Dwyer

DNA may hold key to building super computers of the future

March 10th, 2017|Categories: Product Design|Sectors: , , , , |

DNA may hold key to building super computers of the future

One of the most complex, essential, and amazing components of life that holds the key to genetic codes throughout nature, DNA is now being touted as a key to building faster and more efficient computers. This Edgy Labs article details research to mimic DNA’s self-replicating properties to create a computer system that grow as it computes. Looking to nature could create “exponentially” faster computers.

Curated by Janine Benyus

Mussels’ ‘waterproof glue’ relies on multi-molecular technology

March 4th, 2017|Categories: Materials, Product Design|Sectors: , , |

Mussels’ ‘waterproof glue’ relies on multi-molecular technology

This valuable Journal of Experimental Biology review paper dives deeper into the biological mechanisms of mussel adhesion under water. There are more than just amino acids involved. The mussel foot also creates an insulated reaction chamber that enables the adhesive proteins to undergo changes that result in forming solid glue.

Robyn-01Curated by Robyn Klein

Examining biomimicry’s ‘significant potential’ in architecture

March 2nd, 2017|Categories: Architecture, Product Design|Sectors: |

Examining biomimicry’s ‘significant potential’ in architecture

While I think “What can humans learn from nature?” is a better design question than “Can human intelligence design better than nature?” the Design Exchange’s Evolution exhibit in Toronto appears to present some fascinating demonstrations of biomechanics and design opportunities through investigating how nature works. Shauna Levy, President and CEO of Design Exchange, says in this Canadian Architect article, “There is significant potential for innovation through exploration of biomimicry and we have an opportunity to showcase how some Canadian designers have addressed it.”

Erin-01Curated by Erin Rovalo

Dolphins help solve tricky design challenge

February 10th, 2017|Categories: Materials, Product Design, Structures|Sectors: , , , |

Dolphins help solve tricky design challenge

The challenge: Design a micro, hyper-efficient laptop fan. The solution? In this case, computer manufacturing company Lenovo turned to one of our favorite sea mammals, the dolphin. By designing the fan to mimic the shape and design of a dolphin body, they were able to solve a sticky problem and create a high-performance fan for their laptops. Learn more in this Great Big Story video.

Jenna-01Curated by Jenna Cederberg

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

Mutli-functional spine design could help prevent concussions

January 27th, 2017|Categories: Materials, Product Design, Structures|Sectors: , , |

Multi-functional spine design could help prevent concussions

A closer look at hedgehog spines sparked an idea for a new helmet insert that’ll better protect human brains. Hedgehog spines do more than protect the little guys from outside threats, but also provide a highly complex structure to cushion it from falls, according to this Inverse article. A new polymer material, being developed based on the spine structure, could be inserted into helmets to prevent damage during crashes.

Jenna-01Curated by Jenna Cederberg

How spider silk can help deter collisions

January 6th, 2017|Categories: Architecture, Materials, Product Design|Sectors: , |

How spider silk can help deter collisions

How can a spider help save thousands of birds? By inspiring an entirely new product line for the German glass manufacturer Arnold Glas. Ornilux, as described in this Graphisoft article, helps deter bird-glass collisions by mimicking UV reflective strands of silk spun into spider webs. The strands are invisible to humans but detected by birds.

Janine-01Curated by Janine Benyus

Design inspiration from movement without muscles

January 5th, 2017|Categories: Architecture, Packaging, Product Design, Structures, Water|Sectors: , , , |

Design inspiration from movement without muscles

Plants move without muscles—how cool is that?! This recently published paper summarizes recent developments of plant-inspired adaptive structures and materials for morphing and actuation. Several amazing insights by the researchers include that plant motion is water-driven and integrates structure with actuators. These lessons could inspire the design of wide-ranging structural systems that demonstrate adaptive behaviors.

Erin-01Curated by Erin Rovalo