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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

Mimicking tooth enamel to create the next super material

March 17th, 2017|Categories: Engineering, Materials, Resilience|Sectors: , , |

Mimicking tooth enamel to create the next super material

This is a perfect illustration of how abstracting the design principle from tooth enamel can lead to a novel material for plane hulls. Structural materials of most transportation devices have the same functional needs (e.g. strength, manage vibration, crack resistant) as tooth enamel, so abstracting the strategy helped a team at the University of Michigan emulate the tooth’s secret to success. According to this Gizmondo article, they used only using metal and polymer, rather than calcium and protein.

Curated by Dayna Baumeister

Honeybee hexagons and the 100x factor

February 24th, 2017|Categories: Engineering, Materials, Structures|Sectors: , , |

Honeybee hexagons and the 100x factor

Even tried and true lessons from nature still yield a myriad of benefits. Ford tapped into the multi-functionality of the hexagons of bees to yield an incredible strength to weight ratio of 100x in the trunk of their Ford EcoSport, according to this Sustainable Brands article. There are hundreds of other lightweighting strategies yet to be tapped into—good news in an era of material frugality.

Dayna-01Curated by Dayna Baumeister

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

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

Looking to insect societies to increase infrastructure efficiencies

October 15th, 2016|Categories: Life's Principles, Resilience|Sectors: , , , |

Looking to insect societies to increase infrastructure efficiencies

Modern infrastructures, such as power grids, are becoming decentralized and self-organized. For example, more and more houses are equipped with solar panels, and heating systems self-adjust to local conditions. In insect societies, resilience emerges as a result of the collective behaviors of individuals. according to this Journal of Royal Society Interface article. Transportation networks, supply chains, and communication networks can benefit from studying how insects deal with disaster and disruption.

Robyn-01Curated by Robyn Klein

Hummingbirds provide new way of looking at navigation

July 24th, 2016|Categories: Product Design|Sectors: , , , , |

Hummingbirds provide new way of looking at navigation

Another amazing adaptations from the wonderful hummingbird has been discovered by scientists, according to this New Scientist article. The “collision avoidance system” built into their brains could help us understand how to engineer better navigation systems, that allow vehicles and aircraft to go faster without crashing–just like a hummingbird.

Janine-01Curated by Janine Benyus

Looking to bat wings to develop better drones

July 9th, 2016|Categories: Energy Efficiency|Sectors: |

Looking to bat wings to develop better drones

The shape-shifting like qualities of bat wings are helping researchers build better drones. According to this Business Insider article, mimicking the physiology of the muscles in a bat’s wing has helped produce drones that fly with more control and use less power.

Jenna-01Curated by Jenna Cederberg

How might materials respond to external cues? Look to the sea snake.

June 14th, 2016|Categories: Architecture, Materials, Packaging, Product Design, Textiles|Sectors: , , , , , , , , , |

How might materials respond to external cues?  Look to the sea snake.

Materials that “respond” to signals from their surroundings are of increasing importance. New research on the ability of Beaked Sea Snakes to sense objects at a distance by “feeling” movements in the water via small domed organs on the surface of their scales, could lead to new innovations in this area.

Mark-01Curated by Mark Dorfman

Mimicking the elegance of photosynthesis

May 9th, 2016|Categories: Carbon, Climate Change, Energy Efficiency, Water|Sectors: , , , , , , |

Mimicking the elegance of photosynthesis

Mimicking photosynthesis is one of the holy grails of biomimicry research, both for energy generation and chemical production. Much progress has been made in that regard, but much remains to be learned and developed. One of the key aspects of photosynthesis is the conversion of water to oxygen and hydrogen, both of which contribute to green energy sources. This Nature.com article (for preview and purchase) highlights the work of scientists at the University of Würzburg, in Germany, who have developed catalysts that bring us one step closer to turning water into a fuel.

Mark-01Curated by Mark Dorfman