Biomimetics as a Design Methodology - Possibilities and Challenges

DS 58-5: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, Vol. 5, Design Methods and Tools (pt. 1), Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24.-27.08.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Lenau, Torben A.
Section: Design Methods and Tools
Page(s): 121-132

Abstract

Biomimetics ? or bionik as it is called in parts of Europe ? offer a number of promising opportunities and challenges for the designer. The paper investigates how biomimetics as a design methodology is used in engineering design by looking at examples of biological searches and highlight the possibilities and challenges. Biomimetics for engineering design is explored through an experiment involving 12 design engineering students. For 7 selected problem areas they searched biology literature available at a university library and identified a number of biological solutions. Central solution principles were formulated and used for designing technical items that could be used to solve the initial problems. Experiences are that biomimetic design can be made successfully using commonly available biological literature and internet resources and that designers without detailed biological knowledge can perform biomimetic design at a conceptual level. However often more detailed understanding of the biological and in particular the biochemical phenomena is required. This could be achieved through collaboration with biologists.

Keywords: Biomimetics, bionik, design methodology, inspiration, functional principles

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