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Design Inspiration From Nature

April 29, 2013
Janine Benyus’s video, “Biomimicry in Acton”, reveals to us the wonders that is biomimicry. Biomimicry looks to nature and natural systems for inspiration. Benyus proposes that when solving a design problem, look to nature first. In nature, there is no such thing as waste, anything that is not used is usually utilized by some other animal. Benyus provides several examples of biomimicry but one that I personally find interesting is the use of Velcro. Velcro was one of the first examples of biomimicry. Velcro was invented by Swiss engineer George de Mestral in 1941 after he removed burrs from his dog and decided to take a closer look at how they worked. He noticed the hooks located on the end of the burrs and adapted that technology into what we know as today as Velcro. While Velcro might not seem like the most important invention, it is an example of how successful biomimicry can be on both a small and large scale.
Coincidently, another movie that pays homage to nature as a model and for design is “The Next Industrial Revolution” by Bill McDonough. In McDonough’s vision humanity takes nature itself as our guide reinventing technical enterprises to be as safe and ever-renewing as natural processes. While biomimicry focuses more on the technical side, McDonough focuses more on theory and ideas. The movie also does an awesome job of showing real world examples of design and revolution by addressing Nike’ approach to making a shoe that has a bio degradable rubber sole. Its examples like this that provide an inspirational look at a hopeful vision of the future.

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