There are lots of influences in nature that turn into design ideas. This is often called biomimicry.
- Another important tool to consider when you're looking at materials, is to look into bioinspiration, or biomimicry. The tool of bioinspiration is when we look at nature and see what nature has done that inspires us in design. When we look at biomimicry, biomimicry actually looks at what nature did and we actually measure what nature did, and then apply that to the product or the design. One of the attributes that we'll look at mostly are its physical properties.
In the physical properties, we'll talk about things like color. How does nature make color? Or, how does nature make a certain color? You might look at, say, the butterfly wing. The butterfly wing... it's very bright, it's brilliant, and it looks great in the sun. It was a great inspiration on some other products that we've seen released in some display technology, where you can actually see the display in direct sunlight by studying the butterfly wing.
The way it looks is that, when you put a butterfly wing under the microscope, it has these little prisms inside of it that are actually measurable, so you can actually look at red butterfly, blue butterfly, and a green butterfly and you can actually get your RGB. You get your three colors and you'll be able to make a color pallette by studying actually the wavelength of the butterfly. So, these are the types of things that we'll look at when we're looking at these different physical properties. If we look at sustainability, you might look at maybe the coral reef.
The coral reef has this ability where nothing is actually wasted. If we use that as an inspiration, we can see some companies that have actually created concrete, for example. Where instead of emitting CO2, it absorbs CO2. The way that the coral works is the way that the concrete was working. Another great inspiration, how materials made based on bioinspiration. When we look at things like structure, structure can be looked at a couple different ways.
One might be an endoskeleton or an exoskeleton, so you might be looking at putting your structure on the outside of something, or your structure on the inside of something. When you marry that structure, you might also add in other attributes. Maybe like speed, cooling, or motion. What kind of structure are you trying to look for? There's a lot of variables that you can be looking at. For example, if you looked at the keratin that is in a toucan's beak, which is if you did a cross-section or you saw the toucan beak, it's very foam-like structure.
You can see how it got to be really long, but at the same time very strong, at the same time very light. You can use that as inspiration of how you might structure something with a outer shell skin, with a foam structure on the inside. Other things, like when we get into speed and mobility and motion, a good reference comparison would be like shark skin. If you look really closely to the skin of a shark, it has these scallops inside it that actually help it maneuver through the water.
Now, it's been shown in some competitive swimming trunks that it actually has helped competitive swimmers move and cut through the water much faster. There's a lot of references on how things were inspired and a few out there that have actually been mimicked. These are the types of things we'll be looking at, whether you're looking at speed, or cooling, or motion, or visibility, or dynamic motion when you look at these kinds of considerations.
Always look back, focus, and think differently. This is one of these tools that will help you with possibilities to answering simple and complex problems.
- How the five senses influence design
- Finding inspiration from nature
- Creating a product from a sustainable material
- Practical application of automotive design
- Product and transportation design
- Custom materials for manufacturing
- Reviewing options for custom materials
- Labs that create custom materials
- Exploring new applications of product materials for product design