Is this Biomimicry?

The classic biomimicry case study. Burrs have hooks, replicate those hooks and bingo = velcro... but is this all that biomimicry offers? Click on the link to see 7 examples of literal biomimicry.

Biomimicry and Abstraction

So… in the scenarios of sustainability I said I was struggling with my vision of a “biomimicry world”. This is not completely true… my struggle is with the sliding vision between literal interpretations and abstraction. I actually think that all the scenarios of sustainability fit in biomimicry, but that is a further conversation.

Biomimicry suffers from literal connections, replicating spider’s silk, mimicking gecko’s feet as tape and the good old burr inspired velcro. But if I suggest that Lego is biomimicry because it “adapts and evolves”by “building from the bottom up” it is hard for many to see that connection. That is just ‘good design’, not biomimicry! People want the literal translation.

The typical example of where this goes wrong is when someone new to biomimicry, floored by the observation in nature, but is then frustrated that they can’t “source” that organism’s shell to layer on the roof of their building. Biomimicry is not that easy, it’s up to you, as the designer/engineer/innovator, to work how to replicate the performance of the organism in your design.

But even that is too limited. If we are only obsessed with performance, we’ll miss the bigger picture.

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