Biomimicry – Forgotten Knowledge

Hat tip to my friend Ian Abbott Donnelly on Twitter @IanAD who keeps a regular eye on the fantastic TED Talks and recommended this new talk by Janine Benyus about what we can learn from Nature

Vodpod videos no longer available.

And if that wasn’t inspiring enough take a look at the Ask Nature website mentioned at the end. This has just added two major pieces of work to my ‘to do’ list:

  1. Review some of my backlog of audio and video recordings of my stories from conservationists to identify interesting biomimicry examples and I know there are tons.
  2. Review the potentials for combining my use of TRIZ (the theory of solving inventor’s problems) with this amazing ‘database of natural trends’.


  1. Your second to-do list has been already done. See Julian Vincent, et al. work on TRIZ and nature’s solutions. He found just a 12% overlap of ideas.

    Biomimetics—its practice and theory
    Julian F. V. Vincent,†Olga A. Bogatyreva, Nikolaj R. Bogatyrev,
    Adrian Bowyer, Anja-Karina Pahl
    Centre for Biomimetic and Natural Technologies, Dept of Mechanical Engineering, The
    University, Bath, BA2 7AY
    Biomimetics, a name coined by Otto Schmitt in the 1950’s for the transfer of ideas and
    analogues from biology to technology, has produced some significant and successful devices and
    concepts in the past 50 years, but is still empirical. We show that TRIZ, the Russian system
    of problem solving, can be adapted to illuminate and manipulate this process of transfer.
    Analysis using TRIZ shows that there is only 12% similarity between biology and technology
    in the principles which solutions to problems illustrate, and whilst technology solves problems
    largely by manipulating usage of energy, biology uses information and structure, two factors
    largely ignored by technology.
    Keywords: Biomimetics; Bionics; TRIZ; technology transfer; Conflict; Inventive

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