biomimetic interfaces

Biomimetic tent design

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This tent design inspired from the structure of a leaf is something I found fascinating. Although, I dont know if it is using biomimetic principles in the true sense, it takes inspiration and understanding from the vein structure of a leaf to translate that into a lightweight tensile structure of a tent. It reflects the adaptation aspect of biomimicry by camouflaging into its surrounding context. According to the designer, trees have been giving mankind shelter for ages and this tent is a way for them to become a part of nature. Although it is a great design, I think it has utilized the structure of the leaf in a very literal sense. But does a biomimetic product HAVE to necessarily, live, breathe, function like an organism?  If it doesn’t, does it render the product as a ‘bad design’?Can designers merely turn to principles in nature for inspiration and guidance and apply it however they deem fit? These are questions I hope to speculate at length during this course…

The next 2 examples are ones are really like and think that they have harnessed meaningful insights from nature and cleverly applied them into the design.

Beetle inspired water bottle


In water-starved areas of the world,safe drinking water for all is a luxury – and one designer has an idea that could harvest water from fog. The design for the Dew Bank Bottle by Pak Kitae mimics the way the “fog beetle” collects dew droplets in ridges on its back. The bottle has a stainless steel dome that becomes cooler than the air in the morning, forming dew drops that slide down into a collection channel. The bottle can harvest about a cup of water at a time, which may not seem like much to us, but could make the world of a difference to these people.

Butterfly screen inspired-display screen


Mirasol, a low-energy alternative to electronic ink for gadgets like cell phones, tablets and e-readers, is a low-voltage display screen that takes inspiration from butterfly wings, which are translucent membranes covered in  microscopic light-reflecting scales. As light passes through a butterfly wing and the wing flaps, sunlight refracts and different wavelengths, making the wing appear colorful when seen from different angles. The Mirasol screen achieves a similar effect with two glass panels and tiny mirrors that reflect colors onto the screen. This means that the screen delivers bright color in strong light, making it easier to see in the sun, using natural light from the environment rather than artificial lighting.


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