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BSpecialty-Biomimicry Specialty Program

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Regional Specialist Program
(BSpecialty-Biomimicry Specialty Program)

In response to a tremendous expression of interest from our friends, collaborators and colleagues, The Biomimicry Group is pleased to offer the Biomimicry Specialty (BSpecialty) Program—an 8-month biomimicry training program designed to grow regional biomimicry expertise among individuals that form locally attuned biomimicry networks. Participants in the program will graduate as Regional Biomimicry Specialists, be empowered to incorporate biomimicry into their current or planned professions and serve as alliance members to their local biomimicry network.

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 May 2011 22:28

HOK and Biomimicry Guild Form Alliance to Integrate Nature's Innovations in the Design of Buildings, Communities and Cities Worldwide

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HOK and Biomimicry GuildRelationship will expand mainstream application of bio-inspired design; projects under way in India, with developing opportunities in North America and The Middle East.

HOK and the Biomimicry Guild have forged a first-of-its-kind alliance linking the natural and built environment.

This exclusive relationship between one of the world's largest architectural design firms and the only bio-inspired innovation company will integrate nature's innovations in the planning and design of buildings, communities and cities worldwide.

Established by biologists Janine Benyus and Dr. Dayna Baumeister in 1998, Biomimicry is a science that studies nature's best ideas and imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems. Biomimicry has inspired numerous commercial products and individual building projects, and the new alliance between the Biomimicry Guild and HOK has the potential to dramatically expand its scale and impact.

"Given the size, breadth and diversity of HOK's design practice, our firm can significantly influence the future generation of architecture, planning and interior design projects around the world," says HOK President Bill Hellmuth.

Last Updated on Sunday, 30 January 2011 01:05

A New Industrial City Based on Biomimicry

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Greener than Oz

The design firm HOK and a major car parts manufacturer attempt to build an industrial city of 2 million from scratch, in India, based entirely on "nature’s principles."

It was an unlikely conference room, a barren hill 150 kilometers southeast of Mumbai. But that’s where the three partners met: financiers from Bharat Forge, the world’s largest chassis components manufacturer; planners from HOK, a major international design firm; and a band of biologists from the Biomimicry Guild, a consulting group that looks to biological engineering for design solutions.

Together these three teams had planned to transform the surrounding landscape, a thirsty wasteland, into one of the world’s greenest cities, a thriving industrial metropolis of some 2 million people, designed to perform just like the ecosystem on which its being built — a city greener than Oz, so to speak.

For inspiration, the biologists examined the rocky landscape, the scrub grass and the desiccated thorn bushes for clues on how the genius of life had come to thrive in this forbidding environment.

“The genius has left this place,” they concluded. Then everyone laughed and went on planning recalled Dhaval Barbhaya, HOK’s lead planner.

The project, however, is no joke. Called Khed Special Economic Zone, the city is being heavily marketed as the first urban area to be designed from scratch according to the principles of biomimicry — a concept that many corporations have used for product development, and that HOK has applied to its architecture. The credibility and coffers of large and respectable organizations, not to mention the Indian government, rest on the shoulders of the eight-person Biomimicry Guild guiding the way.

Last Updated on Sunday, 30 January 2011 00:03

Biomimicry: Nature's Alternative to Genetically Engineered Foods

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While developers of genetically engineered foods (GEF) strive to produce hardier and higher-yielding plants, ecologists throughout the world eye transgenics skeptically. They fear that these genetically altered plants, may escape into the wild and displace native plants with unforeseen and potentially devastating results. Dr. Wes Jackson, director of the Land Institute in Kansas, a non-profit research facility devoted to alternative agricultural practices, warns that, if misused, biotechnology may lead to the human-induced degradation of the genomes of plant species. “What is being more or less ignored” in the rush to biotechnology, he Fieldcropssaid in an interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education, “is that some of the same principles and processes that govern an ecosystem, like a forest or a prairie, also operate with genomes. The genome is a miniature ecosystem.”1 Thinking along the same lines, Jane Rissler of the Union of Concerned Scientists of America suggested that transgenic science practices may release a seemingly harmless gene into our food supply with life-threatening consequences.

Growing knowledge of potential risks to ecosystem and human health is prompting many to insist that GEFs be identified and segregated so that consumers can make a choice for or against them. Which brings us to the obvious question: what alternative to the use of GEFs will we find to feed our ever-growing populations? Rissler advocates an alternative vision for agriculture, one based on nature’s own balance, which she calls “sustainable agriculture” or biomimicry.

Janine Benyus, nature writer and champion of nature-inspired innovation, defines the quest of biomimicry as “the conscious emulation of life’s genius. Innovation inspired by nature.”2 In her revolutionary book of the same name, Benyus describes how maverick scientists at the Land Institute are remaking agriculture using self-sufficient crops able to “live amiably with their fieldmates, stay in sync with their surroundings, build soil beneath them and handle pests with aplomb.”3 Using nature as a standard, rather than something to be subdued or ignored, the Land Institute is developing self-fertilizing and pest-resistant farms modeled on natural ecosystems. Their heuristic research represents an ecology-based approach to food production which contrasts with the organism-based approach of GEFs. According to Jackson, biomimicry provides a healthy alternative to the promotion of genetically altered plants more resistant to pesticides, because biomimicry bypasses the use of chemicals altogether.
Last Updated on Friday, 28 January 2011 20:59

Biomimicry may well be the way of future clean renewable energy!

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biowaveBioPower Systems Pty. Ltd are looking to develop biomimicry technologies based on nature’s mechanisms for survival and energy conversion in an ocean environment. They are attempting to mimic nature to develop both ocean wave and tidal energy systems.

The technology is based on 3.8 Billion years of evolutionary optimization in nature’s ocean laboratory. The resulting systems move and sway in tune with the forces of the ocean, and naturally streamline when extreme conditions prevail. This will apparently lead to low design thresholds and associated low costs. 

BiostreamFrom their website BioPower Systems say, “The wave energy conversion system, bioWAVE™, is based on the swaying motion of sea plants in the presence of ocean waves. The hydrodynamic interaction of the blades with the oscillating flow field is designed for maximum energy absorption. This system has numerous advantages over other wave energy devices. For example, the bioWAVE™ is the only wave energy system that captures a wide swath of incident wave energy without using a large rigid structure. It is also the only such device that absorbs energy over the full water depth and continually self-orients with the wave direction. In extreme wave conditions, including hurricanes, the bioWAVE™ is automatically triggered to cease operating and assume a safe position lying flat against the seabed. This is achieved by back-driving the O-DRIVE™ generator and it effectively eliminates exposure to extreme forces, allowing for lower design tolerances and substantial cost savings. Systems are being developed for 500kW, 1000kW and 2000kW capacities to match conditions in various locations.”

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 19:52
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