After going through literature on bio-mimicry and after comparing it with Sir Richard Buckminster Fuller’s vision of a world which works for all humanity, one realizes that the present-day knowledge of bio-mimicry far supersedes its present-day application. Jenine Benyus and Michael Pawlyn gave this ever-present discipline a new kick and young revolutionaries like Neri Oxman reinvigorated the field in more than one ways. Having said that, one also notices a juggling of scientific jargon going on right now. Bio-mimicry is not obsolete, for instance. It has not been replaced with new ideas like Material Ecology. Bio-mimicry simply means emulating the processes of nature and material and chemical processes are a couple of examples from innumerable such processes. This innovation journal has been established because it was felt by the author that discussion on bio-mimicry has arrived at a point (and too soon, sadly) where design inquiry has deviated from ‘a world which works for all humanity’ towards an inspirational ‘artistic expression’. Here is an attempt to foresee humanity as a synergetic outcome of its tools and technologies. An attempt made by envisioning and actually designing the future, one gadget at a time.
Logical construct is imperative to designing a nature gadget. There are a number of distractions in design process, like forced copying of a natural process where it isn’t needed, personal tendency towards a rather whimsical artistic expression and obliviousness to existing technology etc. So the design process goes through following stages:
- Problem Statement
Time is spent on observing, thinking and reflecting upon the present-day tools and technologies. Sometimes, one reads up on a natural strategy and gets an idea for a gadget. This is a fine approach but there is big chance of forced mimicry in it. Therefore a list of problems are first identified. They vary from politics to sports and from engineering to arts. So they are sorted out in given cataegories.
- Classification of Problem
There are six categories of problems namely Art, Architecture, Sports, Utility, Mobility and Defense. The problem is phrased as a Research Question which helps break down a larger problem into smaller parts.
- Nature Review
At this stage, similar situations (problems and their solutions) are searched in natural world. It is like Literature Review of Nature. There are several freely accessible databases available online. Sometimes, such scenarios are found in major scientific journals (which aren’t freely accessible. But hei, now you know which phenomenon/species/process to search for!) and sometimes elsewhere. Once a close scenario to the problem is identified in natural world, it is studied in depth.
- Technology Review
It is said that when Sir Richard Buckminster Fuller entered his class, he often began by asking students to bring latest research on a given subject. The idea of latest research is central to NatureGadget.com. Say, one isn’t aware of advanced material which can perform a certain task by itself. Lack of this knowledge can render a a design project obsolete before it even begins. An independent research is done therefore, on many facets of technology related to a given gadget.
- Research Montage
Selected sources of research are put together in the form of a visual montage. It would give readers a glimpse of what is being refered to. Weblinks of the images are cited.
- Invention Illustration
After making a number of doodles, sketches and diagrams along the way, a patent drawing/ invention illustration is prepared. This drawing is tagged with numeric labels at important parts of design. Scientists, engineers and researchers who are working in related field May discern more. But these illustrations alongwith their feature images should help general readers envisage nature gadgets as well.