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On the use of Biomimicry as a Useful Tool for the Industrial Designer

Authors

  • Nina Louise Volstad,

    1. Department of Product Design, Faculty of Engineering Science and Technology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
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  • Casper Boks

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Product Design, Faculty of Engineering Science and Technology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
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Dr Casper Boks, Department of Product Design, Faculty of Engineering Science and Technology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Kolbjørn Hejes vei 2b, NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway.

E-mail: casper.boks@ntnu.no

ABSTRACT

Designers and engineers are constantly searching for inspiration to solve their problems. One source of inspiration that has been used for centuries is nature. This practice is often referred to as ‘biomimicry’; innovation inspired by nature. This paper reviews existing literature and explores biomimicry information relevant for industrial design. Perceived benefits and pitfalls of using biomimicry in design are critically discussed. The paper stipulates that when used reductively – with the goal of finding a solution, not to necessarily create an ecologically sound product – biomimicry can be seen as a supplement to the designer's existing toolkit. However, it should not be used bombastically as if only nature can provide the panacea for all (sustainable) design challenges. Based on the review, a new biomimicry tool is presented in the form of a card deck, displaying categorized sources of inspiration towards design solutions. This provides industrial designers with an easy starting point to work with this subject. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.

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