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ZQ28

How Can We Drive More Success in Bio-Inspired Design? Ben Morgan

commercial backing is not evident. Gu embodies the patience of an academic researcher, and fully admits that, “although early technical success is apparent, the materials are not ready for the market”. Gu is also expanding her research into highly accurate, self-correcting 3D printing systems. A long-term approach may not be suitable for industrial researchers that aim for a quick turnover of ideas, though this urgency can also result in products that have a shallow understanding of the problem and inferior performance. For example, Speedo’s Fastskin swimsuit, previously discussed in ZQ8 [11], claimed to be biomimetic, but either missed or deviated from the science behind high-speed sharks. Biological researchers found shark skin denticles increase swimming speeds by up to 12% [12]. Surface denticles create negative pressure at the front of the shark which enhances propulsion. Speedo used hydrophobic materials, innovative fabrication techniques, and shape forming characteristics to reduce drag. However, it would not be appropriate, by definition, to label the Sharkskin a biomimicry success - positive results were delivered, but biological traits were not the cause. Gu proposes to apply her research methods to ideas similar to Fastskin. By investigating a wide range of parameters

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such as denticle size, width, angle, and frequency, she believes an improvement on the current design can be found that could benefit any industry dealing with hydrostatic drag. Targeting products in the real world enables key technical decisions during early phases, which can save time, money, and facilitate future product marketing. A holistic approach during development may allow for greater technical success; to allow true value to be created, market and business aspects must be major considerations. Without taking the risk of bringing a product to market, the value of biomimicry cannot be recognized.

Ginger Dosier, Bio-MASON® The ocean depths, although largely unexplored, are an attractive location for bio-inspired designers. Seashells have demonstrated their contribution to mechanical performance, but benefits to material sustainability have also been observed. Ginger Dosier was fascinated in how bacteria can aid the formation of some sandstones and wanted to apply this to architecture. Her interest in sustainable alternatives led to development of a cement brick produced from bacteria.

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zq28 (zygote quarterly)  

ZQ: Our mission is to establish a credible platform showcasing the nexus of science and design in the field of biologically inspired design,...

zq28 (zygote quarterly)  

ZQ: Our mission is to establish a credible platform showcasing the nexus of science and design in the field of biologically inspired design,...

Profile for eggermont

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