Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 1 Biomimicry Cards Demonstrate How to Connect Engineering Problems to Biological Solutions Terri Lynch-Caris1, Jonathan Weaver2, and Darrell Kleinke2 1 Kettering University Industrial & Mfg Engineering Department2 University of Detroit Mercy Mechanical Engineering Department National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) Conference March 23, 2012
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 2 Outline1. Starting Points2. Defining Biomimicry3. Problem-Based-Learning in the Engineering Classroom4. Biomimicry Innovation Card Game5. Next Steps
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 3 Starting Points• There is a need to inspire the next generation of engineers to consider innovative design• Biomimicry is innovative in its attempt to inspire better design through unique characteristics of nature• Engineering education requires engagement of students and faculty with contemporary topics• Problem-Based-Learning is one method to provide relevancy and engagement in the classroom• A fun activity designed to allow students to define a real problem and design a solution utilizing biomimicry principles can be an engaging learning experience
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 4 Biomimicry (or Bionics, Biomimetics, or Biognosis) “Life has been performing design experiments on Earth’s R&D lab for 3.8 billion years. What’s flourishing on the planet today are the best ideas---those that perform well in context, while economizing on energy and materials. Whatever your company’s design challenge, the odds are high that one or more of the world’s 30 million creatures has not only faced the same challenge, but has evolved effective strategies to solve it.” http://www.biomimicryguild.com/indexguild.html
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 5Biomimicry Innovation Game: Inspiration Cards Design Inspired By Nature Starting Point: Nature’s Laws, Strategies, and Principles • Nature runs on sunlight • Nature uses only the energy it needs • Nature fits form to function • Nature recycles everything • Nature rewards cooperation • Nature banks on diversity • Nature demands local expertise • Nature curbs excesses from within • Nature taps the power of limits Source: Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, Janine Benyus Acknowledgement: A great deal of the technical content of this card game comes from the work of the Biomimicry Institute from their website http://www.AskNature.org.
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 6 Shinkansen • Front end modeled after kingfisher’s beak to minimize tunnel entry/exit shockwave • Pantograph supports have serrations modeled after owl plumage to reduce wind noise Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, J. Benyus, Perrenial NY, 2002
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 7 UK Armed Forces Clothing Inspired by Pine Cones • It is difficult to correctly dress for the weather and layers can be cumbersome • UK researchers are investigating clothing made of materials that react to temperature and moisture, much like pine conesSource: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/10/1013_041013_smart_clothing.html
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 8 Problem-Based-Learning The term “problem-based learning” (PBL) is used in medical education in the United Kingdom. This method of teaching and learning in small groups has had a positive impact on medical education and is also relevant to engineering education. In PBL, students are tasked with a problem scenario and must do independent, self-directed study before returning to the group to discuss and refine their acquired knowledge. Such group learning facilitates not only the acquisition of knowledge but also several other desirable attributes such as communication skills, teamwork, problem solving, independent responsibility for learning, sharing information and respect for others. [Wood, 2003] PBL is a natural component for work-integrated learning institutions and follows the theory that students “learn best by doing.”
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 9 “Biomimicry Innovation Tool (BIT)”Students follow a 13-step process to analyze an existing problem and recommend a design solution. The process includes the NABC innovation approach and culminates with a final presentation listing the Needs (N), Approach (A) to the solution, Benefits (B) per cost required to implement the solution and information on the competition (C) to convince colleagues of application.
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 10 There was a need for more classroom engagement to provide tools for students to develop an innovative design.
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 11 Biomimicry Innovation Card Game Taxonomy of unique characteristics “Design inspired by nature” Based on the game “Apples to Apples”
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 12 “Design Inspired by Nature”Problem: Students define a customer need (N) by identifying a work situation that has need of a technical a solution related to a class topic.Inspiration: Approach (A) to innovation is inspired through “Bisociation” with a pair of biological components chosen from a deck of cards.Depth: Students prepare a presentation listing the Benefits (B) per cost required to implement the solution and information on the competition (C) to convince colleagues of application.
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 Blue Penguin 13 Beta-keratin nanofibers on feather tips of blue penguin produce non-iridescent color by coherent scattering of light."Here, we report a new biophotonic nanostructure in the non-iridescent blue featherbarbs of blue penguins (Eudyptula minor) composed of parallel β-keratin nanofibresorganized into densely packed bundles...[A]nalysis of...the barb nanostructure revealed... the organization of fibres at the appropriate size scale needed to produce the observedcolour by coherent scattering. These...penguin nanostructures are convergent withsimilar arrays of parallel collagen fibres in avian and mammalian skin, but constitute anovel morphology for feathers. " (DAlba et al. 2011:1)Application Ideas: Products could be colored by structures that scatter light. Productsdeveloped to scatter light could be produced by self-assembly.
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 Millipede 14 . The many short legs of a millipede provide thrust for burrowing as the leg movements follow a wave along the body.Summary Information: "A millipede advances along a twig. Although renowned for the number of theirlegs, even the longest millipedes have only about 680 legs, and most species have far fewer. You mightexpect that an animal with so many legs would move very fast, but the millipedes legs are so short and itsfat body so close to the ground that its legs take only short strides at a time. Nevertheless, they can deliverconsiderable thrust, and millipedes are strong enough to burrow into the ground very efficiently…The legmovement of the millipede occurs in a wave along the body: certain groups of legs are moving forwards asothers are thrusting backwards. At any given time there are always some legs in contact with the ground atintervals along its body." (Foy and Oxford Scientific Films 1982:45)Application Ideas: Efficient small-scale excavating equipment
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 15 Biomimicry Card GameEach player selects a set of(5) biomimicry cards toconsider for inspirationtoward solving the problem.
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 17 Biomimicry Card GameOne player is chosen to bethe customer with aproblem in need of atechnical solution.
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 18 Follow – up Groups use bisociation to provide an innovation to meet the customer need previously identified, estimating benefits and costs. Students research the competition and include how their innovation exceeds the competition. Prepare a convincing presentation.
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 19 Will this work in the classroom? Would you like to play the game?
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 20 Pass out cards Consider work scenario
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 21Category: Ergonomic issue (excessive reaching), design of theworkplace, Product damageFunction Needed by Innovation: Invention to aid with breaking apartjammed packages with handsDescription of Problem:•jam of packages on the moving belts•damaged packages•dangerous safety hazards for the employees to have to “break the jam”
Explanation of original work scenario NABC Method=Needs List of potential bio-applications ◦ Optimism ◦ Pessimism ◦ Synthesis NABC Method=Approach NABC Method=Benefits NABC Method=Competition
Category: Ergonomic issue (excessive reaching), design ofthe workplace, Product damageFunction Needed by Innovation: Invention to aid withbreaking apart jammed packages with handsDescription of Problem:•jam of packages on the moving belts•damaged packages•dangerous safety hazards for the employees to have to“break the jam”
Original Workplace Design
Important functional needs for the design of the workplace Invention to aid breaking apart jammed packages ◦ Eliminate use of hands ◦ Eliminate need to climb onto belt platform Potential new design for the moving belt Overall belt structure (platform) must remain the same to allow trucks to be loaded
Invention to Remove Jammed Belt DesignPackages Squirrel West European African Lion Hedgehog Spix’s Disc Common Winged Bat Earthworm Insects Clark’s Nutcracker Sandfish Skink
Invention to Remove Jammed Packages Squirrel o sharp claws o can swivel the whole back foot round at the ankle so that it points backwards (versatility) African Lion o Large foot pads-maximum grip o Retractable claws Spix’s Disc Winged Bat o suction adhesion – no risk of puncturing packages Insects o Feet of insects adjust to rough or smooth surfaces by engaging either claws or adhesive foot-pads
Invention to Remove Jammed Packages Squirrel o Claws may be to sharp and damage packages African Lion o Claws may puncture packages Spix’s Disc Winged Bat o Would need variable suction forces Insects o Time to adjust for different sized packages would slow the process
Belt Design West European Hedgehog o Spines work as shock absorbers Common Earthworm o Large volumes move through small spaces o flexible Clark’s Nutcracker o expand and contract to accommodate volume Sandfish Skink o Low friction
Belt Design West European Hedgehog o Shape of belt rails is the issue, not material Common Earthworm o Too flexible o Would need to adjust Clark’s Nutcracker o Space limitations o Stability of belt rails Sandfish Skink o Rare/non-existent material o expensive
Provide an innovative product or service inspired by nature to meet thecustomer need Invention to Remove Jammed Packages Belt Design Robotic Arm Polymer material inspired by Spix’s inspired by Disc Winged Bat o Adjustable suction Sandfish Skink for force belt, belt o Installed on rails, and slide platform o Low friction o http://www.robots.c om/fanuc/r- Redesign 2000ib-200r/432 belt/slide transition
Benefits to the customer’s use of the proposed design and costestimates Invention to Remove Jammed Packages Belt Design Eliminates all Decrease jam manual labor and potential safety risks May eliminate need for jam removing device *Cost estimates could not be located
Insights on competition found and additional options Insights to the FedEx Package Sorting/Loading method http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxD9Uy z4e9o Noteworthy features ◦ Rounded transition from the conveyor belt
Strengths ◦ There were a variety of things in nature to be insprired by from asknature.org ◦ The project allowed for innovation and creativity ◦ The performance criteria and TIIC-b steps were clear and helpful for preparation Areas for Improvement ◦ Define a minimum number of Biomimicry cards needed for design inspiration and include in steps or performance criteria Insights ◦ I was surprised by how helpful the things in nature were when creating new designs ◦ The Biomimicry game in class was very useful for preparation
Biomimicry cards used for Innovation
Squirrel Feet good for climbing"The squirrel is particularly well adapted for tree climbing. It has sharpclaws, and instead of having backward-pointing toes like the climbingbirds, it can swivel the whole back foot round at the ankle so that itpoints backwards. The squirrel can thus hang from an almost verticalsurface provided there is enough irregularity on the tree trunk intowhich to hook its claws." (Foy and Oxford Scientific Films 1982:183)Application Ideas: Rotary joints for machinery, construction joints thatcontribute to compliant structures, hanging temporary reusablescaffolding, flexible bridge joints to increase safety during extremeweather.
African Lion: retractable claws The claws provide versatility for a variety of functions, such as gripping or running, because they are retractable"The paws of a lion resemble those of most of the cat family. Cats and dogswalk in what is called the digitigrade position: the heel and instep are raisedoff the ground, making locomotion quieter and more versatile. The large padson the ball of the foot and on the toes provide a cushion when walking andalso help silence the feet. The lion has retractile claws -- it can retract themwhile at rest or when walking, so that they do not catch in the ground andreduce his speed.”Application Ideas: Tires or vehicles that function well on variousterrains, safety devices for equipment that functions at variousspeeds, retractable awnings, retractable needles or internal medicalequipment.
Disk-like structures on the wrists and ankles of Spixs disk-winged bat adhere to smooth leaves using suction adhesion.Summary Information: "Several of the smallest bats, for instance, use [suctionadhesion] to cling to smooth leaves, with disklike structures on wrists andankles. In the 3.5-gram Thyroptera tricolor of Central America, suctionprovides the main mechanism; these bats minimal reliance on other schemessuch as the two kinds of wet adhesion that follow [Stefan and capillary] limitstheir ability to cling to anything but smooth surfaces (Riskin and Fenton2001)." (Vogel 2003:427)Application Ideas: Suction-cup mounted assemblies with betteradhesion, industrial vacuums for cleanrooms, robotic systems for materialhandling
Insects Feet of insects adjust to rough or smooth surfaces by engaging either claws or adhesive foot-pads.At a magnification of 188X, this scanning electron micrograph (SEM)depicted a head-on view of the distal clawed tip of an adult “figeater”beetle’s, Cotinis mutabilis leg. The insect leg is comprised of a variablenumber of segments, however, there are usually six whichpredominate, including the most proximal coxa, i.e., attaching the leg to thethorax, followed by the trochanter, femur, tibia, tarsus, and pretarsus, whichin the case of this beetle is a claw with its spiked empodium.Application Ideas: The mechanism is of interest to robotics engineersworking on millimeter-sized silicone robots. These robots could performfunctions such as cleansing the surface of tiny machine parts or movingthrough the human body on medical missions.
Spines work as shock absorbers: West European hedgehogSummary Information: "[T]he hedgehog spine is a shock-absorber…The foam-like structure down the center of spines and quills supports the thin outerwalls against local buckling, allowing the structure to bend further withoutfailing…Porcupine quills perform more or less the same as hollow cylinders inbuckling as struts with an axial load; in bending they are 40% or so better. Butthe spines of the hedgehog, with their square honeycomb core andlongitudinal stiffening, are three times better than they would be without thecore." (Vincent 2002:30-31)Application Ideas: Bumpers for buses and trains, guardrails, cables for industrial equipment and pumps, ergonomicequipment.
Common earthworm Large volumes move through small spaces"Flexible cylinders make body skeletons which have enormous advantageswhen it comes to moving around: a considerable volume of body can bepassed through a small space -- hence the earthworm burrowing throughthe ground. As a hollow tube, the cylinder can be used to conduct liquids inor out of small spaces. Provided the constructive material of a cylinder isflexible enough, the cylinder can be bent round corners, or curled up tightlywhen not in use." (Foy and Oxford Scientific Films 1982:21)Application Ideas: Flexible piping for water and HVAC applications inbuildings, small-scale tubing/piping for heating and cooling applications.
The throat of the Clarks nutcracker can temporarily store up to 150 small seeds thanks to an expandable pouch."Technically a diverticulum, or sacklike extension, of the floor of the mouth, thesublingual (under the tongue) pouch is carry-on luggage for birds traveling with pinenuts. Each nut to be pouched is brought into the oral cavity, and dropped into the pouchthrough an opening at the base of the tongue. The pouch wall is thin, wrinkled, andelastic, and stretches as seeds are added, swelling almost to the size of a walnut whenfully packed (Figure 5.3). The capacity of a pouch stuffed with twenty-eight singleleafpinyon nuts is about 28.5 milliliters, sufficiently capacious for ninety seeds of Coloradopinyon. A Clarks Nutcracker sacrificed for science a century ago in Montana had eight-two whitebark pine seeds in its pouch." (Lanner 2006: 42-43) Application Ideas: Individual reusable shopping bags that expand and contract to accommodate volume, food packaging that contracts as volume decreases to eliminate air and maintain freshness, textiles that expand for wearing and contract for seasonal storage.
Sandfish Skink Skin of the sandfish skink exhibits abrasion resistance and low friction when moving through sand due to scales"The sandfish is a lizard having the remarkable ability to move in desert sandin a swimming-like fashion. The most outstanding adaptations to this mode oflife are the low friction behavior and the extensive abrasion resistance of thesandfish skin against sand, outperforming even steel. We investigated thetopography, the composition and the mechanical properties of sandfish scales.These consist of glycosylated keratins with high amount of sulfur but no hardinorganic material, such as licates or lime." (Baumgartner 2007:1)”Application Ideas: Industrial equipment that needs little or no lubricating oils.
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 50 What do students say using SII Assessment?Comments from Industrial Engineering students after using TIIC-b and the Biomimicry Cards in an Ergonomics class
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 51Strengths:Apply biomimicry to the workplace and demonstrate our ability to use NABCThere were a variety of things in nature to be inspired by from asknature.orgThe performance criteria and TIIC-b steps were clear and helpful for preparationAllows for innovation, creativity and problem solving practice for real world issuesAllows for you to either be given or be inspired to create a new solution to your problem at work.Improvements:Define a minimum number of Biomimicry cards needed for design inspiration and include in steps or performance criteriaThe biomimicry game, while fun, isn’t the best way to find the cards that might be the most helpful in inspiring solutions to the problems. Going straight to asknature.org might be better.Having other classmates write the problems can lead to issues as some students don’t put as much work into the problem paper as others.Insights:The 13 steps in TIIC-b were very helpful in organizing the presentationI was surprised by how helpful the things in nature were when creating new designsThe Biomimicry game in class was very useful for preparationInteresting way to see some problems other co-ops experience. Gives you the chance to solve a problem in an environment you may never have the chance to work in.Having a asknature.org to get inspiration from nature in the future can be a great tool for work.
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 52 Other disciplines can use the game with problem topics and applications to various courses.
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 53Industrial Engineering - Ergonomics – strength limitation for lifting heavy objects (occasionally) results in back pain.
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 54Mechanical Engineering - Heat Transfer – Electronics products can overheat due to components generating too much heat. They run less oil or fail quickly. Need is to reduce heat to prevent component failure
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 55Manufacturing Engineering Process – Robotics - Repeatability and accuracy of robot.Need is to provide an end effector that is strong, sensitive and gentle to perform both heavy and sensitive tasks.
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 56Multi-disciplinary Eng. - Project based class for senior design project - excessive phosphorus in local waterway due to fertilizer and animal waste. Need is to filter the water prior to use.
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 57 Biomimicry Innovation Card Game Taxonomy of unique characteristics “Design inspired by nature” Next iteration of cards: Add Physical and Technical Contradictions to each biological description to enable Bio-Triz Design game
Biomimicry Tools NCIIA 2012 58 Acknowledgements• The first Tool for Inspiring Innovation in the Classroom (TIIC) was the direct result of the Entrepreneurship Across the University (EAU) initiative at Kettering University. One facet of the EAU is a series of faculty workshops culminating in the development of a classroom teaching tool.• The Biomimicry Cards were inspired at a KEEN conference in January 2011. I first attended a session led by Jonathan Weaver on Biomimicry.• The card game was presented as a rough idea in the KEEN Entrepreneurship Education Network Workshop Activity and ultimately resulted in the refreshed classroom tool, TIIC-b.• The Biomimicry Institute and website asknature.org continue to be invaluable resources for advancing this important design tool.