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Biomimetics Report Final Version[1]


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great essay by DTI Global Watch Mission. Biomimetics 2007

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Biomimetics Report Final Version[1]

  1. 1. GLOBAL WATCH MISSION REPORT Biomimetics: strategies for product design inspired by nature – a mission to the Netherlands and Germany JANUARY 2007
  2. 2. Global Watch Missions DTI Global Watch Missions have enabled small groups of UK experts to visit leading overseas technology organisations to learn vital lessons about innovation and its implementation, of benefit to entire industries and individual organisations. By stimulating debate and informing industrial thinking and action, missions have offered unique opportunities for fast-tracking technology transfer, sharing deployment know-how, explaining new industry infrastructures and policies, and developing relationships and collaborations. Disclaimer This report represents the findings of a mission organised by Thoughtcrew Ltd on behalf of Faraday Packaging Partnership (FPP) with the support of DTI. Views expressed reflect a consensus reached by the members of the mission team and do not necessarily reflect those of the organisations to which the mission members belong, Thoughtcrew Ltd, FPP , Pera or DTI. Comments attributed to organisations visited during this mission were those expressed by personnel interviewed and should not be taken as those of the organisation as a whole. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this report is accurate and up to date, DTI accepts no responsibility whatsoever in relation to this information. DTI shall not be liable for any loss of profits or contracts or any direct, indirect, special or consequential loss or damages whether in contract, tort or otherwise, arising out of or in connection with your use of this information. This disclaimer shall apply to the maximum extent permissible by law. Cover image: Glass sponge (Euplectella) skeleton, formed by silica spicules that unite into complex geometric structures (Ken M Highfill/Science Photo Library)
  3. 3. Biomimetics: strategies for product design inspired by nature – a mission to the Netherlands and Germany REPORT OF A DTI GLOBAL WATCH MISSION JANUARY 2007 1
  4. 4. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE CONTENTS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 4 3.5.3University of Groningen, 14 the Netherlands – University 1 INTRODUCTION 5 of Cambridge, UK 3.5.4 Institute for Textile 15 1.1 Background 5 Technology and Process 1.2 Mission aims 5 Engineering (ITV Denkendorf), 1.3 Objectives 6 Germany 1.4 Coordinating body 6 3.5.5 DaimlerChrysler Research 16 1.5 Mission location 6 and Technology, Ulm, Germany 1.6 Mission participants 7 3.5.6 Max Planck Institute for 16 Metals Research, Evolutionary 2 BACKGROUND TO BIOMIMETICS 8 Biomaterials Group, Stuttgart, Germany 2.1 Introduction 8 3.5.7 University of Freiburg, 17 2.2 Flight 9 Plant Biomechanics Group, 2.3 Architecture 10 Germany 2.4 Textiles 11 3.5.8 Max Planck Institute of 17 2.5 Typical topics 11 Colloids and Interfaces, 2.6 Information retrieval 11 Potsdam, Berlin, Germany 3.5.9 BIOKON/EvoLogics GmbH, 18 3 EXAMPLES OF BIOMIMETIC 13 F&E Labor Bionik, Berlin, APPLICATIONS: BIOLOGICALLY Germany INSPIRED PACKAGING 3.5.10 University of Applied 18 Sciences, Magdeburg- 3.1 Introduction 13 Stendal, Germany 3.2 Objective 13 3.5.11 Dr Mirtsch GmbH, Teltow, 19 3.3 Biomimetics in packaging 13 Berlin, Germany 3.4 Industrial mission delegates and 13 3.5.12 INPRO, Berlin, Germany 19 biomimetics 3.6 Summary 19 3.4.1 ColepCCL, Laupheim, 13 3.7 Conclusions 20 Germany 3.4.2 COSi – Creative Outsourcing 13 4 APPLICATION OF BIOMIMETICS 21 Solutions International, UK IN OTHER INDUSTRIES 3.4.3 Procter & Gamble/Gillette, 14 Reading, UK 4.1 Introduction 21 3.5 Applications and opportunities in 14 4.2 Architecture 21 biomimetic packaging encountered 4.3 Automotive 21 during the mission 4.4 Healthcare 23 3.5.1 Philips, Eindhoven, the 14 4.5 Dry adhesives 23 Netherlands 4.6 Discussion 24 3.5.2 DEAM – University of Delft, 14 4.7 Samples of biomimetics related 24 the Netherlands to industry 2
  5. 5. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE 4.7.1 Steerable endoscope 25 8 CONCLUSIONS AND 42 4.7.2 Adaptive braided bag filter 26 RECOMMENDATIONS 4.7.3 Fin ray 26 4.7.4 Acoustic camera 27 8.1 Conclusions 42 4.7.5 Bionic propeller 28 8.2 Recommendations 42 4.7.6 Plants as concept generators 28 4.7.7 Self-healing structures 29 APPENDICES 44 5 COMMERCIAL VALUE OF 30 A Suggestions for further reading 44 BIOMIMETICS B Host organisations 45 C Mission participants 47 5.1 Commercial case for biomimetic 30 D List of exhibits 56 solutions E Glossary 58 5.1.1 Devices 30 F Acknowledgments 60 5.1.2 Optimisation 31 5.1.3 Functional surfaces 31 5.2 Role of funding 31 5.3 Incubators and consortia 33 5.4 Discussion and conclusions 33 6 BIOMIMETICS AND PRODUCT 35 DESIGN 6.1 Introduction 35 6.2 A technique, not a style 35 6.3 What product designers should 35 know 6.3.1 Who does what? 36 6.4 What is the appeal to designers? 36 6.5 The commercial case 37 6.6 Conclusions 37 7 INTEGRATING BIOMIMETICS 38 INTO PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT 7.1 Introduction 38 7.2 Processes 38 7.2.1 Top-down process 38 7.2.2 Bottom-up process 39 7.3 Tools 40 7.4 Conclusions and recommendations 40 3
  6. 6. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This DTI Global Watch Mission to Germany However, they do not seem to be significantly and the Netherlands during 15-19 January further forward in terms of real products on 2007 was coordinated by Thoughtcrew Ltd1 the shelf although there was a better link – an associate member of the Faraday between fundamental research and the Packaging Partnership (FPP).2 The vision for creation of prototypes. the mission came from Professor Julian Vincent3 of the University of Bath who has There is a real opportunity to create a critical been actively involved in the study of mass of thinking, research and commercial biomimetics for the last 15 years. Having acumen at the European level, driven by reached 64 during the mission week it the UK. seemed time to formally recognise the potential contribution of biomimetics to The future industry in the UK. This mission was a milestone in the evolution Globally there are four key centres of of biomimetics in the UK. Whilst there have research in biomimetics: the UK, Germany, been a significant number of research the Netherlands and the USA. Germany leads endeavours in centres such as Bath and the way in terms of taking an integrated Reading the UK has struggled to achieve approach that embraces research and critical mass to get ideas from the lab onto commercial application. Over €30 million the shelves. (~£20 million) has been invested by the German Government in the development of a The mission provided the catalyst to create a network of competence. European initiative to deliver the benefits of biomimetics. The intention of the mission The mission team discovered that in the team is to start with the packaging and Netherlands the situation was similar to that product development opportunity under the found in the UK. There were a number of umbrella of the FPP The team has already . leading research institutes and commercial secured enthusiastic support from the organisations applying biomimetic concepts organisations met on the mission and intend to developing product and design ideas. offering this as a channel of knowledge to UK However, these efforts were isolated and, businesses that wish to use biomimetics to unlike BIONIS4 in the UK, the Netherlands help them think, design and produce profit. does not have a network to share ideas. In Germany the BIOKON5 network has a much bigger footprint in terms of marketing efforts, organisation and knowledge transfer. 1 Thoughtcrew Ltd: 2 Faraday Packaging Partnership (FPP): 3 Professor Julian Vincent, University of Bath: 4 BIONIS (Biomimetics Network for Industrial Sustainability): 5 BIOKON (Bionik-Kompetenz-Netz – Bionics Competence Network): 4
  7. 7. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE 1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background should offer additional functionality such as 1.2 Mission aims extra shelf life. Sustainability is also becoming 1.3 Objectives a key driver both through legislative 1.4 Coordinating body requirements and consumer demand. 1.5 Mission location 1.6 Mission participants Biomimetics is ‘sold’ on the promise of innovations with a shorter development time. 1.1 Background The novelty is due to the different ways in which biology implements various physical The mission studied the development and and chemical principles and the different application of biomimetics6 by industry and routes it uses to solve the problems we also commerce in Germany and the Netherlands see in our technology. The mission therefore and explored the development and value of concentrated on the ease with which generic design rules and procedures which technical and design advances can be made can be drawn from nature. using biology as a paradigm. Good design is fundamental to the success 1.2 Mission aims of consumer products in today’s marketplace. Significant competitive advantage can be This mission aimed to explore a range of gained from focusing on introducing technological, design and commercial issues strategies for innovation in the new product relating to the application of biomimetic development process. Influencing the design design principles and concepts: of the packaging for this type of product is also important as it frequently acts as a key • Increase awareness in the UK FMCG (fast- marketing tool at the point of sale. moving consumer goods) and related industry about the commercial benefits of However, packaging has many functions which biomimetics and hence support growth in must be considered during the design process: UK supply chains from product concept through to final product • Containing the product to allow transport • Promote application of biomimetics to to point of sale consumer products and their packaging, in • Protecting products from external particular in relation to food, household, contamination to ensure freshness and personal care and pharmaceuticals prevent unwanted tampering • Informing the consumer regarding the The benchmarks gathered during the mission contents and their impacts are both technical and commercial. The • Marketing the product at point of sale technical benchmarks relate to the ability of the technologies to deliver competitive The changing landscape of consumer advantage in terms of cost or performance in expectations means that packaging must be the targeted applications. The commercial easy to open, convenient, attractive and often benchmarks look at the process by which 6 The term ‘bionics’ is used in Germany – this is synonymous with the UK term ‘biomimetics’ 5
  8. 8. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE companies have developed the technology formed in 1997 as one of the original Faraday from concept to commercial production. The Partnerships funded by the Engineering and role of academic research, government Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funding and private-sector partnerships and and DTI. Since then it has established a strong finance are included. fee-paying membership base made up primarily of international brand owners in the 1.3 Objectives consumer products arena and packaging producers, along with world-leading specialist The objectives of the mission were to: suppliers. Confident of its immediate future, FPP has recently embarked on an expansion • Gain awareness of the state of programme as a specialist application node to development in biomimetics research in the newly formed Materials Knowledge leading European countries – eg who is Transfer Network (KTN) managed on behalf of driving this research, how effectively is it DTI by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and translated into commercial benefits? Mining (IOM3). • Identify mechanisms of networking or information access to improve industry The wide-ranging membership base provided awareness, and links between academia FPP with a unique platform from which to and industry/end users draw members of the mission and more • Mine key successful case studies – such as importantly to ensure dissemination and the DaimlerChrysler ‘bionic car’ – and uptake of the outcome. In particular the full assess the level of commercial benefits portfolio of dissemination mechanisms derived from applying biomimetic established by FPP will be used to generate principles, and identify the mechanisms and interest and engagement and provide core routes by which benefits have occurred participation for the dissemination event. • Gauge the general level of awareness among national industry The research leading to the mission, and day- • Assess the importance placed on to-day coordination, was through an SME biomimetics and the extent to which other associate of FPP – Thoughtcrew Ltd – countries have raised awareness of it subcontracted to provide resources for among industrial designers project management and planning. • Benchmark the UK biomimetics activity Specifically, Phil Richardson – Managing with other countries Director of Thoughtcrew Ltd – was mission • Explore the ways in which the countries leader. He has a background in life sciences, are stimulating the development of is a chartered biologist, and holds an MBA new products that utilise biomimetic from the Open University (where he also concepts and understand the roles of lectures on strategy and business operations). public sector (national and regional) and He is an experienced project manager with a private-sector investors track record of working at board level, whilst • Explore and brainstorm the ways in currently researching a PhD in biomimetics. which biomimetics can add value to the supply chain for FMCG and other high- 1.5 Mission location volume products The central focus on Germany is due to its 1.4 Coordinating body world-leading position in biomimetics at both academic and industrial level, with several Faraday Packaging Partnership (FPP) was the high-profile operations being formed or coordinating body for the mission. FPP was acquired by companies. 6
  9. 9. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE Germany is probably the world leader in 1.6 Mission participants practical biomimetics, partly because the scientific base has always been strong, due The mission participants came from a broad mainly to the activity of a few academics. span of industry, including FMCG German industry is also very open to new manufacturers, designers, packaging, technologies, and the relationship between materials and consulting: the universities, Max Planck Institutes and Fraunhofer Institutes is particularly significant Dr Cathy Barnes in ensuring effective transfer of technology. Faraday Packaging Partnership BIOKON (Bionik-Kompetenz-Netz – Bionics Geoff Hollington Competence Network) has been very Hollington Associates effective in supporting the research and creating a clear route for technology Dr Matthias Gester translation to industry. Procter & Gamble Professor Julian Vincent Many of the world’s leading biomimetic University of Bath operations are based in Germany, including Patrick Poitevin the ‘bionic car’ from DaimlerChrysler. COSi Ltd In the Netherlands the European Space Agency Dr Martin Kemp (ESA) is actively applying ideas from nature in a DTI Global Watch Service wide range of areas of biomimetics reported in Johannes Schampel an extensive web site with applications in ColepCCL space exploration. It has a rudimentary database and a collection of interesting and Brian Knott relevant reports, all fully referenced. Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining Phil Richardson Thoughtcrew Ltd Exhibit 1.1 Mission team at the Radisson Hotel, Berlin; L Matthias Gester, Geoff Hollington, Martin Kemp, -R: Julian Vincent, Cathy Barnes, Patrick Poitevin (front), Johannes Schampel (behind), Brian Knott, Phil Richardson 7
  10. 10. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE 2 BACKGROUND TO BIOMIMETICS Julian Vincent 2.1 Introduction destined to be outside. The globe fuses with 2.2 Flight the cell membrane and the topological 2.3 Architecture prediction is fulfilled. The spare membrane 2.4 Textiles which inevitably accumulates on the cell 2.5 Typical topics surface is tucked away and recycled in a sort of 2.6 Information retrieval cellular face-lift. 2.1 Introduction Biomimetics7 – which we here mean to be synonymous with ‘biomimesis’, ‘biomimicry’, Can innovation be managed? The history of ‘bionics’, ‘biognosis’, ‘biologically inspired advancement shows that we depend on the design’ and similar words and phrases vision and efforts of people going beyond implying copying or adaptation or derivation what is considered rational or possible and from biology – is a relatively young study seeing what happens. This is an orderly way embracing the practical use of mechanisms of doing things in that it gives a framework. and functions of biological science in Think the unthinkable, then rationalise it and engineering, design, chemistry, electronics bring it into the common ambit. and so on. The word was first coined by Otto Schmitt, a polymath, whose doctoral research This is also what happens with biomimetics. was an attempt to produce a physical device The underlying assumption is that nature that mimicked the electrical action of a nerve. performs a function with the least amount of By 1957 he had come to perceive what he energy, uses the commonest materials, and is would later label biomimetics as a the most reliable (though it may rely heavily on disregarded – but highly significant – feedback control). Speed is rarely important, converse of the standard view of biophysics. mostly because it would take too much energy He said: ‘Biophysics is not so much a subject or would involve dangerous chemistry. Some matter as it is a point of view. It is an critical processes (escape responses, decision approach to problems of biological science making) can happen very quickly. However, utilising the theory and technology of the growth can take its time – the emphasis being physical sciences. Conversely, biophysics is on having viable offspring before we die. also a biologist’s approach to problems of physical science and engineering, although By doing everything in water and using this aspect has largely been neglected.’ diffusion gradients, nature produces a production line with few moving parts and, by The related word bionics was coined by Jack virtue of the cell membrane, a highly controlled Steele of the US Air Force in 1960 at a chemical environment. The problems of getting meeting at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in synthesised material across the membrane are Dayton, Ohio. He defined it as ‘the science of solved by a packaging system whereby systems which have some function copied products are labelled then wrapped in a globe from nature, or which represent characteristics of membrane which establishes its interior as of natural systems or their analogues.’ 7 Julian F V Vincent et al, Biomimetics: its practice and theory, J R Soc Interface (2006) 3:471-482; contributions/k/0/4/8/k048171720104k70.pdf 8
  11. 11. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE At another meeting at Dayton in 1963, with so many degrees of freedom in the Schmitt said: ‘Let us consider what bionics design, and the difficulty the pilot had in has come to mean operationally and what it varying these controls in flight, stability was or some word like it (I prefer biomimetics) compromised. On 9 October 1890 Ader flew ought to mean in order to make good use of about 50 m but the flight was not considered the technical skills of scientists specialising, to have been controlled or sustained. Ader or rather, I should say, despecialising into this completed another aircraft, the Avion III, in area of research. Presumably our common 1897 It was generally similar in concept and . interest is in examining biological appearance to Eole, but had two engines and phenomenology in the hope of gaining insight simplified wings. Two tests of the Avion III and inspiration for developing physical or were conducted on a circular track but it did composite biophysical systems in the image not fly although Ader claimed to have flown a of life.’ distance of 300 m. The word made its first public appearance in Flying seeds inspired serious investigations Webster’s Dictionary in 1974, accompanied by into the theory of flight; one of these was the the following definition: ‘The study of the seed of the liana Alsomitra macrocarpa, formation, structure or function of biologically which could glide great distances with produced substances and materials (as inherent stability. Several of the early enzymes or silk) and biological mechanisms experimenters with tailless aircraft, including and processes (as protein synthesis or Igo Etrich, adapted these principles to the photosynthesis) especially for the purpose of design of powered, sustained flight in heavier- synthesising similar products by artificial than-air machines. In 1904 Etrich built a mechanisms which mimic natural ones.’ graceful tailless glider in the shape of the Alsomitra seed made of bamboo, canvas and However, people have looked to nature for wire. By 1906, practice glides with sandbags inspiration for more than 3,000 years, since for passengers had been successfully the Chinese first tried to make an artificial silk. conducted, and the glider made what was perhaps the first successful flight of an 2.2 Flight inherently stable, manned aircraft. In 1907 Etrich installed a 40 hp engine into a second Leonardo da Vinci studied birds flying and design, and on 29 November 1909 flew his designed some machines, but never made any. first sustained powered flight. It then became obvious that simply adding a power plant to Clement Ader designed and made a flying the wing was not the way to advance, so wing aircraft designed by copying bats’ once again he turned to nature for the wings, to the extent that they folded and solution. To the Alsomitra wing he added the were supported and shaped in exactly the tail of a bird. The aircraft that evolved was the same way. The first aircraft, the Eole, had a Taube (dove), a class of aircraft that was single steam engine with a four-bladed produced in a bewildering number of versions bamboo propeller made in the form of bird for both civil and military use. Between 1910 feathers. Each wing could be swung forward and 1914, 54 manufacturers produced over and aft separately by a hand-operated crank, 500 of these aircraft, in 137 different thus changing the position of the centre of configurations. The Taube was easily pressure and consequently the pitch of the recognised by the distinctive Alsomitra- airplane. Wings could be flexed up and down shaped wings and dove-like tail, and by foot pedal; wing area and camber could possessed such inherent stability that it could also be changed by crank action. However, fly itself. 9
  12. 12. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE 2.3 Architecture the strongest winds the top of the tower moves no more than 12 cm. Architects commonly use biology as a library of shapes. As decoration (Art Nouveau, Antonio Gaudí was fascinated by nature Jungendstil and the like) this is obviously from childhood. He studied nature’s angles acceptable, but the client still has to be able to and curves and incorporated them into his afford it. Unfortunately biology is also used designs. Instead of relying on geometric ineptly as a structural rationale. In Swift’s shapes, he mimicked the way trees grow and satire of the Royal Society in ‘Gulliver’s stand upright. The hyperboloids and Travels’, ‘There was a most ingenious architect paraboloids he borrowed from nature were who had contrived a new method for building easily reinforced by steel rods and allowed his houses, by beginning at the roof, and working designs to resemble elements from the downwards to the foundation; which he environment. This was enhanced by his justified to me by the like practice of those experimental approach to design, such that two prudent insects the bee and the spider.’ he established the lines of force in his buildings then arranged the supporting stone It is uncertain whether Joseph Paxton got around them, thus producing authentic tree- his ideas for the Crystal Palace from the like structures. leaves of a giant water lily: he used a leaf as an illustration during a talk at the Royal For many years Frei Otto worked on Society of the Arts in London, showing how lightweight structures in the University of to support a roof-like structure, and the myth Stuttgart. He leaves a legacy of examining may have grown out of overenthusiastic nature, especially spiders’ webs, as a source reportage. Certainly there is little similarity of inspiration for tent-like tension structures, between the design of the water lily leaf exemplified by the Munich Olympic Stadium. (which uses support of radial tapering beams) The roof of Stuttgart Airport is supported by and the design of the roof of the Crystal his tree-like structures. Not all his ideas were Palace (which, with its corrugations, more as successful, for example his notorious resembles other types of leaf such as beech ‘pneu’ studies, where he claimed that all or hornbeam). The original impetus for the biology is the product of inflatable structures, corrugated roof occurred about 20 years totally missing the point that the shape of a earlier, when Paxton copied an idea to ensure soap bubble is necessitated by the inability of that sunlight could go through the glass the liquid soap film to resist shear; therefore unimpeded during the morning and evening, the skin of an object shaped like a soap but with a longer light path at midday, bubble will also be shear-free and thus lighter perhaps giving a little protection at the hottest and more efficient. part of the day. Richard Rogers in his Reith Lectures on the There are stories that Eiffel’s tower was built environment leant heavily on nature as a based on the structure of trabecular struts in source of inspiration and on the possibilities the head of the human femur, or the taper of of an ‘intelligent’ building which, like an a tulip stem. In fact it was constructed to organism, could sense the external resist wind loading, a topic in which Eiffel was environment and alter its outer covering in an early expert. In the construction of the such a way as to keep the internal tower, the curve of the base pylons was environment ideal. calculated so that the wind loads were resisted related to their force and the moment exerted with height. Thus even in 10
  13. 13. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE 2.4 Textiles • Deployable structures • Drag reduction In the early 1940s George de Mestral, a • Growth Swiss inventor, went for a walk in the forest • Hairy and feathery surfaces with his dog. Upon his return home he • Haptics noticed that the dog’s coat and his trousers • Joining and adhesion were covered in cockleburs. His inventor’s • Lubrication curiosity led him to study the burs under the • Material properties microscope, where he discovered the hooked • Mechanical mechanisms ends of the bristles that stick out from the • Navigation and control seeds. This became the basis for a zip, later • Pumps developed into a two-sided fastener. One side • Responsive materials and structures has stiff hooks like the burs; the other has • Self-repair loops like the fabric of his trousers. The result • Self-replication was Velcro, named for the French words • Social interactions ‘velour’ (velvet) and ‘crochet’ (hook). The • Surface protection/hardness challenge was then to make machinery that • Sustainability could produce textured fabrics that would • Swimming work reliably. After considerable • Vision experimentation, de Mestral developed • Walking/running special looms and hook-cutting machinery. Currently Velcro Industries is (as its 2.6 Information retrieval advertising literature assures us) a technically driven global organisation and the industry Biomimetics is nothing unless engineers and leader. It offers hundreds of different hook- designers can retrieve information from and-loop products and fastening systems. It biology which will lead to improved design, makes fastening tapes of woven and knitted strength, efficiency etc. There are several construction and custom-designed speciality ways in which this can be achieved, but the fasteners made of various materials in general thrust must be towards de-skilling the different shapes and sizes. area so that the information is more readily available to all. 2.5 Typical topics The most obvious way is to ask a biologist to The mission was shown developments in identify the animals and plants in which a some of the subject areas listed below. This certain function is available. This requires a list is by no means exhaustive; it should cover biologist with a broad base in natural history, the whole of biology. ecology, molecular biology, behaviour... such people are rare. • Behaviour • Bumpy surfaces A second approach is to develop a hypertext • Camouflage database of research papers. This approach is • Chemistry being taken by the Biomimicry Guild8 in the • Chemosense USA. This still requires interpretation and • Composite materials understanding of biological information, and • Computing does not allow for the complexity of biological • Creative design systems. It may be important to strip away 8 11
  14. 14. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE the biological processes from the main function which is required from the biological paradigm. This is not a trivial process. Both these methods are subjective and require knowledge and skill in biology. Still with the concept of discovering biological analogues, lexical search of a biological database has proved useful. The main difficulty is translating between the words used for a concept in biology and in engineering. For instance the function ‘clean’ in an engineering context was rated as similar to ‘defend’ in a biological context, where an organism defends itself against pathogens by cleansing or isolation. This is a powerful method since there are many large and complete biological texts available which can be used as source material. Web search engines can also be incorporated. Another approach is to adapt an existing method from engineering and introduce a biological component. The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving – known by its Russian acronym TRIZ – seems particularly suitable but requires the production of a large database from biology. Advantages are that such a system incorporates creative definitions and solutions and so is pre-adapted for dynamic transfer of concepts and functions between disciplines. This system probably requires the least skill and knowledge in biology but the most effort in setting it up. It is the most amenable to computation and can incorporate web search engines. 12
  15. 15. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE 3 EXAMPLES OF BIOMIMETIC APPLICATIONS: BIOLOGICALLY INSPIRED PACKAGING Patrick Poitevin 3.1 Introduction structures. Nature’s solutions have stood the 3.2 Objective test of time. 3.3 Biomimetics in packaging 3.4 Industrial mission delegates and 3.3 Biomimetics in packaging biomimetics 3.5 Applications and opportunities in Biomimetics in packaging covers many biomimetic packaging encountered different areas: during the mission 3.6 Summary • Energy 3.7 Conclusions • Functions • Environment 3.1 Introduction • Light weight • Materials Packaging should be taken in the widest • Process sense possible. It is a vehicle to transport and • Structure protect the product, but quite often is part of • Surfaces the product or is the product itself. Packaging • Transport has a design, a shape, a structure, a concept, a finish and a decoration or print. The mission came across all these different areas – not only in packaging but also in other Nature’s designs, materials, processes and applications mentioned in this report. structures have always inspired packaging. Numerous examples could be listed, 3.4 Industrial mission delegates and including Velcro and lotus leaf, tongs and biomimetics tweezers. The examples in this chapter are drawn from the case studies encountered 3.4.1 ColepCCL, Laupheim, Germany during the mission. • Does not apply biomimetics yet but is 3.2 Objective looking for opportunities. Packaging is alongside the product, the driver 3.4.2 COSi – Creative Outsourcing to attract consumers. It is the first item the Solutions International, UK consumer sees, feels, smells, touches and (maybe) tastes. It is important that the • Applies biomimetics in fingerprint-free packaging industry is up to date on changes, coatings on highly shiny metallised and on newness, on innovation – constantly anodised personal care components. The enquiring ‘How can we stand out?’ – looking additives in the coatings are based on the into other industries and learning from cross- lotus leaf repellent effect. See Exhibit 3.1. industry technologies. Nature is one of those other ‘industries’. We can learn enormously from nature. Why reinvent the wheel when nature has it all? People are used to natural 13
  16. 16. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE Opportunities • Manipulate spray patterns and transport liquids with unlimited viscosities such as personal care formulations. • Use microfluidic system for mixing dual chamber dosage and mix active ingredients in stimulus with designated purpose. Exhibit 3.1 Fingerprint-free coatings on highly shiny metallised and anodised personal care components 3.5.2 DEAM – University of Delft, the (courtesy COSi) Netherlands 3.4.3 Procter & Gamble/Gillette, Applications Reading, UK • Endoscope in micro scale and rolling • Does not apply biomimetics yet but is doughnuts. looking for opportunities. Opportunities 3.5 Applications and opportunities in biomimetic packaging • Rolling doughnut moves itself in and out encountered during the mission through a colon. Can be used for packaging inspection. 3.5.1 Philips, Eindhoven, the Netherlands 3.5.3 University of Groningen, the Netherlands – University of Applications Cambridge, UK • Microfluidics which can manipulate the Applications spray on a small scale – transporting, mixing, sorting and collecting. Can be used • Dynamic wetting of porous Teflon surfaces for ink-jet application and cooling based on lotus leaf. Concept already electronics. See Exhibit 3.2. applied at COSi for fingerprint-free coating on highly shiny metallised and anodised • Microfluidic mixer based on stimulus, for components. See Exhibit 3.3. example temperature, humidity. Exhibit 3.3 Dynamic wetting of porous Teflon surfaces Exhibit 3.2 Ink-jet printing for displays and biomedical based on lotus leaf (courtesy University of Cambridge) applications (courtesy Philips) 14
  17. 17. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE Opportunities • Use of coating to keep packaging dry. • Coating can be used inside bottles for easy pouring of sticky product. Exhibit 3.6 Composite profiles modelled on plant 3.5.4 Institute for Textile Technology stems (courtesy ITV) and Process Engineering (ITV Denkendorf), Germany Applications • Applies lotus effect on and in textiles. Textile repels water or stays dry in water and is self-cleaning. See Exhibit 3.4. Exhibit 3.7 Transparent light transfer inspired by polar bear hair (courtesy ITV/P Poitevin) • Transparent light transfer inspired by polar bear hair as supposed light guides. Dark Exhibit 3.4 Lotus effect on textiles (courtesy ITV) skin absorbs IR but blocks harmful UV radiations. See Exhibit 3.7. Opportunities • Handbags and other textile parts, used in packaging or gift industry, can be kept dry Exhibit 3.5 Coating containing electrostatic particles and clean. Water sports gifts and toys or (courtesy ITV) packaging which should be kept dry. • Coating containing electrostatic particles. • Heat insulation, can be applied for self- See Exhibit 3.5. heating or thermostatic packaging. • Reinforced fibres. • Use in hydrophobic chemistry for water- resistant products such as waterproof • Release of air bubbles to create speed and mascara. reduction of frictional drift. Used for boats. • Plant stem construction for light weight • Plant stems as role models for composite but high stiffness for rods and parts which profiles. Creates light weight and needs strength and rigidity. enhanced stiffness. Used in ski poles, cables, tubes and bicycle frames. See Exhibit 3.6. 15
  18. 18. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE Exhibit 3.9 Dry adhesive (courtesy Max Planck Institute for Metals Research, Stuttgart) Exhibit 3.8 Aerodynamics application by DaimlerChrysler (courtesy BIOKON, Germany) 3.5.5 DaimlerChrysler Research and Technology, Ulm, Germany Applications • Aerodynamics. See Exhibit 3.8. Exhibit 3.10 Dry adhesive applications (courtesy Max • Tree fork construction to maximise strength. Planck Institute for Metals Research, Stuttgart) • Notch stresses with hollow structures. Opportunities • Lightweight construction in metal gift packaging with hollow structures. 3.5.6 Max Planck Institute for Metals Research, Evolutionary Biomaterials Group, Stuttgart, Germany Applications Exhibit 3.11 Head-arresting system in dragonflies (courtesy Max Planck Institute for Metals Research, • Dry adhesives such as gecko, beetle, robot Stuttgart) like, suction cups. See Exhibits 3.9 and 3.10. Opportunities • Head-arresting system in dragonflies tells • Apply products in dry condition to skis for contact or no contact. Mechanical easy release. coupling. See Exhibit 3.11. • Soft-touch applications and surfaces. 16
  19. 19. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE Exhibit 3.13 Glass fibre construction (courtesy Max Exhibit 3.12 Models from trees, bamboos and vines Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Berlin) used for construction in aircraft, cars, roofs and bridges (courtesy University of Freiburg) 3.5.7 University of Freiburg, Plant Biomechanics Group, Germany Applications • Models from trees, bamboos and vines used for construction in aircraft, cars, roofs and bridges. See Exhibit 3.12. • Self-repair vine and coat membrane with foam. Exhibit 3.14 Cell wall constructions for wood (courtesy Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Opportunities Interfaces, Berlin) • Use models and constructions in packaging and make light but solid. • Cell wall constructions for wood. • Self-repair packaging in future? See Exhibit 3.14. 3.5.8 Max Planck Institute of Colloids • Self-assembly hierarchical order in water. and Interfaces, Potsdam, Berlin, Germany • Lamellar structure based on collagen fibrils, stiff and tough. Applications • Microcapsules with nano-scale wall • Synthetic motors or active transport. Active thickness with controlled mechanical biomimetic systems. properties. • Glass fibre construction. Tough material • Self-repairing coatings where inhibitor and light. See Exhibit 3.13. releases on command. 17
  20. 20. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE Opportunities • Focused transport of polymers for activations and functional packaging. • Use of glass fibres in packaging. • Self-repair coatings for scratch and scuff defects. 3.5.9 BIOKON/EvoLogics GmbH, F&E Labor Bionik, Berlin, Germany Applications Exhibit 3.16 Surface applications inspired by penguins, lotus leaves, dolphins, sharks, geckos and • Acoustic camera. See Exhibit 3.15. sandfish (courtesy BIOKON, Germany) Exhibit 3.15 Acoustic camera (courtesy Gesellschaft zur Förderung angewandter Informatik – GFaI, Berlin) Exhibit 3.17 Fin ray effect used for ergonomic chair (courtesy BIOKON, Germany/P Poitevin) • Surface applications inspired by penguins, • Fin ray effect used for ergonomic chairs lotus leaves, dolphins, sharks, geckos and can be used in the packaging printing sandfish. See Exhibit 3.16. industry, such as glass, where tolerances are too large for proper jig printing. See • Bionic propellers, friction coefficients, Exhibits 3.17 and 3.18. sonar techniques. 3.5.10 University of Applied Sciences, Opportunities Magdeburg-Stendal, Germany • Analyses of packaging with acoustic Applications cameras to improve handling, noise and acoustic properties, such as lubricating, • Modular walking robots, dismantling swivel and torque in packaging. robots. See Exhibit 3.19. 18
  21. 21. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE Exhibit 3.18 Fin ray effect can also be used in the Exhibit 3.20 Reduction of materials conception packaging printing industry, such as glass, where (courtesy Dr Mirtsch/P Poitevin) tolerances are too large for proper jig printing (courtesy BIOKON, Germany/P Poitevin) Opportunities • Use in lightweight bottles, jars, aerosols and cans in general. Opportunity to find solutions for printing or decoration. 3.5.12 INPRO, Berlin, Germany Applications • Detection and inspection instruments for surfaces and defects in materials Exhibit 3.19 Modular walking robots (courtesy and surfaces such as plasma treatment, University of Applied Sciences, Magdeburg-Stendal) laser welding. Opportunities Opportunities • Use in materials science and surface • Robots can be used for rather difficult-to- investigations. access areas for research and applying packaging decoration. 3.6 Summary 3.5.11 Dr Mirtsch GmbH, Teltow, Berlin, Each university, institute or company met Germany during this mission had an application or at least an opportunity in packaging or Applications packaging-related topics. No-one wants to repeat or copy what someone else has done. • Reduction of materials conception. Biologically inspired products or mimicking Material can be reduced 24% in weight by nature? No problem in doing so. Invisible hexagonal or honeycomb shaped buckling. solutions may contribute to visible See Exhibit 3.20. innovations. Think outside the shell! 19
  22. 22. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE The biomimetic developments encountered on the mission are only a fraction of what is happening in the world. There is a goldmine in biomimetics related to packaging. Industrialists have to know what opportunities there are. Institutes and universities have to know the needs. Collaboration is key. Nature has so many opportunities. 3.7 Conclusions Biomimetics is a key driver. Sustainability and innovation are the current topics in packaging. Biomimetics supplies and covers both. Although biomimetics does not have all short- term solutions, it certainly covers mid- and long-term opportunities and is definitely the solution to sustainability and innovation in packaging. Industries will soon be converted to the new (biomimetic) religion. Collaboration with those universities and institutes working on biomimetics is crucial. Innovation requires inspiration and relies on creativity. Nature does! Currently, UK industry has BIONIS in Reading/Bath and other biomimetic packaging liaisons abroad though needs a good database, a central UK-based full-time biomimetic support with regular newsletters, conferences and meetings and information on applications, opportunities and worldwide latest news. The challenge is to move forward, fast. It took the lotus concept over 20 years and Velcro eight years. If the UK wants to be on top of biomimetics, being innovative, creative and sustainable, it needs the proper infrastructure and base to help industry move in that direction. Quite often, institutes and universities communicate to the industry: ‘Tell us what the needs are’. Meanwhile, the industry is communicating to those bodies: ‘Tell us what your research is, what you are working on’. We need two-way communication. 20
  23. 23. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE 4 APPLICATION OF BIOMIMETICS IN OTHER INDUSTRIES Brian Knott and Johannes Schampel 4.1 Introduction impression is of a wood of metal trees, 4.2 Architecture where each trunk, bough, branch and twig 4.3 Automotive plays a synergistic role in supporting the 4.4 Healthcare weight of the roof. See Exhibit 4.1. 4.5 Dry adhesives 4.6 Discussion 4.7 Samples of biomimetics related to industry 4.1 Introduction In the same way that the term biomimetics can be used to encompass a range of biological/engineering related concepts including bionics and bio-inspired, so the term product design, in its widest interpretation could encompass most if not all of the applications seen and described during this mission. However, for the purposes of this report, ‘other industries’ are interpreted as those where the application is either more generalised than a specific product, or the application forms part of the overall product. Exhibit 4.1 Metal trees supporting the roof of Stuttgart The design of part of the body shell of a car Airport (courtesy forms an example of the latter. 4.2 Architecture 4.3 Automotive Although the subject was not covered in any A striking example of significant benefits of the presentations given at the various which could be realised by applying the establishments, one highly visible and principles of biomimetics was the statement immediately apparent area of the application by Dr Götz of DaimlerChrysler that an 80% of biomimetics was architecture, with the reduction in the weight of the shell of a car roof of Stuttgart Airport. This essentially flat could be achieved if it could be designed in roof has the appearance of being supported the same way as the structure of bone, with by metal trees, in that each discrete area, all the consequential benefits that this would which could be considered as a giant leaf, is have on fuel efficiency. The front shell of a affixed to small metallic twigs, which in turn vehicle comprises many members which are are affixed to metal branches. As the eye joined together, often at right angles, with moves down to the ground so the branches their associated generation of potential combine to form boughs, which in turn failure-inducing notch stresses when under combine to form the trunk of a tree. The final load. In contrast, no notch stresses are to be 21
  24. 24. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE found within the inner surfaces where a The bionic car, again developed by single trunk of a tree divides into two. The DaimlerChrysler, took the concept of using faster growth of wood at regions where the solutions from nature and applying these to car structure is highly stressed, combined with design. The exterior form of the car is slower growth at regions of low stress, substantially based on the boxfish. This tropical eliminates notch stresses and results in a fish – despite its boxy, cube-shaped body – is fully uniform stress loading. somewhat surprisingly extremely streamlined with a very low coefficient of drag, a feature Bone structures, however, can grow or shrink reproduced in the concept car (Exhibit 4.3). depending on their load-bearing requirements. This has been modelled in a soft kill option (SKO) computer program developed by Professor Claus Mattheck where, during a number of iterations, material is eliminated in low-stress regions, leaving only those areas which provide load-bearing capability to the structure. An example of the optimum structure for a centrally loaded beam after only ten iterations of the program is given in Exhibit 4.2. Exhibit 4.3 Bionic car concept by DaimlerChrysler SKO techniques were also employed in the construction of the shell, resulting in a highly Exhibit 4.2 Optimum structure for a centrally loaded fuel-efficient vehicle. In the end, only 40% of beam after 10 iterations (courtesy Prof Claus Mattheck) the biomimetic ideas originally considered for inclusion in the original design of the vehicle could be employed. For example, the self- Application of this principle of biomimetic cleaning features associated with the lotus design to the front element of a Mercedes C effect had to be discarded as the surface class vehicle produced a structure that produced does not have the desired high gloss. eliminated areas of excessive stress concentration associated with generation of Although the concept car demonstrated notches at joints between structural members. successful collaboration between academia Unfortunately the structure required can not be and industry, resulting in the promotion of the manufactured on a mass production basis. subject of biomimetics within the German Nevertheless the principle of this approach Government with increased funding, it was was adopted by DaimlerChrysler and although surprising to hear Konrad Götz comment that it did not result in a weight saving, the removal at present no further biomimetic-based of material from regions where it served no projects were under way within function permitted improved local access to DaimlerChrysler. The search does, however, enable a greater number of spot welds to be continue for an animal that has the same used to join the various component members boundary constraints associated with engine of the front element. power transmission, with the aim of improving the tribofilm characteristics of this unit. 22
  25. 25. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE 4.4 Healthcare In healthcare the idea of using a lab-on-a-chip device to test human blood, for example, is one that is drawing ever increasing attention. A particular challenge with the development of such a device is the need to guide amounts of an already small sample of blood (a) (typically 1 µL) to various reaction chambers on the chip. Philips, after initial consideration of a number of options including capillary pumping, surface tension and electro-osmosis, was inspired by nature and selected the biomimetic route of utilising cilia (which look (b) like very small hairs) to move the blood in a controlled manner. In humans it is the cilia, Exhibit 4.4 Cilium-like plate created by Philips working in unison to produce a wave-like movement, that sweep mucus from the lining of the lungs; in sessile organisms exemplified by filter-feeding molluscs the cilia play an important role in feeding; whilst in microorganisms they are often the mechanism of propulsion. Philips’ approach was to create cilium-like plates comprising a polymer layer with a conductive backing material bonded to the Exhibit 4.5 Multiple ‘cilia’ incorporated in a base of the device – normally silica. In the microchannel by Philips free condition, the single ‘cilium’ adopts the form shown in Exhibit 4.4 (a), but on application of an electrostatic charge the development but has considerable potential ‘cilium’ lays flat – Exhibit 4.4 (b). both for ‘lab-on-a-chip’ devices and also in the development and screening of drugs. The advantages of this approach included realisation of large amounts of movement of 4.5 Dry adhesives individual ‘cilia’, the individual ‘cilia’ were robust, and multiple ‘cilia’ could be The remit of the Max Planck Institutes (MPIs) incorporated in a microchannel (as shown in in Germany is the study of basic science. At Exhibit 4.5) which in turn could be locally MPI Stuttgart considerable effort is being addressed using patterned electrodes to directed towards the understanding of surface- induce movement of a fluid. related effects in biology, looking at the ability of flies and geckos to attach to glass walls and The technique has been successfully ceilings. A number of the key structural employed to both transport liquid and also to features of the feet of the two species have give mixing of two liquid streams. The been identified and reproduced on the concept is at a very early stage of surfaces of a number of differing materials. 23
  26. 26. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE In the insect kingdom there are two principal mechanisms and also prevention of polymer mechanisms of attachment, either smooth or squeaking by promoting smooth sliding rather hairy pads, with both systems having the than stick-slip. ability to adapt and adhere to smooth and structured substrata. For example, the basal 4.6 Discussion hairs of the pads of a hoverfly (Eristalis pertinax) are in turn covered in a very fine This has been only a selection of the cases close-packed structure of high aspect ratio where biomimetics has found application in columns with a lip structure that makes areas other than packaging. It does, however, contact with the surface. A similar structure, highlight the potential for adoption of the essential features and associated biomimetic solutions to problems that nature characteristics of which are illustrated in Exhibit has already invested millions of years of effort 4.6, has been reproduced on sheet material in to solve – why reinvent the wheel when it square metre sizes to give a material which is may not be the best answer to movement? adhesive solely as a consequence of its The challenge would appear to be joining the surface topography with no related chemical specific requirements of industry with the bonding. This ‘dry-adhesive’ material is tolerant myriad of solutions awaiting an application, to contamination and can be cleaned by offered by biologists. washing without much degradation of its adhesive properties. For many of the above, the biomimetic solution has originated either from engineers’ discussions with biologists, or biologists offering nature’s solutions to engineers. Chance would appear to have played a significant role in the process, and a prime requirement for identifying the optimum solution to an engineering challenge would appear to lie in the development and adoption of a structured method of contact between the two communities. The initial work on the problem-identifying TRIZ database and on compilation of a database of biological materials and components could be considered to be the first steps in this process. 4.7 Samples of biomimetics related to industry Depending on the scale of scope we use to look at nature, we can find a multiple choice of diversified structures. Nature seems to Exhibit 4.6 Dry adhesives have the ‘master plan’ to develop a broad range of structures, all with totally different properties, built on the same material base. MPI Stuttgart is in active collaboration with a number of industrial partners developing the According to Julian Vincent, Professor of concept for applications such as adhesive Biomimetics at the University of Bath, nature tapes, grippers for manipulation of silicon uses only two basic polymers to equip all wafers and solar batteries, paper feeding polymer-based structures. 24
  27. 27. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE Depending on the functions and systems we it suitable for low-cost mass production of regard, it seems nature knows how to change steerable endoscopes, instruments and material properties by changing the inner catheters. structure and therefore constructs objects very efficiently on a sustainable base. Technical developments during the last 20 years have resulted in a decreasing average 4.7.1 Steerable endoscope diameter of endoscopes down to 12 mm – 5 mm and a strong improvement in image Steerable endoscope for laparoscopic surgery quality. The big difference between the by Paul Breedveld, Jules S Scheltes, Esther M conservative constructed endoscopes and the Blom and Johanna E I Verheij, Department of new developed bionic endoscope is that Biomechanical Engineering, University of Delft conservative systems do have a limited space of observation: the incision acts like a The function of this new endoscope was fulcrum, giving only four degrees of freedom inspired by the tentacles of a squid (Exhibit 4.7). (DOFs). Therefore it is impossible to take a look behind objects by getting around them. In order to find dangerous metastases and cavities, it is necessary to have a more flexible endoscope which is not limited by those restrictions. Exhibit 4.8 Endo-Periscope developed by University of Exhibit 4.7 Schematic cross section of the tentacle of Delft in cooperation with Tokyo Institute of Technology the loliginid squid. The tentacle is surrounded by longitudinal and helical muscle layers (LML and HML). The cross section contains a ring of longitudinal To increase manoeuvrability of the muscle bundles (LMB) which are enclosed by endoscopic camera, the new endoscope, the transverse and circular muscle fibres (TMF and CMF) Endo-Periscope (Exhibit 4.8), has been developed at Delft University of Technology in close cooperation with the Tokyo Institute of Currently being commercialised, the Technology. The Endo-Periscope has a rigid endoscope follows the same principle as the shaft and a 2-DOF steerable tip with a tentacles and consists only of standard parts miniature camera, enabling the surgeon to such as coil springs, cables, rings and tubes. observe organs from the side and to look behind anatomic structures. The steerable tip Compared to the current systems, which are is controlled via a spatial parallelogram very expensive, the new bionic endoscope mechanism; the camera follows the handgrip works very efficiently and can easily be movements exactly and the handgrip is miniaturised to a very small diameter, making always parallel to the camera’s line of sight. 25
  28. 28. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE This provides intuitive control of the tip, showing how the camera is oriented in the abdominal cavity. 4.7.2 Adaptive braided bag filter Adaptive braided bag filter for microfiltration in solid-liquid separation processes by Dr Jamal Sarsour, Michael Linke, Dr Markus Milwich and Dr Thomas Stegmaier, ITV Denkendorf This project was inspired by the sea sponge which in nature works as a highly energy- efficient filtration pump. This sponge is able to filter a remarkable amount of water for food particles and oxygen by using its collar cells. The idea coming from that source of inspiration is to build a highly effective cross- flow microfiltration system. Exhibit 4.10 ITV’s braided bag filter (a) stretched, (b) relaxed Basic requirements for this system are: • High selectivity with particle separation Due to its flexible construction, the filter tube • Chemical and thermal resistance can be stretched and released (Exhibit 4.10). • Little tendency to fouling • Constant operation conditions When the filter tube is in relaxed state, the • High mechanical strength pore size is much smaller then in stretched • Reasonable price state. Due to the variable pore size and the good cleaning performance, the application of The team at ITV developed a braided bag the developed adaptive tube filters can offer filter based on the shape of a hose or a tube. new microfiltration methods in the fields of This tube can be vertically installed in the waste water, food and chemical technology. filter tube system as shown in Exhibit 4.9. 4.7.3 Fin ray Leif Kniese, Department of Bionic and Evolution Technology, Technical University of Berlin The tail fin of a fish reacts to a mechanical stimulation in an unexpected way. When we apply an orthogonal force to the right side of the tail fin, we would expect the fin to yield. But the fin bends into the direction of the Exhibit 4.9 ITV’s filter system equipment with the force. When pressure is applied to the right filter tube in the pipe on the right side hand side, the fin’s end turns right in a significant manner. 26
  29. 29. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE This behaviour woke the interest of Leif and colour-coding loud areas red and quiet Kniese of the Technical University of Berlin. areas blue. He became interested in the fin’s morphology and started to do research work. He then The system consists of an array of developed a mechanical device which reacts microphones connected to a personal in a very similar way when it is facing external computer (PC) via a data-recording device. force (Exhibit 4.11). The array can have either a circular, linear or spherical pattern. Spherical patterns for example would be used to capture noise which is disturbing the driver of a car. The microphones are therefore installed at the height of the driver’s head and capture surrounding noises (all-round measurement). See Exhibit 4.12. Exhibit 4.11 Fin ray Further development stages then led to a device which has unique gripper tool properties. Like an intelligent shaping tool, Exhibit 4.12 Spherical array, 32-channel acoustic which shapes around an object, this tool camera system for interior use adapts to the shape of an object. Other areas of application can be in the aviation industry (wings and fins), ergonomic parts, such as chairs, carrier systems for backpacks, beds Independent from each array, all systems and many more. have a video capturing device in the centre of the pattern. This enables the operation 4.7.4 Acoustic camera system afterwards to overlay visual and audio signals layer by layer. Instead of using a video Acoustic camera – listening with your eyes by image as positioning layer, one could also use Dr Ing Olaf Jaeckel, GFaI, Berlin the computer-aided design (CAD) file of the checked object. The acoustic camera is a lightweight, modular and flexible system for positioning and This system could be used for the automotive analysing noise sources. Similar to a thermal industry, in internal and external sound imaging camera, this system is able to make design, quality management and for noise sources visible by spectral evaluation environmental tasks. 27
  30. 30. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE 4.7.5 Bionic propeller 4.7.6 Plants as concept generators EvoLogics GmbH, Berlin Plants as concept generators for innovative biomimetic structures and materials by Inspired by the fanned wing tips of an eagle, Thomas Speck and Tom Masselter, Botanic scientists of the Bionics Department at the Garden of the University of Freiburg and Technical University of Berlin asked BIOKON themselves how the widespread, flexible outer wing changes the flight and drag performance. Different biological models such as mammut trees, giant bamboos and vines are the base Regarding the turbulence caused by aircraft for biomimetic products for many different wings, a significant amount of energy is industries, including aviation, automotive wasted and not used to create upforce. and architecture. Combining those facts, the team at Gradient materials with optimised structure EvoLogics started to work on a new wing and weight properties are more often the system inspired by nature. The idea was to focus of industrial collaboration. Those use drag forces as efficiently as possible and materials are built to resist specific forces. The therefore save energy. The principle is to split team at the Botanic Garden of the University up vortices at the wing tip, known as of Freiburg chose the giant reed as a biological ‘winglets’ in airplanes. model to learn about gradient materials. Exhibit 4.14 Model of stem structure Exhibit 4.13 Bionic propeller from EvoLogics GmbH Following up this idea, a bionic propeller The giant reed is bionically interesting (Exhibit 4.13) has been developed. The new because of its optimised fibre orientation and propeller is designed such that its blades distribution. Its gradual transition between meet each other to form a circular outer fibre and matrixes gives inspiration to build wing. This highly efficient and noise-avoiding lightweight structures with high stiffness and propeller has been adopted for new aviation strength. Comparing the diameter of the design. Further areas of application are fans, stem to its height, the flexibility of the plant ship propellers and chopper blades. is enormous. 28
  31. 31. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE Based on this model the team from Freiburg caused by holes up to 5 mm diameter can be developed a technical plant stem (Exhibit delayed by two to three orders of magnitude. 4.15) in collaboration with ITV Denkendorf. The stem is made of a bionically optimised In a second phase, not only sealing but real fibre-reinforced compound material. This repair should be achieved, ie re-establishment material gives high vibration damping, long- of the mechanical properties of the membrane. lasting high dynamic load capacity and benign fracture behaviour. Exhibit 4.15 Technical plant stem developed by University of Freiburg in collaboration with ITV Denkendorf To manufacture this material, high-end pultrusion and 3D-single-braiding techniques were used. 4.7.7 Self-healing structures Together with various industrial partners, a team from Thomas Speck developed a plant- inspired self-healing system for pneumatic systems such as aircraft, bridges or architectural elements. The idea is to prevent damage through air leakage. The plant Aristolochia macrophylla is known for its self-repairing capability in the vine. Plants have developed an enormous capacity to seal and mend internal fissures. Based on this, the team worked on developing a self- repairing foam with some promising results. With the bionically optimised foam, polymerised under pressure, air leakage 29
  32. 32. BIOMIMETICS: STRATEGIES FOR PRODUCT DESIGN INSPIRED BY NATURE 5 COMMERCIAL VALUE OF BIOMIMETICS Martin Kemp 5.1 Commercial case for biomimetic manufacturer of such devices. Cost of the solutions device was not so much of an issue, even if 5.2 Role of funding higher than standard instruments, due to 5.3 Incubators and consortia performance benefits resulting in less patient 5.4 Discussion and conclusions trauma and damage ensuring large cost savings in post-operative patient care. 5.1 Commercial case for biomimetic solutions A noise measurement and visualisation tool based on a ‘bat radar’ analogue was Consideration of the ubiquitous ‘hook and presented by Dr Jaeckel of GFaI, Berlin. The loop’ product Velcro illustrates that biologically methodology behind this device is well inspired products can result in significant known, so the innovation has been in commercial potential. However, since it was developing an improved overall system. This invented in 1941, the time to develop a tool shows great potential for transportation significant market even for this ‘new design and noise optimisation and paradigm’ product has been considerable. In environmental monitoring. With Porsche as view of its success, it begs the question why the launch customer, industry has identified there are not more ‘killer applications’, since the usefulness of this tool. An interesting the source of natural inspiration is virtually feature of this case study is the way it has endless. developed in an ‘incubator’ – ie GFaI (discussed in Section 5.3 below). This chapter will assess the role of funding on commercialisation of biomimetics A microfluidics ‘pump’ development funded research. A selection of biomimetics case by Philips featured cost as a significant, but studies will first be compared. not overriding, factor. Again, the market was medical (diagnostics) and a premium product 5.1.1 Devices (at least initially) was envisaged. The biomimetics fluid transport system would be The steerable endoscope developed by more expensive than a micropump but DEAM uses biomimetic principles to achieve offered added functionality in terms of fluid an improved product compared to existing mixing, a crucial factor for accurate diagnosis. products. The benefits of the device were The product also had an additional high- well defined: to give a better image of the added-value application in drug testing, which target area, especially depth perception, strengthened the justification of research which would allow more precise surgery cut cost. However, it was made clear that Philips depth. A secondary benefit would be realised was ‘very aware’ of cost and was looking at if the endoscope diameter could be four different ‘actuator’ options, and cost minimised, resulting in reduced tissue might be a deciding factor in the final choice damage, and hence reduced hospital of technique. In general terms, the simpler treatment costs. Having successfully system would probably be preferred due to achieved both of these aims, the product reduced cost (‘complexity costs money’). If received commercial interest from a Philips successfully develops this product, it 30