Self Evaluation


The transport industry has been developed by using biomimicry to make it more efficient, faster, and more fuel efficient.  Transportation is one of the most important things humans would find a lot of trouble living with-out and through biomimicry engineers are learning how to break through boundaries just from studies of the kingfisher and how it lands on top of water to catch fish with barely any splash or noise. This technology is currently being used in the improvements of both the speed and electricity consumption of the fastest train in the world ,the Shinkansen Bullet Train. This is the fastest train in the world, traveling 200 miles per hour.  However air pressure changes produced large thunder claps every time the train emerged from a tunnel, causing residents one-quarter a mile away to complain.  The train’s chief engineer and an avid bird-watcher, asked himself, “Is there something in Nature that travels quickly and smoothly between two very different mediums?” Modelling the front-end of the train after the beak of kingfishers, which dive from the air into bodies of water with very little splash to catch fish, resulted not only in a quieter train, but 15% less electricity use even while the train travels 10% faster.

Nature moves water and air using an exponentially growing locomotion, as commonly seen in seashells. This trend is seen in scientifically all Nature: in the curled up trunks of elephants and tails of chameleons, in the pattern of swirling galaxies in outer space and kelp in ocean surf, and in the shape of the cochlea of our inner ears and our own skin pores. Depending on application, the resulting designs reduce energy usage by a staggering 10-85% over conventional rotors, and noise by up to 75 %.


Tsunami waves are very rare but one attack could lead to deaths of hundreds or even thousands of people but by the help of dolphins, studying of these waves and others has been made easier as they can now detected 6000metres from water which means days before the waves appear above ground. Dolphins could amazingly recognise calls of specific individuals 25 kilometres away showing their unbelievable ability of communicating and processing massive information through water.

This is a new field of design that processes problems of nature to our everyday life. This natural technology is very important and is used by Engineers, business people, inventors and even researchers to solve a lot of our day to day problems.

Spider Web


Nature is filled with design ideas for solving problems and generating new products. In this particular case, spider webs lead the way in providing safety for birds in flight. Practical design ideas do not come by chance or slow change in nature. Instead they were established at creation for our exploration and application.

Spider Web – Bird-Friendly Glass; Hundreds of millions of birds are killed each year across the world by flying directly into window glass. Some window glass is nearly invisible and other surfaces confuse birds by reflecting nearby trees, the sky, or the birds themselves. To address this glass-collision problem, researchers turned their attention to spider webs. Spiders such as the orb weaver construct their webs with a type of silk which reflects ultraviolet light. Our eyes do not detect ultraviolet (UV) light, which is a short-wavelength component of sunlight. UV is a cause of sunburn and is a major component of black light. In contrast to our own optics, insects and birds readily see UV.

The UV-reflecting spider silk serves two purposes. First, it attracts insects to the web. Some spiders actually arrange the UV coating on their webs with flower-like patterns to draw in and trap pollinating insects. As a second purpose, the ultraviolet reflection warns birds to avoid striking the webs and destroying the spider’s ability to capture prey.

The Inspiration for the design came from studying the 3000 species of orb weaver spiders (family Araneidae) which are found throughout the world, including the common garden spiders of North America and Europe. These spiders construct flat webs consisting of concentric circles with spokes radiating out from the center. Females typically build the webs and use them to capture prey. While the webs are known for their remarkable mechanical properties, even the best-built webs are subject to failure if a bird strikes them. In order to protect their investment, some orb weavers decorate their webs with UV-reflective threads called stabilimenta. Though humans cannot perceive UV light, birds can, and research has shown that these UV-reflecting threads reduce the incidence of large birds and wasps crashing into the webs.

The Innovators – Dr. Alfred Meyerhuber, a German attorney with a personal interest in birds and science, read an article in a magazine about orb weaver spiders and their use of stabilimenta. Dr. Meyerhuber was good friends the owner of Arnold Glass, the manufacturer of insulated glass products headquartered in Remshalden, Germany.

Dr. Meyerhuber mentioned the article to Mr. Arnold and encouraged him to research how this biological phenomenon might be applied to glass to prevent birds from striking windows and killing or injuring themselves.  Mr. Arnold was motivated by technical and environmental challenges and looked for ways to set Arnold Glas apart from its competition. When Dr. Meyerhuber brought the orb weaver spider’s strategy to his attention, Mr. Arnold was intrigued. Despite initial resistance by the board of directors, he convinced the company to undertake the necessary research and put his company to work developing a product that would have the same UV-reflecting qualities as spider silk.

Dr. Meyerhuber and Mr. Arnold knew that many birds, fooled by the reflection of trees and sky, simply do not perceive windows as a barrier. With the popularity of expansive windows and glass walls in modern high-rise architecture, bird strikes are a major cause of avian fatalities and kill an estimated 300 million to 1 billion birds globally each year.

Arnold Glas’s Head of Research and Development, Christian Irmscher, led the technical product development of ORNILUX. His charge was to develop a UV-reflective glass coating that would balance visibility to birds and transparency to people by capitalising the human eye’s inability to see UV light. The coating was developed together with technicians at Arnold Glass’sister company, arcon, located in Feuchtwangen, Germany, which specialises in thin low-e and solar coatings for architectural glass. Together they innovated the process and chemistry to apply a patterned coating to glass that is only visible to birds or other organisms that can detect UV light.


ORNILUX bird protection glass,

Calla Lily



based on the design of a simple flower, the Calla Lily.

Some examples of man made technologies which have been designed from natural processes and nature are detailed below;

Rotational equipment – previously rotational equipment design had little changed by way of development in over 4000 years, and remained inefficient.  Design flaws include drag resistance, low output, energy inefficiency and noise.  New technology based on the design of a simple flower, the Calla Lily,  was developed.  Progress required an understanding of vortical fluid dynamics. the calla lily’s shape, the flower’s centripetal spirals assist with the flow of liquid.

Seaweed – was noted to change its shape to let the water go by and that nature repeatedly uses 3-dimensional centripetal spirals, oriented toward the centre, for liquid flows. From this it was determined that the most efficient way to move water seemed not to be a straight line, but a curve known as Phi, also known as the Golden Mean, or Fibonacci progression.  When used in water flow design, the water at the outer edges of the spiral is pulled toward the centre, reducing or eliminating any drag or resistance.  Nature’s simple design reduces energy requirements, less resistance, less noise and vibration.

We are learning more and more what nature has to offer us in terms of design, designs for devices and systems are increasingly based on biomimicry.  Nature has already done the leg work, we just need to look closer at how it does what it does.  When we understand it we can use that knowledge to design more efficiently.


Similar Innovative Approach


3D Printed Bike

Not that bikes haven’t always been a bit of wearable art — even a fashion accessory — since they were first popularised at the end of the 19th century. At minimum, bikes are a way to get from point A to point B without burning fossil fuels or breaking the bank — while getting some exercise at the same time. But it’s difficult these days to avoid pressure to get to your destination in the most stylish manner possible: there is no end to slick and stylish bikes/bike accessories on the hipster market. If riding a bike is an advertisement for an environmentally sustainable lifestyle, then what does that make a 3D printed on demand bike? Extremely environmental?

The verdict is still out on how amenable 3D printing is with the bicycle design world — but the scales are beginning to tip in 3D printing’s direction in this category. For 3D printing and bicycling enthusiasts, you already know it isn’t possible to successfully print an entire bicycle that works well all the time. Scale and workable parts have been huge challenges. And, in the appearance category, some 3D printed bikes are more functional than attractive (unless you like the futuristic look). All of these design challenges leave some to question the functionality  or “ride-ability” of 3D printed bikes. Omer Sagiv‘s conceptual design for a Luna 3D printed on demand bicycle is a nice addition to the growing genre of 3D printed bikes — and it should turn heads and challenge orthodoxies regarding functionality, affordability, and appearance too.luna-bicycle-omer-sagiv-4Not all of Luna is 3D printed, but the frame, front-fork, and handle bars are 3D printed with nylon using SLS technology. (Off the shelf parts keep cost down, and include: front fork bearing and suspension, bearing crank shaft, adjustable bike saddle, and internal belt.) At first glance, part of the bike frame looks like an exaggerated honeycomb, improving upon one of the fatal flaws of other 3D printed bikes — lackluster appearance (see photo of EADS’ 3D printed Airbike for an example). I’m probably not the only one to associate biking with a feeling of lightness and freedom, and Luna’s honeycomb-like frame pattern (a pattern also featured on the wheels) fits that feeling quite well. It’s nice to look at (and the bike can be ordered in colors including white, black, light blue, and light purple), and it makes you want to ride it, immediately.

But beyond appearance, perhaps Luna’s big selling point is the fact it is printed on demand and therefore can be customized for any body size. That’s a really big deal for anyone who falls outside the conventional bounds within which bikes are usually designed and manufactured: your bike has to fit your body well in order for it to ride well. While new technology, like 3D printed products, usually implies high cost — money is also saved here by not making and storing bicycles, waiting for them to sell. On the supply side of things, it’s a win-win: you would custom order a bike that can be made in just a few hours. 3D printed Luna might help convince skeptics that still cling to the orthodoxy that 3D printing is only good for smaller objects — not transportation vehicles. The Luna is a great addition to this category mainly because of its no-frills vibe. From just looking at it, the bike speaks to the point many bicycling enthusiasts are trying to make about this chosen mode of transportation: it’s simple! If you want to ride your bike more, just get on and start pedaling!


Cardboard bicycle made 100% from recycled materials

Amazingly, it is both waterproof and fireproof. The inventor, Izhar Gafni, and his business partner ERB has an ambitious goal of manufacturing these bikes for $9 to benefit people in the third world.

Izhar Gafni has designed award winning industrial machines for peeling pomegranates and sewing shoes. He’s also a bike enthusiast who’s designed a lot of carbon fiber rigs. But one day, he’d heard about someone who’d built a cardboard canoe. The idea drilled its way into his consciousness, and ultimately, led him to create a cardboard bike called the Alfa. The Alfa weighs 20lbs, yet supports riders up to 24 times its weight. It’s mostly cardboard and 100% recycled materials, yet uses a belt-driven pedal system that makes it maintenance free. And, maybe best of all, it’s project designed to be manufactured at about $9 to $12 per unit (and just $5 for a kids version), making it not only one of the most sustainable bikes you could imagine, but amongst the cheapest, depending on the markup.

But as the above video documents, the design process was arduous. Engineers told Gafni that his idea was impossible. Yet he realized that paper could be strong if treated properly. As in crafting origami and tearing telephone books, he explains, “[if] you fold it once, and it’s not just twice the strength, it’s three times the strength.” The development to what you see today took three years. Two were spent just figuring out the cardboard complications—leading to several patents—and the last was spent converting a cardboard box on wheels to a relatively normal looking bike.

At the moment, Gafni is working with a company to raise the funds to finalize manufacturing processes for his adult and child bikes and then actually put them into production. And if they’re able to pull this off, and the Alfa is everything it’s promised to be, it could be an absolutely paradigm-shifting idea in the transportation industry.


3D Printing



There is almost an infinite range of materials that can be use for 3D printing today depending on its application need. Theses are largely from a range of plastics, metals, ceramics, paper and biomaterials as well as food. Materials arrive in different forms i.e powder, granules, pellets as well as different colours.

3D as a technology is possibly still its in infancy. It began is the 90s with initially a simple layering system, by the end of the 90s they were producing organs using a patient’s own cells. After 2000 manufacturing of industrial parts existed on a mass scale and major breakthrough’s were made in Prosthetics and blood vessels. Since 2010 recent development has extended to robotic aircraft and even a 3D printed car.

Industrial designer William Root believes that the combination of cost and undesirable aesthetics are the result of flawed and outdated processes for creating prosthetic limbs. Using 3D printing as a springboard for keeping production costs low, his  Eco-Prosthetic Leg design not only offers a low-cost solution for amputees but also an aesthetically-pleasing design.




Creative minds are increasingly turning to nature—banyan tree leaves, butterfly wings, a bird’s beak— for fresh design solutions. that we human beings, who have been trying to make things for only the blink of an evolutionary eye, have a lot to learn from the long processes of natural selection, whether it’s how to make a wing more aerodynamic or a city more resilient or an electronic display more vibrant.

the idea behind the increasingly influential discipline of biomimicry:

Burr = Velcro

Velcro is widely known example of biomimicry. You may have worn shoes with velcro straps as a youngster and you can certainly look forward to wearing the same kind of shoes in retirement. Velcro was invented by Swiss engineer George de Mestral in 1941 after he removed burrs from his dog and decided to take a closer look at how they worked. The small hooks found at the end of the burr needles inspired him to create the now ubiquitous Velcro. Think about it: without this material, the world wouldn’t know Velcro jumping — a sport in which people dressed in full suits of Velcro attempt to throw their bodies as high up on a wall as possible.

The hook ends of the burr needles inspired him to create what we now know as Velcro, the synthetic burr.  The thousands of hooks and loops design of the fabric strips took over 8 years to perfect.  Initially made from cotton, it was soon developed in nylon for its durability and extended life.  The name Velcro derived from a combination of the words “velvet” and “crochet,” was patented in 1955.



Optical Fibres in ‘Instituteofmaking’

Glasses with a high fluoride content hold the most promise for improving optical fiber performance because they are transparent to almost the entire range of visible light frequencies. This makes them especially valuable for multimode optical fibers, which can transmit hundreds of discrete light wave signals concurrently. An optical fiber is a single, hair-fine filament drawn from molten silica glass.

To make an optical fiber, layers of silicon dioxide are first deposited on the inside surface of a hollow substrate rod. This is done using Modified Chemical Vapor Deposition, in which a gaseous stream of pure oxygen combined with various chemical vapors is applied to the rod. As the gas contacts the hot surface of the rod, a glassy soot several layers thick forms inside the rod. After the soot is built up to the desired thickness, the substrate rod is moved through other heating steps to drive out any moisture and bubbles trapped in the soot layers. During heating, the substrate rod and internal soot layers solidify to form the boule or preform of highly pure silicon dioxide. After the solid glass preform is prepared, it is transferred to a vertical drawing system. In this system, the preform is first heated. As it does so, a gob of molten glass forms at its end and then falls away, allowing the single optical fiber inside to be drawn out. The fiber then proceeds through the machine, where its diameter is checked, a protective coating is applied, and it is cured by heat. Finally, it is wound on a spool. A typical optical fiber cable usually includes several optical fibers around a central steel cable. Various protective layers are applied, depending on the harshness of the environment where the cable will be situated.

The Future

Future optical fibers will come from ongoing research into materials with improved optical properties. Currently, silica glasses with a high fluoride content hold the most promise for optical fibers, with attenuation losses even lower than today’s highly efficient fibers. Experimental fibers, drawn from glass containing 50 to 60 percent zirconiumfluoride (ZrF 4 ), now show losses in the range of 0.005 to 0.008 decibels per kilometer, whereas earlier fibers often had losses of 0.2 decibels per kilometer.

In addition to utilizing more refined materials, the producers of fiber optic cables are experimenting with process improvement. Presently, the most sophisticated manufacturing processes use high-energy lasers to melt the preforms for the fiber draw. Fibers can be drawn from a preform at the rate of 10 to 20 meters (32.8 to 65.6 feet) per second, and single-mode fibers from 2 to 25 kilometers (1.2 to 15.5 miles) in length can be drawn from one preform. At least one company has reported creating fibers of 160 kilometers (99 miles), and the frequency with which fiber optics companies are currently retooling—as often as every eighteen months—suggests that still greater innovations lie ahead. These advances will be driven in part by the growing use of optical fibers in computer networks, and also by the increasing demand for the technology in burgeoning international markets such as Eastern Europe, South America, and the Far East.

Optical fibres carry telecommunication signals in the form of pulses of light that we rely on for phone and internet. Millions of miles of fibres have been laid across the seabed, enabling fast global telphony and the internet access. They’re composed of a solid glass core, which traps and reflects light along it so that the light follows the curve of the optical fibre. Layers of external cladding are often additionally applied to protect the fibre from damage. Because optical fibres can be used to trap light at one end and then emit it at the other, then another application is in key-hole surgery, which sees the use of optical fibres being inserted into the body to allow surgeons to clearly see what’s going on inside.


Yeh, Chai. Handbook of Fiber Optics. Academic Press, 1990.

Jungbluth, Eugene D. “How Do They Make Those Marvelous Fibers?” Laser Focus World. March, 1992, p. 165.



Week 03 28.10.2016 INNOVATIVE PROCESSES ● Pick an artist, designer or even a manufacturer who uses natural materials in an interesting way. ● Make sure your research is newsworthy – pick a project from the last 6-8 months. (Look at Dutch Design Week, Milan Design Week or find another influential design show) ● Analyse why you are drawn to their work in terms of the materials and process they use. ● Consider the pros and cons of this method of production. ● Consider the wider movement in design that is spurring designers and manufacturers to consider natural processes and materials. e.g environmental responsibility.


I was drawn to this product because they “…Make tableware so that the vegetables prepared for dinner could be served from vessels made from the soil they came out of.” Lonny Van Ryswyck, American Craft

I like the cyclical effect of the process results in the vegetation that grew in the The whole thing going full circle get back to the way it start from thats why i choose completing the cycle of the presentation of the product and the ethics comforting something that you real sure about that

its never going to be practical

Its practical but you need to know skills ability to make them but same time because there is not any high tech

with no retail elements there is no impact on environment with distribution

I love the cyclical effect that the comes with the vegetables being served in a bowl made from the same soil in which the vegetable had grown…

I love the cyclical effect that the comes with the vegetables being served in a bowl that was made from the same soil in which the vegetable had grown…
It uses primitive skills and processes and I like that the its key ingredient for practical reasons can never be processed on a grand scale. It gives the product uniqueness, local to that area only.
These days we live in bigger and bigger cities with less access to nature, in addition we also have a greater awareness of our impact on it.  As a result we bring nature into our homes and an increased consciousness of the environment means we seek reassurance from our choices and purchases.  Choosing sustainability feels good.

The Toaster Project

“Hello, my name is Thomas Thwaites, and I have made a toaster.”

“I’ll not try and reproduce it here, except to answer some questions and criticisms.”

In ‘The Toaster Project’ book, Thomas Thwaites describes the trials and tribulations of purchasing a cheap toaster, taking it apart to examine its materials, then trying to learn how to concoct such materials from raw ingredients. Along the way, he consults with experts from materials science professors to mining historians. He learns about the difficulties of making steel, plastic and wire at home.  Most interesting is not the final creation but the lessons learned, The Toaster Project raises fascinating questions.The Toaster Project helps us reflect on the costs and perils of our cheap consumer culture and the ridiculousness of churning out millions of toasters and other products at the expense of the environment, for example you aren’t aware of the iron being carved out of the mountain or the oil being drawn up from the earth.  If products were designed more efficiently, with fewer parts that are easier to recycle, we would end up with objects that last longer and we would generate less waste altogether.   Similar to buying a toaster, we tend to focus on the final product and fail to recognise the many processes leading up to it. Foreword by David Crowley, head of critical writing at the Royal College of Art and curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

 The project is to explore how cheap, everyday items are dependent on sophisticated global supply chains that are invisible to consumers. (Dezeen review on The Toaster Project, 27.06.2009)
I understood that we as a consumers are like the smallest and most insignificant of cogs in giant mechanical wheels.




Toothbrush_20050716_004.jpgThe Five Stages of Every Plastic Product/Design is: Prototyping. Testing and Iteration. Tooling. Moulding.


This toothbrush was handmade in a concentration camp by a prisoner called Lily Fischl

Object Name: Handmade toothbrush. Date: 1944. Catalogue number: 1990.207. Material(s): Wood, String. Size: 13 cm x 1.5 cm. On display in the Jewish Museum? Yes

Lily’s toothbrush tells us a lot about how badly people were treated in the camps and what they did to try and stay feeling like themselves. The wooden stick and brush are tied tightly with a piece of string.  She used these basic materials and a simple design to make something to help her try and stay clean and tidy. The toothbrush is actually really small, only about the length of your hand. This was so she could keep it hidden from the guards.

Toothbrushes today are made from plastic and rubber, the base material for the plastic comes in small plastic pellets which are formed into brush handles using an injection moulding machine, rubber pellets are later moulded onto the handles using the same process.  Bristles are produced using nylon fibres, pressed, cut and automatically inserted by machine into the brush heads.  A single brush head can contain as many as 1300 individual bristles.

The benefits of producing toothbrushes at large scale in factories are because of precision and speed, much faster than a human can do it, and

the toothbrushes go through a quality control process which ensures the bristles are securely attached.

Personal hygiene is important to us as humans and especially for keeping good health, due to the hygienic characteristics of plastic it is unlikely we would return to using natural animal bristles in our toothbrushes because the natural bristles absorb germs and are not hygienic.


story of Toothbrushes

Toothbrushing tools date back to 3500-3000 BC when the Babylonians and the Egyptians made a brush by fraying the end of a twig. Tombs of the ancient Egyptians have been found containing toothsticks alongside their owners. Around 1600BC, the Chinese developed “chewing sticks” which were made from aromatic tree twigs to freshen breath. The Chinese are believed to have invented the first natural bristle toothbrush made from the bristles from pigs’ necks in the 15th century, with the bristles attached to a bone or bamboo handle. When it was brought from China to Europe, this design was adapted and often used softer horsehairs which many Europeans preferred. Other designs in Europe used feathers. The first toothbrush of a more modern design was made by William Addis in England around 1780 – the handle was carved from cattle bone and the brush portion was still made from swine bristles. In 1844, the first 3-row bristle brush was designed.  Natural bristles were the only source of bristles until Du Pont invented nylon. The invention of nylon started the development of the truly modern toothbrush in 1938, and by the 1950s softer nylon bristles were being made, as people preferred these. The first electric toothbrush was made in 1939 and the first electric toothbrush in the US was the Broxodent in 1960. Today, both manual and electric toothbrushes come in many shapes and sizes and are typically made of plastic molded handles and nylon bristles. The most recent toothbrush models include handles that are straight, angled, curved, and contoured with grips and soft rubber areas to make them easier to hold and use. Toothbrush bristles are usually synthetic and range from very soft to soft in texture, although harder bristle versions are available. Toothbrush heads range from very small for young children to larger sizes for older children and adults and come in a variety of shapes such as rectangular, oblong, oval and almost round. The basic fundamentals have not changed since the times of the Egyptians and Babylonians – a handle to grip, and a bristle-like feature with which to clean the teeth.

Over its long history, the toothbrush has evolved to become a scientifically designed tool using modern ergonomic designs and safe and hygienic materials that benefit us all.


References:,,, 06.12.2006