Movers and Shakers

This is a short list of people around the world who are making an impact in the world of biomimicry, engineering and sustainability. Their ideas and discoveries are just the tip of an iceberg of knowledge to be gleaned from nature.

Jay Harman : A serial entrepreneur and inventor, Jayden Harman has taken a hands-on approach to his lifelong fascination with natural fluid systems. In the process, he has grown companies that design innovative products, ranging from prize-winning watercraft called the WildThing and the Goggleboat, to a medical research company that developed a non-invasive technology for measuring blood glucose, to his latest company, PAX Scientific. PAX designs more efficient industrial equipment such as fans, mixers, and pumps based on Harman’s revolutionary concepts. For an interesting article covering biomimicry and its innovations check out the PDF below.

Janine Benyus is a graduate of Rutgers University with degrees in forestry and writing. She is the board chair of the Biomimicry Institute whose mission is to naturalize biomimicry in the culture by promoting the transfer of ideas, designs, and strategies from biology to sustainable human systems design. Janine Benyus is a life sciences writer and author of six books, including her latest -- Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. In Biomimicry, she names an emerging science that seeks sustainable solutions by mimicking nature's designs and processes (e.g., solar cells that mimic leaves, agriculture that looks like a prairie, business that runs like a redwood forest).
Her nine basic principles of biomimicry are:
Nature runs on sunlight.
Nature uses only the energy it needs.
Nature fits form to function.
Nature recycles everything.
Nature rewards cooperation.
Nature banks on diversity.
Nature demands local expertise.
Nature curbs excesses from within.
Nature taps the power of limits.

Ray Anderson : is founder and chairman of Interface, Inc. and is recognized as one of the world's most environmentally progressive chief executives, having served as co-chairman of the President's Council on Sustainable Development during the Clinton administration; being recognized by Mikhail Gorbechev with a Millennium Award from Global Green in September 1996; receiving in 1996 the Ernest " Young Entrepreneur of Year for the Southeast Region and in 1997 as the Georgia Conservancy's Conservationist of the Year. Ray's honors also include the prestigious George and Cynthia Mitchell International Prize for Sustainable Development, presented in 2001; the SAM-SPG Sustainability Leadership Award of 2001; the .S. Green Building Council's Inaugural Leadership Award, 2002; and the National Wildlife Federation Conservation Achievement Award for Corporate Leadership, 2002.

William McDonough : is a world-renowned architect and designer and winner of three U.S. presidential awards: the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development (1996), the National Design Award (2004); and the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (2003). Time magazine recognized him as a "Hero for the Planet" in 1999, stating that "his utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that—in demonstrable and practical ways—is changing the design of the world."

Sheila Kennedy
This Designer Sees the Cool Light
Welcome to the Zip Room: KVA has developed Nextwall, a luminous soft-wall product that is on display at the Extreme Textiles exhibit, which opened on April 8, 2005 at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York.

learn more | article

Stephen Vogel's projects mainly ask how the structural arrangements of organisms reflect adaptation to the mechanics of moving fluids. He has worked on such things as the design of fly wings for producing lift and of moth antennae for transmitting air, on the form of leaves in relation to convective cooling in very low winds and to drag-reducing reconfigurations in very high winds, on energy extraction from velocity gradients to improve filtration in sponges and to ventilate deep terrestrial burrows, and on the use of flow-induced subambient pressure to refill pulse-jetting scallops and squid.

David Oakey : founder of David Oakey Designs, leads global efforts in sustainable or "smart design" and biomimicry. Oakey challenges industrial designers, architects, teachers and students to take action and impact change today. Sustainable design must be innovative utilizing efficient use of materials, seeking smart products, and eliminating waste in the process. Respecting the Future is the conscious choice of systems thinking, recognizing how design impacts the world during and after its life cycle. Oakey and his philosophies have been featured in Business Week, Fast Company, Interior Design Magazine, New York Times Science, Green Futures Magazine, I.D. Magazine, and The Smithsonian Magazine. Consider his interview at: learn more | David Oakey Bags Carpet Remnants

R power: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle
together with Rethink and Redesign for
processes and systems in addition to products:

Kenny Ausubel is an investigative journalist, filmmaker, award-winning author and thinker. In 1989 he co-founded the company Seeds of Change, which produces organic seeds and food products. In 1990, he founded the first Bioneers conference inspired by all the visionary environmentalists—bioneers—he encountered. The bioneers draw from four billion years of evolutionary intelligence and apply nature’s operating instructions in practical ways to serve human ends harmlessly. "We herald a dawning age of interdependence founded in nature’s principles of diversity, kinship, community, cooperation and reciprocity."

3 facinating articles on Kenny Ausubel's work

 1 | 2 | 3

Alex Ellery : is the head of the Robotics Research group at the Surrey Space Center whose current areas of research include planetary robotics and its role in Mars exploration, the UK Space " Planetary Robotics Network (SPRN), robotic on-orbit servicing using robotic manipulators, robotic planetary rovers, astrobiology, and biologically-inspired technology.

The flight controls exhibited by dragonflies are admired by aeronautic engineers.

image: Samford University

Julian Vincent: Professor of Biomimetics at the University of Bath; his expertise include mechanical properties of biological materials and structures; the application of concepts from biology within engineering; texture of foods; mechanical design of plants; biology as a tool for innovation. He is expanding a Russian system for inventive problem solving (TRIZ) to make biological design available to engineers, and wants to extend this general approach to all human endeavors. He is also moving into biorobotics with projects based on mud-burrowing worms (to design a new type of colonic endoscope) and jumping insects (a jumping robot for surveillance duties).

Phillip Messersmith associate professor of biomedical engineering, has received a MERIT (Method to Extend Research in Time) Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).The Messersmith group seeks to utilize biologically inspired strategies to develop new biomaterials for the repair, replacement, or augmentation of human tissue. The use of biological strategies to synthesize and/or process materials (biomimetics) is a rapidly emerging area of materials science and biomaterials research.

For more information on current research activities:

click here

Paul Hawken: Paul Hawken is an environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist, and author. Starting at age 20, he dedicated his life to sustainability and changing the relationship between business and the environment. His practice has included starting and running ecological businesses, writing and teaching about the impact of commerce on living systems, and consulting with governments and corporations on economic development, industrial ecology, and environmental policy. He heads the Natural Capital Institute, a research group located in Sausalito, California. | NCI | WTO, Seattle, Global Vision | article in Grist
biomimicry defined
inspire Benyus_Biomimry

"Well, the spider is able to create stronger fiber than the best human efforts to date. And she does this at room temperature, without toxic chemicals and at normal pressure. The diminutive mussel is able to create a glue on the spot that allows him to stick underwater to slippery surfaces better than any genius material scientist’s “breakthrough technologies”. In this book, through these and many other examples, Janine points out that if we open our eyes to the nature around us, we can learn design approaches that will really push technology forward and at the same time help us to minimize our environmental impact." from TreeHugger

human plus nature

Ecological design transforms awareness by making nature visible. It awakens our sense of belonging to a wider natural world. Ultimately, it brings us home.
<; Stuart Cowan

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CBID is an interdisciplinary center for research and development of design solutions that occur in biological processes. Founded in 2005, It is one of more than 100 interdisciplinary research units funded at Georgia Institute of Technology