March 2011

Monthly Archive

Popular Science: Six Ways Bio-Inspired Design is Reshaping the Future

Posted by on 29 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: biomimicry

Some mainstream coverage of biomimicry care of Popular Science:

Make sure to click through to the gallery:

Economies of Scope

Posted by on 15 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: food, organics

The last two centuries of human evolution have been driven by “Economies of Scale”. Bigger is better, centralized infrastructure and distribution. My friend Gunter Pauli suggests a different model for the 21st century and beyond based on the notion of “economies of scope”:

Fish is healthy and proteine rich, but human appetite can hardly be satisfied only with fish caught from the oceans. On the other hand, the many fishes squeezed together in aquaculture lead to eutrophication of the ponds and surroundings due to the high amounts of fish feed and feces.

China has a long tradition of sustainable aquaculture. Professor George Chan has studied the production methods in the rural areas of his homeland and learned how to combine fish ponds and piggery in an intelligent manner. The pig maure is lead through algae ponds where benthos and plancton is raised which serves as feed for the fishes. The grass on the dikes is used as animal feed as well.

The result is a cycle of nutrients which involves all five kingdoms of nature. Without any additional fishfeed, the productivity achieved is lower if you only account for fish, but as there is also pork and vegetables, the business is competitive and economically sustainable. A new aquaculture model which uses economies of scope: This is how Blue Economy works.

More at

Autodesk: Tools for Change

Posted by on 14 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: biomimicry, cleantech

To a great extent, Biomimicry as it is applied to product design and development is a technology-enabled discipline. Much of nature’s genius takes place at the nano-scale, and to understand that brilliance and to put the learnings into effect is often only possible though advanced computer software and manufacturing techniques. As you can read in this latest post from Joel Makower, Autodesk is at the forefront:   

Autodesk and the Future of Sustainable Design: If you start with the premise that many of the solutions to our global sustainability challenges require smart design and systems thinking, it doesn’t take long before you find your way to Autodesk. The 29-year-old design software company has made a series of impressive moves into the sustainability realm over the past few years. It’s one of those largely unheralded companies creating the tools used by architects, designers, manufacturers, and — most recently — cleantech entrepreneurs to produce the next generation of greener, cleaner, more efficient products. Continued at

Backyard Biomimicry Workshops – Austin, Vancouver

Posted by on 04 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: biomimicry, events


In this Backyard Biomimicry 3-day workshop, you’ll collaborate with students and professionals of various disciplines to solve your region’s most pressing design challenges, drawing inspiration from the natural world – found right in your own backyard.

The workshop includes:
(All legs of the events must be registered for in order to attend)

Evening lecture:  Latest news from the world of biomimicry – donations only, all proceeds go to The Biomimicry Institute

Day 1:  Introduction to the Foundations of Biomimicry – $249

Days 2&3:  Hands-on Exploration of the Foundations of Biomimicry – $499  (Must have completed ONLINE Biomimicry Foundational courses or attended Day 1)

Please visit the Professional Pathways website for a full workshop description –

Rocks au Natural

Posted by on 03 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: biomimicry, CleanWeb


Making something from nothing, use of readily available resources and cleaver optimisation techniques are key lessons from nature. Investro is a new Australian company with a compelling application that fits well with the emerging  “CleanWeb” category:

Rocksolver software uses advanced optimisation algorithms to fit irregular virtual objects together to build stable virtual structures. It is the first of its kind. Unprocessed rock is only 10% of the price of competing products. Rocksolver will enable the use of a very cheap, local resource by reducing the cost of labour. The production of unprocessed rock results in only 10% of the greenhouse gas emissions compared to competing products like brick, concrete and dimension stone.

More info and videos at Investro‘s web site.