Abstract

Biologically Inspired Design implements natural features into technologies to improve performance. Given the success of Biologically Inspired Design we are interested in the research question: How is Biologically Inspired Design currently employed? Answering this question can help design the tools used to support Biologically Inspired Design, provide an understanding of the current “state of Biologically Inspired Design”, and identify where Biologically Inspired Design solutions have not been widely utilized. Identifying gaps in utilization could prompt investigation into Biologically Inspired Design methods in fields that have not incorporated this approach into their design methodology. To answer this research question, 540 Biologically Inspired Design examples was gathered equally from three data sources: Google Scholar, the Asknature.org “Innovations” database, and Google News. The data were coded across 5 categories and 42 sub-categories. The results of our coding provide insights into two areas. First, we identify subcategories that have been underexplored by Biologically Inspired Design. For example, 63% of the biomimicry examples were applications to physical artifacts and 82% of the examples impacted the usage phase of a product’s Life Cycle. Secondly, by comparing BID results between sources (news, scholarship, and practitioners) we have insight into mismatches between the three. This solution survey and analysis provides Biologically Inspired Design researchers and practitioners valuable insight into the current state of the field, with the goal of motivating future research, outreach, and application.

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