Lily Impeller: A Nature-Based Design

Lily Impeller, which was originally designed as a propeller for boats by Jay Harman, has been used as a device to mix water in water tanks around the world. It is reported that one such device, about 6 inches tall, is able to circulate hundreds of millions of gallons of water. The device only consumes as much energy as it takes to light a bulb, but it can save 85 percent of chemicals due to its ability to move the stagnating water.

Emperor penguins move like cars in traffic jams

In the harsh weather conditions in Antarctic, emperor penguins form a tight huddle to stay warm. However, the huddle is not static. The entire huddle moves “in such fluidity that it almost looks like a huge organism”. A new German research has shown that penguins in a huddle move every 30 to 60 seconds, and each moving penguin is like a car moves in a traffic jam.

Carbon Visuals - Message and Meaning

Ignacio recently forwarded the following youtube video to all of us as a discussion starter, which is embedded further below. Like him, I was pretty intrigued by the visual representation of CO2 emissions demonstrated in the video. But then I started to reflect on the context. Why NYC? Are they really worse than the rest of the nation? Or is it simply the density of urban "co-habitation", though not in the same space, but in the same city by so many.

Process of biomimicry: A new case study in architectural education

During our group meeting yesterday, there was a discussion about what biomimicry process should be like. People disagreed about when and how we should look for bio-inspired solutions in design and architectural study. One opinion believes the process starts at defining a problem and then looks for solutions from nature.

Biomimicry in Pinterest

A quick search of biomimicry in Pinterests shows a great amount of interesting and inspiring examples. One example is the treepod designed by Mario Caceres and Christian Canonico for Boston. The treepod is bio-inspired by both trees and human lungs. It is made of drink bottles, and use solar panels and kinetic energy station to power the air filtration process and interior lights. Each treepod can capture carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and release oxygen. 

An example of flower-inspired biomimicry

Apparently people have studied lotus and invented a type of paint that resists dust and dirt particles. The invention was several years ago, but I found it rather interesting especially knowing Prof. John E. Taylor and his team are studying flowers to save more energy in buildings.


Study shows digital technology can recreate natural materials

Nature forms structures and materials with complex geometries and patterns. They serve their functions by optimizing integration and precision. The optimization process of Nature, as described in Prof. Meghna and Chowdhury’s study, is through differentiation and integration in the local levels.