Biomimicry database launched to support biomimetrics discipline

The Rocky Mountain Institute and The Biomimicry Guild have launched a new Biomimicry Database to enable knowledge sharing to support researchers and practitioners. They are looking for user feedback....


The new scientific discipline of biomimicry (also known as biomimetrics) is gaining a lot of attention. It can be defined as 'taking ideas from nature and implementing them in another technology such as engineering, design or computing'.


Introduction

The relationship between bioteaming and biomimetrics is discussed further in Virtual teams, biomimicry and biomimetrics - Learning from mother nature's designs becomes scientific mainstream.

In a nutshell bioteaming can be considered as a form of biomimetrics in the domain of organisational and team design.

One of the key elements of this emerging discipline is the creation of a Biomimicry Database – an alpha-prototype of which is available here as a project of Rocky Mountain Institute and the Biomimicry Guild.

The Database is intended as a tool to cross-pollinate biological knowledge across discipline boundaries. It will be a place where designers, architects, and engineers can search biological information, find experts, and collaborate, to find ideas that potentially solve their design/engineering challenges.


The Biomimicry Database holds six types of information:

  1. Challenges
    Challenges are human design problems that need solutions.
  2. Strategies
    Strategies are potential solutions to those problems; almost all are biological solutions, but some human-invented solutions are also listed.
  3. Organisms
    Organism records describe specific organisms, listing their taxonomic categorization, a description of what the organism has/does that might be inspiring, and data on the organism's environment.
  4. People
    People/User records contain a description of a person/group relevant to a topic, contact information, an image, profession / field of study and whether they are an expert in their field(s), and a listing of the user's database entries.
  5. Citations
    Citation records contain basic bibliographic information and abstracts for papers referred to in Challenges, Strategies, or other records providing sources for further research on their respective topics.
  6. Products
    Product records have descriptions of biomimetic products, including company names and contact information and product availability.


For example, here is what a sample search on "Swarm Intelligence" produced

Organism Results

Ant - an insect that displays collectively intelligent behavior (swarm intelligence) when foraging for food, fighting off predators, or constructing a nest.


Citation Results

Animal behavior - Survey flights in honeybees Collett, T., Nature, 2000

Calculating Swarms: ant teamwork suggests models for computing faster and organizing better Peterson, I., Science News, 2000

Swarm intelligence - A whole new way to think about business Bonabeau, E. Meyer, C., Harvard Business Review, 2001

Swarm smarts Bonabeau, E. Theraulaz, G., Scientific American, 2000


User Results

Dr. Eric Bonabeau - Expert on Swarm Intelligence, which explores collective (or distributed) problem solving without centralized control. This was inspired by the study of ant colonies.

A quick guide to the database is available

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