Logo Utrecht University

Bio-inspiration

Blog

Blog: Evolving Prototypes

One of the most thrilling steps in design is the creation of something tangible. Ideas and scientific knowledge are used to put materials together to create a prototype. A prototype does not only make your ideas easier to grasp by others, but also creates the opportunity to test your ideas. Right now, our design team is at this stage of exploration. Building prototypes, testing our ideas and using the information we gather to improve our prototype. Although we are emulating different parts from nature, to put everything together we still need to use feedback loops to improve our prototype. In a way, our product has just been born and has started to evolve.

As a team of biologists, we tend to use biological words to describe different steps in the design process. Of course, we realize that a PVC pipe is not even close to a living thing, but so are proteins and other lifeless molecules that make up our cells. But this train of thought made us think about the implications of a systematically implemented product. What if different products that manage water – such as our artificial root system – are linked together in a way that they show emergent properties comparable to some properties that are used to describe life?

We embraced the idea of designing for nature, by designing like nature

Of course, a water management system with grey infrastructure is not going to grow or reproduce by itself, but can potentially respond to stimuli, evolve, adapt to the environment and in a way even has a life cycle. When implemented right, it can even help develop a green infrastructure that is made of living organic material. During the prototyping phase, we embraced the idea of designing for nature, by designing like nature. The following weeks will be filled with new experiments to test our prototypes, and finishing the show model to present during the climax of the Biomimicry LaunchPad program on the 31st of January!

For more information and questions, you can contact us through ATLbiomimicry@gmail.com.