Research Papers: Survey

“Where Are We Now and Where Are We Going?” The BioM Innovation Database

[+] Author and Article Information
Shoshanah R. Jacobs

Department of Integrative Biology,
University of Guelph,
50 Stone Road,
Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
e-mail: sjacob04@uoguelph.ca

Emily C. Nichol

Department of Integrative Biology,
University of Guelph,
50 Stone Road,
Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
e-mail: biomlab@uoguelph.ca

Michael E. Helms

Georgia Institute of Technology,
85 Fifth Street NW,
Atlanta, GA 30308
e-mail: mhelms3@cc.gatech.edu

Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received January 24, 2014; final manuscript received July 27, 2014; published online October 8, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Daniel A. McAdams.

J. Mech. Des 136(11), 111101 (Oct 08, 2014) (10 pages) Paper No: MD-14-1080; doi: 10.1115/1.4028171 History: Received January 24, 2014; Revised July 27, 2014

We present the BioM Innovation Database, the first of its kind containing detailed information about global biomimetic activity. We present a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the database to address the following questions: (1) Are products, which are identified as being the result of biologically inspired design (BID), actually BID and to what extent do they use biomimicry terminology in their descriptions by the designers? (2) To what extent do BID products mimic the forms, processes and interactions of biological systems? (3) To what extent do BID products exploit the scale and range of biological systems? (4) What patterns of design practice can we learn from successful BID practitioners?

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Distribution of biomimetic product phase by continent

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Distribution of terms used to describe the product from official sources (dark) and percent change in the frequency of use of terms between those classified as BioM1-3 or those not being biomimetic or mimicking only function (BioM0) according to the definitions in Ref. [2] (light). Negative values indicate that the term is more often used by those that are not biomimetic. (Frequency difference calculated as: (percent of cases where term is used in BioM1-3 cases—Percent of cases where term is used in none biomimetic or BioM 0 cases/percent of cases where term is used in BioM1-3 cases) × 100.)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Distribution of known species in nature (black), in research publications (gray), and in biomimetics (white)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Percent change in the frequency of cases using models at different levels of biological organization using the definition of biomimetic according to Jacobs [2]. Negative values indicate that the level is more often used by those not classified as biomimetic.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Distribution of degree of interdisciplinarity of design teams for biomimetic (gray) and not biomimetic (black) cases



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