Movers and Shakers
This is a short list of people around the world who are making an impact in the world of biomimicry, engineering and sustainability. Their ideas and discoveries are just the tip of an iceberg of knowledge to be gleaned from nature.
Jay Harman : A serial entrepreneur and inventor, Jayden Harman has taken a hands-on approach to his lifelong fascination with natural fluid systems. In the process, he has grown companies that design innovative products, ranging from prize-winning watercraft called the WildThing and the Goggleboat, to a medical research company that developed a non-invasive technology for measuring blood glucose, to his latest company, PAX Scientific. PAX designs more efficient industrial equipment such as fans, mixers, and pumps based on Harman’s revolutionary concepts. For an interesting article covering biomimicry and its innovations check out the PDF below.
Janine Benyus is a graduate of Rutgers University
with degrees in forestry and writing. She is the board
chair of the Biomimicry Institute whose mission is to
naturalize biomimicry in the culture by promoting the
transfer of ideas, designs, and strategies from biology
to sustainable human systems design. Janine Benyus is
a life sciences writer and author of six books, including
her latest -- Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature.
In Biomimicry, she names an emerging science that seeks
sustainable solutions by mimicking nature's designs
and processes (e.g., solar cells that mimic leaves,
agriculture that looks like a prairie, business that
runs like a redwood forest).
Her nine basic principles of biomimicry are:
Nature runs on sunlight.
Nature uses only the energy it needs.
Nature fits form to function.
Nature recycles everything.
Nature rewards cooperation.
Nature banks on diversity.
Nature demands local expertise.
Nature curbs excesses from within.
Nature taps the power of limits.
Ray Anderson : is founder and chairman of Interface, Inc. and is recognized as one of the world's most environmentally progressive chief executives, having served as co-chairman of the President's Council on Sustainable Development during the Clinton administration; being recognized by Mikhail Gorbechev with a Millennium Award from Global Green in September 1996; receiving in 1996 the Ernest " Young Entrepreneur of Year for the Southeast Region and in 1997 as the Georgia Conservancy's Conservationist of the Year. Ray's honors also include the prestigious George and Cynthia Mitchell International Prize for Sustainable Development, presented in 2001; the SAM-SPG Sustainability Leadership Award of 2001; the .S. Green Building Council's Inaugural Leadership Award, 2002; and the National Wildlife Federation Conservation Achievement Award for Corporate Leadership, 2002.
William McDonough : is a world-renowned architect and designer and winner of three U.S. presidential awards: the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development (1996), the National Design Award (2004); and the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (2003). Time magazine recognized him as a "Hero for the Planet" in 1999, stating that "his utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that—in demonstrable and practical ways—is changing the design of the world."
This Designer Sees the Cool Light
Welcome to the Zip Room: KVA has developed Nextwall, a luminous soft-wall product that is on display at the Extreme Textiles exhibit, which opened on April 8, 2005 at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York.
learn more | article
Stephen Vogel's projects mainly ask how the structural arrangements of organisms reflect adaptation to the mechanics of moving fluids. He has worked on such things as the design of fly wings for producing lift and of moth antennae for transmitting air, on the form of leaves in relation to convective cooling in very low winds and to drag-reducing reconfigurations in very high winds, on energy extraction from velocity gradients to improve filtration in sponges and to ventilate deep terrestrial burrows, and on the use of flow-induced subambient pressure to refill pulse-jetting scallops and squid.
David Oakey : founder of David Oakey Designs,
leads global efforts in sustainable or "smart design" and
biomimicry. Oakey challenges industrial designers, architects,
teachers and students to take action and impact change
today. Sustainable design must be innovative utilizing
efficient use of materials, seeking smart products,
and eliminating waste in the process. Respecting the
Future is the conscious choice of systems thinking,
recognizing how design impacts the world during and
after its life cycle. Oakey and his philosophies have
been featured in Business Week, Fast Company, Interior
Design Magazine, New York Times Science, Green Futures
Magazine, I.D. Magazine, and The Smithsonian Magazine.
Consider his interview at:
R power: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle
together with Rethink and Redesign for
processes and systems in addition to products: www.interiordesign.net
Kenny Ausubel is an investigative journalist, filmmaker, award-winning author and thinker. In 1989 he co-founded the company Seeds of Change, which produces organic seeds and food products. In 1990, he founded the first Bioneers conference inspired by all the visionary environmentalists—bioneers—he encountered. The bioneers draw from four billion years of evolutionary intelligence and apply nature’s operating instructions in practical ways to serve human ends harmlessly. "We herald a dawning age of interdependence founded in nature’s principles of diversity, kinship, community, cooperation and reciprocity."
Alex Ellery : is the head of the Robotics Research
group at the Surrey Space Center whose current areas
of research include planetary robotics and its role
in Mars exploration, the UK Space " Planetary Robotics
Network (SPRN), robotic on-orbit servicing using robotic
manipulators, robotic planetary rovers, astrobiology,
and biologically-inspired technology.
The flight controls exhibited by dragonflies are admired by aeronautic engineers.
image: Samford University
Julian Vincent: Professor of Biomimetics at
the University of Bath; his expertise include mechanical
properties of biological materials and structures; the
application of concepts from biology within engineering;
texture of foods; mechanical design of plants; biology
as a tool for innovation. He is expanding a Russian
system for inventive problem solving (TRIZ) to make
biological design available to engineers, and wants
to extend this general approach to all human endeavors.
He is also moving into biorobotics with projects based
on mud-burrowing worms (to design a new type of colonic
endoscope) and jumping insects (a jumping robot for
Phillip Messersmith associate professor of biomedical
engineering, has received a MERIT (Method to Extend
Research in Time) Award from the National Institutes
of Health (NIH).The Messersmith group seeks to utilize
biologically inspired strategies to develop new biomaterials
for the repair, replacement, or augmentation of human
tissue. The use of biological strategies to synthesize
and/or process materials (biomimetics) is a rapidly
emerging area of materials science and biomaterials
For more information on current research activities:click here
Paul Hawken: Paul Hawken is an environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist, and author. Starting at age 20, he dedicated his life to sustainability and changing the relationship between business and the environment. His practice has included starting and running ecological businesses, writing and teaching about the impact of commerce on living systems, and consulting with governments and corporations on economic development, industrial ecology, and environmental policy. He heads the Natural Capital Institute, a research group located in Sausalito, California.