Student Design Challenges Print E-mail

Finalists in Biomimicry Student Design Challenge Announced

Below is a brief summary of the 12 finalists in our third annual Biomimicry Student Design Challenge, which asked students to use biomimicry to design solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For more information, and to view a gallery of submissions from all 50 design entries, please visit the Biomimicry Student Design Challenge Website.

Team University, Country Design
BioArch Art University of Isfahan, Iran
Life in Desert, an energy-efficient building based on the desert snail.
Biomimicry KTH
KTH, Sweden
Insnowlation, click-on facade panel that takes inspiration from hibernation processes and fur.
Cranfield Creatives
Cranfield University, United Kingdom
A new organizational structure for the university's "Green Team," based on ants and cooperatively breeding birds.
University of Latvia/Latvia Botanical Garden, Latvia
Sunlight-induced shading system inspired by the opening and closing of plants and stomata.
Carleton University, Canada
Phenomold, a re-imagining of product design, manufacturing, distribution, use, feedback, and post-use in a holistic closed-loop system.
Green Bison
Lispcomb University, USA
Hydroponic system for tomatoes using old grain silos and mimicking capillary action of trees.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Azototem, an ammonium synthesizing device that mimics bacterial cytosol.
Bucknell University. USA
The BioFacade, a building facade inspired by evaporative cooling mechanisms found in plants and animals as well as boundary layer effects observed in desert plants and solar tracking mechanisms used by sunflowers.
Norwegian Blue
Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Science, Norway
BioDry Hand Drying System, an energy-saving hand dryer based on how mammals shake and wipe off water.
The Okay Tokays
Bucknell University, USA Thermoregulation in forced-air heating systems based on touch sensing in plants, vasoconstriction in mammals, and insulating feathers and fur.
University of Waterloo, Canada
Mimesis, a façade system based on functions of polar bear fur.
UM Forum for Living with Appropriate Technology
University of Montana, USA 
An “Earth Light” based on a bioluminescent worm.



Real-life, real-time challenges + biomimicry tools = sustainable innovation

Each year The Biomimicry Institute facilitates real-life, real-time student design challenges. These biomimicry challenges provide opportunities for our growing network of biomimicry educators and students to apply biomimicry concepts and tools as a means to arrive at sustainable and innovative designs. Challenge participants cross cultural, language, geographic, institutional, and disciplinary boundaries to work collaboratively to arrive at a biomimetic solutions for a corporate client. The clients then take the solutions from concept to product and donate a percentage of biomimetic product proceeds to The Biomimicry Institute's Innovation for Conservation program.

Fall Semester 2011
In fall of 2011, The Biomimicry Institute (TBI) will host its third annual Biomimicry Student Design Challenge. Our challenges have grown in scope over time, and this year, for the first time, participation in the challenge will be open to student teams from any university around the world. The theme for this year's competition is "Biomimetic Solutions to Energy Efficiency Challenges." We are interpreting the phrase "energy efficiency" broadly and will encourage students to let inspiration from nature guide their designs, whether the final products, processes, or systems they design result in improved energy storage products, more effective forms of building insulation, systems that result in companies or homeowners adopting existing energy efficiency technologies in far greater numbers, or a myriad of other solutions.

In order to have dedicated time to work on the challenge, we encourage college faculty to offer an elective course for credit to give students ample time during the semester to work on the challenge. Alternatively, the challenge could be incorporated into an existing design, engineering, biology, or innovation course. We strongly encourage interested faculty and students to approach their administration now, in order to have a Biomimicry Student Design Challenge course (or similar) in place for the Fall 2012 semester. Ideally, the course will be 3 credits.

Teams will be required to register with TBI prior to participation. Teams that are participating in a Biomimicry Student Design Challenge course at their own institutions will get free access to the course resources, outlined below. Other teams will have to pay a nominal fee to access some of the course resources, such as the introductory lectures. Faculty or professional mentorship for all students is strongly encouraged.

For more details, please read our 2011 student design challenge overview.

Past Design Challenges: Spring Semester 2010 + 2009


The Biomimicry Institute has facilitated two Student Design Challenges that were sponsored by a small and well-known outdoor gear manufacturer, Pacific Outdoor Equipment (POE). The first design challenge was to use biomimicry tools and principles to design a specialized backpacking tent. The Biomimicry Institute created the interdisciplinary and collaborative design team of university students and faculty and facilitated the design process throughout the semester-long project, from idea to prototype. The 2009 design concept has gone to production and is currently sold by POE (see images below).

 The 2010 design concept is currently undergoing prototyping and field testing. It will be available for purchase in POE's Winter Catalogue in January of 2012.












Read a paper written by Marjan Eggermont (University of Calgary, professor) about The Biomimicry Institute's 2009 Student Design Challenge sponsored by POE. 

Peruse a presentation created by Marjan Eggermont (University of Calgary, professor) about The Biomimicry Institute's 2009 Student Design Challenge sponsored by POE.

See more product pages from the 2009 POE catalogue.


Contact Us | FAQs | Site Map | Privacy Policy
© 2007-2014 The Biomimicry Institute