Design by Nature
Through millions of years of trial and error, animals, plants and microbes have evolved particularly efficient innovations and sparing ways of doing things. Lifescaped has developed a creative process to make these innovations legible to industry and ready for business. Nature’s innovations could make cars more aerodynamic, make company software more secure and result in sunscreens that do not harm marine life.
Areas of research
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“ I feel that biomimetics is a far better solution in terms of sustainability and integration with Nature than relying on transgenic technologies, which can have real potential complications. Nature has the best answers, without waste. ”
Lifescaped's product categories
Lifescaped’s biomimetic projects fall into the categories of: (i) performance (or function), (ii) aesthetic and/or (iii) environmentally supportive. As we develop successful biomimetic products that appear in shops or processes that otherwise enter our lives, the subject and its positive environmental effects may begin to spread.
Many animals and plants have evolved parts that appeal to the eye, such as butterfly wings and flowers. Vision in different animals shares a similar mechanism. So, even if an aesthetic part evolved to benefit the eye of a different animal, that aesthetic part can still work on humans – we can enjoy the imagery, too.
The principles behind structures and chemicals in nature can be transferred to commercial products to boost their performance. Structures include shells, whose clever shapes minimize the material needed and contain parts that are all as strong as each other, so there’s no over-engineering as found in our buildings. Then there are the whole bodies of birds and fishes, which flawlessly manipulate the flow of air or water to optimize locomotion. Mussel shells, meanwhile, fix to the spot after evolving chemicals that function as underwater glues, which may equally allow us to bond objects in the sea.
At Lifescaped, we also have longer-term goals. We are working on projects that impact on renewable energy sources, such as to make more efficient wind and wave turbines and solar panels. Then, we dream of success with the ‘big cases’, emulating: the energy capture of photosynthesis, the energy-efficiency of muscles to replace motors, the waste-recycling capacity of bacteria, the ‘nano’ machines found in cells, the self-assembly processes that lead to self-repair of materials and the enzymes that reduce the energy needed for manufacturing. If we could only make things in the way they are made in nature, we would severely cut the Earth’s energy bill that has left us unsustainable.