How We Work
Our projects begin with scientific research, but when we identify some novel technology or system in nature, we move on to exploring its potential in commerce. Then, we consider how the project may impact on conservation and environmental sustainability, and finally how we can spread the messages and teach others.
We examine animals, plants and microbes from all corners of the planet to search for chemicals and structures – no matter how microscopic – that perform specific functions. We travel to different continents, and explore museums and zoos, then examine species in an array of microscopes and testing machines. We want to know what helps a beetle to survive at -83 degrees Centigrade in Canadian ice caves, or at over 55 degrees Centigrade in the Namib desert, and how it works.
Working with industry
We make artificial prototypes of nature’s innovations in the lab, in order to prove that they work and can be made. We patent all useful inventions, and protect the Intellectual Property in general. Then we turn our attention to volume manufacturing, to understand how the innovations can be made in industry and the costs per unit item. We engage with international companies to find placements for innovations that are ready for business – either within existing products or in new ones.
We collaborate with design institutions to produce works of art and design from the animals and plants involved in biomimetic case studies. These may be exploited in the finished, commercial products and also in the marketing and packaging for the product. On a similar subject, we also study sounds made by animals, and the positive effects they may have on humans.
When it appears on products, the Lifescaped logo will provide a link to our website, indicating where each innovation has come from, and so promoting the species and its environment. We aim to build renewed enthusiasm for environmental sustainability and conservation within the general public.
We provide courses in applied biomimetics for schools and universities. Here, we convey an understanding of what it takes to see innovations in nature through to finished, commercial products. We draw on our long experience (including mistakes!).
We further spread the word through the production of books, magazine articles, radio and TV programmes, and other media activities.
Areas of expertise
We are continually broadening our scientific expertise, but currently we have a deep understanding of how materials interact with light, air, water and soil. This helps us to develop products involving colour, light/ultraviolet absorption, transparency, sound, aerodynamics, hydrodynamics and hydrophobicity, for instance. We understand how to use minimal material to achieve such properties, which provides energy and material savings in products. We also understand the effect of chemicals and materials on food webs and the environment in general. In addition, we develop predictive software based on the efficiency exhibited by nature.
Since rainforests, arctic deserts and coral reefs contain technology that we need ourselves, then we must conserve them. This is our new argument for conservation.
“ [Parker's] arguments seem very plausible to me ”