Second day

With the movie about bio-inspired design we started off a day where we were confronted with a range of real applications and examples of biomimicry in engineering design. The examples and perspectives offered during the Bionics lecture were quite inspiring in the sense that it was almost like a revelation of the intricate solutions that nature has devised to tackle complex problems. Only after this lecture I became aware of the incredible amount of information pacled into these mechanisms and the amount of fine tuning that must have occurred to achieve these elegant solutions. The application that especially struck me and sparked my imagination was the quasi-democratic voting system used by swarming bees to find a suitable location for a new hive.

After these informative sessions it was time for a more hands-on approach where we had to put our own minds to work to come up with creative solutions. I found that the project management techniques that were used worked quite well, especially the card-based brainstorming, as they led to a fruitful discussion afterwards. Also the functional analysis that was used to get from more abstract concepts to concrete ideas that could be researched using the Ask Nature website was an approach that seemed to work well. All in all I think that these techniques have really contributed to my understanding of project-based design and teamwork.

The only remark I could make is that it would have been helpful if the bionics lecture had shown something more about the application of biomimicry to architecture and the design of energy-efficient buildings. In that way the group might have had more advanced ideas during the brainstoring session, and a better starting point for the group-based design.