Biomimicry Student Design Challenge Winners Named

Teams from Mexico and Canada have tied for first prize in the Biomimicry 3.8 Institute's transportation-themed Biomimicry Student Design Challenge. Inspired by the undulating movement of millipede legs and the mechanism snakes use to glide, a team from Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan, Mexico, developed a non-motorized, energy efficient device that can safely transport passengers and cargo.

They share the first-place honor with a team from McGill University, Canada, that focused on the transportation challenge of invasive species that are released in the ballast water of trans-oceanic cargo ships. Their design, inspired by fish, cuttlefish, and brown algae, uses air instead of water to regulate ship buoyancy, thus reducing the spread of invasive species.

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Biomimicry Student Design Challenge

"We had two teams display an excellent understanding of biomimicry and how organisms use various strategies for mobility," said Director of Design Challenges Megan Schuknecht. "Both addressed a local challenge but at very different scales, and developed design concepts that, if implemented, could directly benefit the health of both people and the planet. Ultimately it was too close to call, and our jury decided both teams deserved first place."

Other winning designs included the following:

Third Place: The media darling of the bunch was the team from the University of California, Long Beach, for their design of an illuminated safety system for bicyclists that was inspired by animals' whiskers and bioluminescent aquatic organisms. Their project was featured in Fast Company, Treehugger, Make, and many more.

Honorable Mention: Judges were impressed by the team from Harvey Mudd College, which also tackled the issue of ship mobility and the spread of invasive species via ballast water.

Autodesk Award: Students from Singapore University of Technology and Design used Autodesk's Sketchbook Express to create the drawings in their pitch video, which addresses more efficient rural transport by emulating aspects of the human digestive system.

Announcing: 2014 Circular Economy Biomimicry Challenge

Biomimicry is thrilled to announce a new collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) to host a biomimicry design challenge focused on restoring the biological nutrient cycle. The competition, which is open to professionals and students, will be held this summer and fall in conjunction with EMF's first annual Disruptive Innovation Festival. The DIF is a four-week online festival that brings together thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, businesses, makers, learners, and doers to catalyze systems-level change for a future economy.

Biomimicry is currently developing the design challenge parameters and will provide more information about the competition in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Next Global Biomimicry Design Challenge to Address Food Security

Biomimicry has some big changes in store for our next global design challenge. Launching in January 2015, they are hosting a multi-year challenge focused on food security and climate change. Both students and professionals are invited to participate. They're currently forging new partnerships in support of the challenge and will be offering more resources to help teams move beyond the design concept stage.

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Source: Biomimicry Institute

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