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Biologisk inspireret design (Biologically Inspired Design )



Course format On-site
Datum 2021-01-04 - 2021-01-22

General course objectives

The objective is to gather insight and experience in applying the method Biologically Inspired Design (BID) - which also includes the topics biomimetics, biomimicry and bionics. BID is used to search nature for relevant analogical solutions and apply the findings actively as inspiration when developing and designing products.


The course basically aims at giving the participants knowledge of how biology can be used activily in technical development. A basic understanding of Biologically Inspired Deisgn as a development method is established including possibilities and challenges in designing with inspiration in nature. The course include an introduction to BID and a 3 phase project:

  1. Search: Search in biological literature and a literature study for a selected functional area,
  2. Interpretation: Identification of relevant biological analogies and principles and translation into technical solution principles
  3. Design: Sketching, development and validation of new solutions

Examples of functional areas could be:

  • food storage (need for new conservation techniques), e.g. the spiders sedation of prey, mice food stock,...
  • silent aerodynamics (need for silent windmills, ventilators,...), e.g. the silent flight of owls...
  • night vision (need for orientation in the dark), e.g. insect vision, kats vision, owls hearing, sharks stereo smell sensation, bat sonar,...
  • navigation (need for geographic orientation) e.g. manure beetles and polarisation, migrating birds and butterflies,...
  • cleaning (need for not getting dirty), e.g. hydrophobic surfaces at lotus plants, dirt and water repellant bird feathers, ...


Recommended prerequisites

41015 Mechanics and materials, 41650 Materials science, 41628 Conceptualisation, 41020 Product analysis and redesign. Conceptualisation similar to 42061/41628, basic material science like 41015/41650, experience from completed development project as for example 41020/41050 or bachelor project. Knowledge of biology is an advantage but not a prerequisite.

Learning outcomes

A student who has met the objectives of the course will be able to:

  • formulate a user need as a functional requirement
  • search for biological solutions including formulating the functional requirements in biological terms
  • apply biological search engines like asknature.org and Biosis
  • search biological literature (books and scientific papers) e.g. at the library at DTU and Copenhagen University
  • have knowledge of biological knowledge sources and the biological taxonomy
  • formulate biological phenomena as technical solutions principles by applying biocards
  • create a solution space on a conceptual level from the biological inspiration
  • use knowledge of biological phenomena for the design of technical solutions
  • validate biological inspired technical solutions empirically
  • describe challenges in designing with inspiration in nature
  • communicate working method and results in scientific and popular form


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