Published 3 years ago.
About a 2 minute read.
Image: A Texas horned lizard | Wikimedia
The Biomimicry Institute’s third annual Youth Design Challenge engaged 6,000 students across the US; and yielded ingenious designs for solutions to problems in cities and nature alike.
This week, the Biomimicry Institute announced the winners of its third
annual Youth Design Challenge, which
showcases the nature-inspired ingenuity of middle- and high-school students
across the US.
For years, the Biomimicry Institute has been inviting students and professionals
worldwide to participate in design competitions — the Global Design
and the Youth Design Challenge — to cultivate viable sustainability solutions
inspired by nature. For the third year in a row, the Institute has worked with
educators to bring the concept of nature-inspired design into their classrooms
and after-school programs. This year, the Youth Design Challenge reached
approximately 6,000 middle- and high-school students across the US; and despite
the disruption schools faced moving to digital learning mid-semester due to the
pandemic, 60 team projects were submitted to the competition.
The Institute selected seven winners — which included cooling systems inspired
by the giraffe and the Texas Horned Lizard, a coral reef protection system
inspired by tree canopies and Orb Weaver spiders; disaster-resistant housing
inspired by taproot systems, woodpecker skulls and the shape of an ovenbird’s
mud nest; and a bike-lane barrier inspired by honeycomb and pomelo peels.
The Moist Brick is a concept for a naturally cooling building material that
condenses water from nighttime air and collects it on the surface, acting as an
evaporative cooling system. The team was inspired by the hydrophilic hairs on
the surface of some plants and the Texas Horned Lizard, which uses capillary
action to move water from anywhere on its skin to its mouth.
Inspired by their research on bamboo stems, pomelo peels, and honeycombs, this
team concocted an impact-absorbing, concrete-alternative material for use in
barriers to separate cyclists and pedestrians from motorists on busy roads.
Image credit: AskNature.org
This team combined inspiration from multiple organisms to design a home that
could withstand extreme weather in the Caribbean — a region facing increasing
risk from hurricanes due to climate change. The Dome Home mimics the dome shape
of an ovenbird’s mud nest to withstand high winds, the deep tap root of the
longleaf pine to anchor the foundation, and the unique structure of the
woodpecker’s skull to absorb shock.
Read more about the Challenge and about the other winners
Published May 28, 2020 8am EDT / 5am PDT / 1pm BST / 2pm CEST