Looking to nature for new ways to solve human problems is the foundation of an emerging discipline known as biomimicry. In the fall 2008 semester, InnovationSpace embarked on a major initiative to introduce the principles of biomimicry into the program’s curriculum.
As partners in this endeavor, the program enlisted biologists and engineers from the Montana-based Biomimicry Institute as well as biology graduate students from ASU’s School of Life Sciences.
“We recognize that consumer products are a major factor in environmental degradation,” says InnovationSpace project leader Prasad Boradkar. ... Nature provides students with a limitless – and largely untapped – reservoir of potential innovation. At the same time, it can inspire more benign ways of producing the products and services we need.”
The InnovationSpace program at Arizona State University is a joint venture between the faculties of Design, Engineering and Business. "The goal of our transdisciplinary education and research lab is to teach students how to develop products that create market value while serving real societal needs and minimizing impacts on the environment."
The research in butterfly coloration by one of the students who served as an InnovationSpace teaching assistant has led to new ways of manipulating light and may provide "cheaper and more environmentally friendly ways to produce a brilliant chromatic palette."