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Generative AI for Bioinspired Product Ideation

By Tojin T. Eapen The design of products, processes, and organizations guided by principles observed in living systems can be referred to as " Bioinspired System Design ." In a series of posts, we delve into the potential of generative artificial intelligence (AI) to generate bioinspired product design concepts as a part of the idea management process. Specifically, we will look at how living organisms can serve as inspiration to redesign common products and human artifacts including bags, cars, bags, pens, tanks, trains, and umbrellas. In each of these articles, we will examine how the unique characteristics and behaviors of a particular living organism can be incorporated into the design of the bioinspired product. Elephantcopter: AI Designed Elephant Inspired Helicopters Camelar: AI Product Ideation for Camel Inspired Cars Koafa: AI Product Ideation for the Koala Inspired Sofas Paradiso: AI Product Ideation for Birds-of-Paradise Inspired T-Shirts Tigoes: AI Product Ideati
Recent posts

Butterfly in Temperature Control | Bioinspired Design Insights |

Learn how butterflies have a sophisticated system for temperature management that offers important lessons to us in our quest to build sustainable systems.

Weaver Ant Streetwise Secrets | Bioinspired Design Insights |

  Researchers from Macquarie University and the New Jersey Institute of Technology revealed how tropical weaver ants make collective decisions in uncertainty. Published in PNAS, the study focused on Oecophylla smaragdina ants, forming chains to explore new areas without knowing the outcome. Ants modulate their time in the chain based on proximity to the ground, capping colony-level investment.  The findings have implications for animal group decision-making and could inspire collective decision-making approaches in human societies. The study's model aligns with self-organization, showcasing sophisticated group behavior arising from simple individual rules. This research may also aid in swarm robotic applications and multiagent system engineering. Reference: Carlesso, Daniele, Justin M. McNab, Christopher J. Lustri, Simon Garnier, and Chris R. Reid. "A Simple Mechanism for Collective Decision-making in the Absence of Payoff Information." Proceedings of the National Academy

Hippo's Sunscreen Formula | Bioinspired Design Insights |

  Did you know that the sweat of a hippopotamus, despite being colorless at first, magically turns red and then brown within a few minutes of being exposed to air? Researchers have been investigating this fascinating phenomenon and have made some remarkable discoveries. Though it's not exactly sweat like we humans have, this liquid plays a similar role for hippos, helping them control their body temperature and might even have some antiseptic properties. Imagine collecting this red secretion by carefully wiping a hippopotamus's face and back with gauze. It's like capturing a magical color-changing potion! The researchers worked hard to understand the secret behind these color changes. They managed to isolate and study the pigments responsible for the transformation. What's more, these pigments turned out to be quite special. They are non-benzenoid aromatic compounds, which means they have unique structures that make them behave in unusual ways. Surprisingly, they are al

Beetles: Nature's Tech Titans | Bioinspired Design Insights |

Learn about how beetles, nature's technology titans are inspiring amazing innovations. Beetles and weevils, part of the fascinating order Coleoptera, hold a prominent position in the insect kingdom, representing a staggering 25% of all known species, numbering around 350,000 – 400,000. What sets them apart are their distinctive hard exoskeletons and forewings known as elytra, distinguishing them from cockroaches and termites. One captivating example of beetle bioinspiration is seen in the diabolical ironclad beetle, which has no ability to fly away from predators. Instead, it relies on its highly crush-resistant elytra, providing armor-like protection in the face of danger. In the arid Namib Desert, the resourceful Namib Desert Darkling beetle, specifically the Stenocara gracilipes, has caught the attention of researchers. This remarkable creature cleverly collects water on its back from morning fogs, inspiring cutting-edge water harvesting techniques and innovative patterned fabri

Zootle: Designing Bioinspired Rattle Toys using Form Leads Function

The form leads function (FLF) is an approach to creative ideation where a form generated externally, such as one provided by a generative AI model, is used to trigger ideas regarding the function of a product. To illustrate this concept, we will discuss how new product ideas for Zootle - a brand of bio-inspired children's rattle toys - can be identified. First, we will use Midjourney to generate rattle toy concepts using simple prompts, such as "butterfly inspired rattle toy." Likewise, other animal names were used to generate concepts, as shown in the following collage. Most of the generated images appear similar to common rattles, and their functionality can be inferred by simply looking at them. However, some of the generated images included novel elements that suggest the possibility of unique functionalities for the products. Here are some of the novel designs that were generated, hinting at some unusual functionalities of the product. Now, as part of FLF ideation ex

Empathy and Confrontation in Idea Generation

By  Tojin T. Eapen Successful innovation often involves two key factors: empathy and confrontation .  Empathy, or the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, is important in both art and science. In art, empathy with human subjects allows artists and writers to create relatable works. In science, empathy with non-human entities and abstract concepts allows investigators to understand them deeply and intuitively. The second key factor in innovation is confrontation, or the clash of ideas , perspectives, or reference frames. While empathy and confrontation may seem contradictory, both are essential for successful innovation, and one often leads to the other. According to MIT professor Edward Roberts , innovation is the combination of invention and exploitation. Theresa Amabile defines innovation as the successful implementation of creative ideas within an organization.  The term innovation can be seen as a portmanteau word that encapsulates its own ingredients: in spira