AI, or artificial intelligence, can be used to develop initial concept designs for bioinspired products through a simple workflow that involves little or no human intervention. The first step in this process is to ask a large language model (LLM) such as chatGPT to generate an idea for a specific product, such as a helicopter, that is inspired by a particular living organism of interest, such as an elephant. In this article, we describe how we generate concept designs for a "Elephantcopter" using to text-to-image models.
Once the idea has been generated, it can be used directly, or it can be converted into a prompt for a text-to-image model such as DALL-E, Stable Diffusion or Midjourney. These models are capable of generating images based on a given textual description, and can be used to create concept designs for the bioinspired product.
One of the prompts we used was, “Create a realistic image of a helicopter with a body shaped like an elephant, complete with a trunk and tusks. The helicopter should have large, sturdy legs with elephant-like feet, and the rotors of the helicopter should be located on top of the body, similar to an elephant's ears.”
For example, this process could be used to create concept designs for an "Elephantcopter," a helicopter that is inspired by the characteristics and behaviors of an elephant. The LLM might generate ideas for how the Elephantcopter could use its trunk as a rotator blade, or how it could use its strong legs for landing and takeoff. These ideas could then be fed into a text-to-image model to generate visual representations of the Elephantcopter. Here are some images of an Elephantcopter generated using this process with chatGPT and Stable Diffusion.