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The Biomimicry Center at ASU

The Biomimicry Center at ASU is a joint effort between ASU and Biomimicry 3.8, to facilitate biomimicry education, research, and outreach. The center offers two graduate-level online programs and are in the process of rolling out an undergraduate on-campus program. By its very nature, biomimicry is transdisciplinary, so the center fosters collaborations on campus and works with different schools and centers, and also with companies such as Biomimicry 3.8. The center is a diverse group with expertise in a broad range of disciplines.

Exquisite Observation: Learning How To See and Innovate from Nature

Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s saper vedere (“knowing how to see”), participants will learn from nature’s genius. They will practice their observation skills and see how the natural world can inspire design, as it did with da Vinci, and dig deeper to see how biomimicry can lead to sustainable design.

Leonardo da Vinci considered saper vedere (“knowing how to see”) the innovator’s most important skill. He practiced the art of seeing through his drawings: it is estimated that he created more than 100,000 in his lifetime, some 6,000 of which are extant. Among the most famous are meticulous renderings of nature: bat wings that inspired designs for gliding machines and detailed sketches of human muscles, joints, and bones that informed the engineering of mechanical robots. At Emerge, a team of biologists and designers will lead a series of workshops entitled “Exquisite Observation: Learning How To See and Innovate from Nature.” Under their guidance, participants will replicate da Vinci’s creative process using observation and drawing to explore the designs of a collection of natural history artifacts. Tapping these studies, participants will then be asked to develop potential design applications. Workshop participants will receive:

  • An introduction to a selection of Da Vinci’s bio-inspired design and engineering solutions
  • An introduction to the use of a variety of tools for visualizing natural history artifacts, including hand lenses, microscopes, and smartphone zoom lenses
  • Instruction in the ecology and natural history of select natural history artifacts
  • Instruction in the basics of observing and drawing from nature
  • Guidance in the protocols for developing bio-inspired applications