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Biomimicry:

Definition, issues, sectors and trends

What is biomimicry?

Officially, biomimicry is defined as technical imitation processes, compositions, forms or even interactions of different biological systems found in nature, from the biomolecular to the ecosystem scale. In essence, biomimicry relies on intelligence and the sobriety of biological principles for impactful design, sober and sustainable technologies.
 

More broadly, we can sometimes use the notion of bio-inspiration which encompasses all sciences inspired by living organisms in the design of new systems.
 

In Bioxegy, we use biomimicry as a R&D approach inspired by the ingenuity of the mechanisms, properties and functions of living things to innovate and shape efficient and sustainable technologies.

Biomimicry's promise

Biomimicry's pormise is to take advantage of the largest R&D laboratory: Nature. It offers us the most beautiful evidence: 3.8 billion years of innovation at your fingertips.
 

Living things have had time to find appropriate and diversified solutions to respond to a wide range of challenges, and ensure the survival of several tens of millions of different species, in constrained environments.
 

The result is a prodigious pool of ideas and sophisticated, optimised and sober approaches. An unprecedented opportunity to innovate and which is right before our eyes!

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The powerful industrial and scientific growth of biomimicry

Bio-inspiration is not new, it is a research method that began to prove itself several decades ago! There are many very emblematic examples of biomimicrywe can cite the invention of velcro in the 1950s which is directly inspired by burdock seeds. But before that, Leonardo da Vinci did not wait for the formalisation of biomimicry to draw inspiration from nature for his inventions!


However, it was only from the 1990s that interest in bio-inspired innovation exploded both in industry and in research, mainly thanks to Janine Benyus which formalised biomimicry. This American scientist founded the Biomimicry Institute in the United States in 2006 to further promote biomimicry.

Today, biomimicry is the subject of real international scientific craze. Competition is intense in the corridors of the most prestigious universities and research centers in the world, which are developing ever more promising expertise. The Da Vinci Index was even created to measure global activity of biomimicry, whether in terms of research articles or commercial applications, largely dominated by China. The latest highlight to date: the CNRS has included biomimicry as part of its strategic priorities for 2023.

Biomimicry: definition

Biomimicry: areas and levers of application

The technological diversity of nature makes biomimicry a profoundly cross-disciplinary lever for innovation. From aeronautics to health, including construction, energy, IT and even luxury: biomimicry is an approach that can theoretically be applied to all sectors of activity.


A true toolbox, bio-inspiration makes it possible to respond to precise technological challenges (problem solving), to carry out prospective work and aim for 

breakthrough innovation (new product introduction) but also to improve existing technologies via incremental innovation (re-engineering).

A single philosophy: get inspired of the wisdom of biological systems to innovate more intelligently. And this wisdom applies to almost every industry, you can browse examples by clicking the button below!

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Biomimicry: strong international enthusiasm

Outside France, biomimicry is growing strongly. We can cite the example of NASA which set up the V.I.N.E network. to bring together researchers working in biomimicry by sharing analysis tools and initiating working groups. They even came up with a bio-inspired flying vehicle project to explore Venus' atmosphere!
 

Staying in the space field, it is not just the Americans who are banking on biomimicry. Indeed, the ESA, the European Space Agency, initiated the BIOINSPACED project which consists of developing bio-inspired solutions to deorbit space debris.
 

As you can see, the whole world is starting to turn towards nature to innovate, even in areas as complex as space. The promises and possibilities of biomimicry are so vast that we have only scratched the surface! This development is closely accompanied, biomimicry gives rise to research work standardisation by AFNOR (French Association for Standardisation) or the ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) in order to provide a framework for this growth.

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Bio-inspired atmospheric vehicle © Javid Bayandor

Biomimicry: a profession of the future

Engineers who work in biomimicry know how to understand the complexity of the world around us as a whole. Innovating with inspiration from nature means knowing how to break down the mechanisms of nature to better transpose them to human technologies!

At Bioxegy, our biomimetic engineers appeal to their wide range of skills ranging from mechanics to chemistry, including computer science, materials, and even biology. Everything is completed by an irreducible passion for how the world around them works and for innovation. This global understanding of societal issues and living organisms makes this profession one of the most complete in order to reconcile technical progress and sustainability, while drawing inspiration from the largest pool of adaptive mechanisms on the planet.
 

However, there are still no studies specifically focused on biomimicry in France. Our engineers therefore come from different backgrounds and use their respective skills to make biomimicry an increasingly democratised R&D method!

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Biomimicry: decipher and draw inspiration from living things

Nature is infinitely complex and orchestrates the lives of billions of organisms living in sophisticated and changing ecosystems.

The mechanisms of evolution have therefore endowed species with many functions and techniques to face their daily lives and meet their physiological needs. The most obvious: to feed oneself, to defend oneself or to protect oneself, to move around, to communicate, to understand one's environment, etc.


Nature therefore represents a sharp and varied know-how, materialised through the richness of our biodiversity: 1.8 million known species!


Below, a selection of issues addressed by the living : 

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Biomimicry & aerodynamics:
A commonplace

 

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Biomimicry, detection and information processing: shaping the embedded systems of the future

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Biomimicry & tribology:
a promising technological duo

 

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Biomimicry, structures and materials: the winning bet of lightweight design
 

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Biomimicry & NVH: improving noise and vibration mitigation technologies

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Biomimicry to cope
with the elements (abrasion, erosion, oxidation)

 

The Incredible Nature:

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Discover the first French podcast on biomimicry!

Bioxegy is the French specialist in biomimicry. And if there's one thing our team loves to do, it's to share their passion for the ingenuity of living things.

So we decided to create a great podcast on biomimicry, the first of its kind!

Bio-inspired technologies, success stories, surprising anecdotes on certain species and meetings with researchers and entrepreneurs: discover the world of biomimicry!

Bioxegy Biomimétisme

TEDx Talks: Biomimicry and if nature inspired the innovations of the future?

To learn more about Biomimicry and discover impactful examples, discover the conference by Sidney Rostan, founder and CEO of Bioxegy, during TEDxSaclay 2022   

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