Nature has a multitude of examples of complex materials and systems that go well beyond the current capabilities of synthetic systems. Furthermore, biomimetic concepts will account for an estimated $1.2 trillion in global economic development, and have already contributed to familiar products like Velcro and wind turbines.
While industry has traditionally used “heat, beat, and treat” strategies to build products, Nature, on the other hand, manufactures at ambient temperatures and pressures, with non-toxic chemistry. Materials that are found in Nature display a wide range of properties including responsiveness to the environment, signal transmission, and the ability to adapt to and support life. Learning from Nature, or biomimicry, can be a powerful tool in designing materials, systems, and manufacturing techniques.
Further, in nature, everything is a resource and everything is recycled - one of the most fundamental attributes of sustainability. Bio-inspired manufacturing methods mimic these features and offer significant opportunities from both economic and environmental standpoints. Thus, proposals are invited that employ bio-inspired manufacturing methods to build innovative new products that have the potential to transform the manufacturing industry.