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02/12/2008

Autodesk Sponsors First Online Database To Help Designers Learn From Nature

Autodesk, a leader in design innovation technologies, has announced the sponsorship of AskNature.org, the world's first biomimicry database, featuring biology-inspired design strategies.
Architects, designers and engineers can access and harness nature's billions of years of evolution through this free, online public-domain library, filled with some of nature's best strategies, organised by function and explained with illustrations and in language relevant to designers.
For instance, someone trying to solve the challenge of how to glue to surfaces in moist environments would find information about barnacles, geckos and other organisms that have solved this problem in the ecosystem in which they live.
Launching this week, AskNature.org is a project of the Biomimicry Institute, founded by author Janine Benyus. The experts at the Institute describe biomimicry as a science that studies nature's models and then imitates or takes inspiration from these designs and processes to solve human problems. The site - part manifesto, part search engine, part social network - is a place where innovators and biologists can meet, exchange information and design together.
With a user base of 9 million architects, designers and engineers around the world, Autodesk sees biomimicry as a revolutionary design concept that can help influence better design decisions.
Lynelle Cameron, Autodesk Director of Sustainability, said: "Autodesk provides software that helps simplify sustainable design decisions in each industry we serve - providing our customers with design intelligence that enables smarter design decisions, whether they are designing a building, a train, a shoe or a city. It's for this reason we're proud to be the founding sponsor of Asknature.org."
Autodesk customers are already using biomimetic principles for their real-world design workflow. Global architectural firm HOK, for example, specialises in planing, design and delivery of solutions for buildings and communities.
The firm has long used the Revit platform for building information modelling for its sustainable design efforts and has used the software to support its work in the growing area of biomimcry.
Mary Ann Lazarus, HOK Sustainable Design Director, said: "Biomimcry is about understanding how nature works and applying it to design. Revit helps us understand the implications of our designs for factors like energy usage, water usage, material usage and shade coefficient. That knowledge will be directly applicable in developing meaningful biomimetic solutions."
HOK is integrating biomimicry into one of its current projects, a hillside community development near Pune, India. Soil stability represents one of the biggest challenges of building in this location because of steep hillsides and extreme weather conditions, which alternate between drought and monsoon. Rather than drilling piers to secure buildings into the soil, the team is exploring a biomimetic approach that uses foundations that mimic a tree's tap roots.
Autodesk product teams are also investigating where Autodesk software can support biomimicry. One example is the Autodesk Seek web service. Launched in May, Autodesk Seek is a unique, online source for product information that enables architects, designers and engineers to search for products, based on specific performance criteria. The refined search capability uses attributes to describe what the user is searching for - such as biomimetic products.
Further information is available at: www.autodesk.com.
(KMcA)
Solidmate Ltd Memory Card Hire London

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