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May 18-20, 2022
Biocene Workshop

Biocene 2022 was held at OAI over 3 days from May 18-20, hosted by Great Lakes Biomimicry and OAI. The theme was the “Transformation of Transportation” and attracted over 70 people attending in-person and more than 45 virtually.

The topics ranged from effectively dealing with heat transfer in jet engines based on how elephant ears cool to building from oyster shells, creating a strong resilient infrastructure and underwater habitat for sea life. Other talks focused on designing sustainable polymers for the aerospace industry and how work is being done to transform highways into restorative infrastructure systems.

Speakers came from Austria, South Africa, the UK, Germany, Canada, Mexico, The Netherlands, and all over the U.S. Virtual participants were from many parts of the U.S. and countries including Greece, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, and Germany. Representatives from nearly 20 universities and 30 companies were in attendance.

The intent and spirt of Biocene is to create an atmosphere conducive to learning, sharing, and connecting, leading to further biomimicry thought and action. Through Biocene we continue to build, encourage, and strengthen the network of those interested in biomimicry, from varied disciplines, to support developing bio-inspired innovation and the tools needed for it to evolve. Biocene supports the ecosystem of researchers, academics, scientists, business innovators, students, and the nonprofit sector by enriching the whole system through increasing knowledge of and skills in biomimicry, enabling it to diversify and thrive.


Oct 8-10, 2020
Fall Biocene Workshop
Location: Virtual
Hosted by: NASA Virtual Interchange for Nature-inspired Exploration (V.I.N.E.).

This was an invitation-only, virtual, bio-inspired design (BID) workshop. This free event centered around BID education and best practices, inclusion and equity in BID, V.I.N.E. technical working groups, and global networking. The workshop spanned three days and included keynotes from subject matter experts, panel discussions, breakout sessions, working groups, and discussions on ways to move BID forward in targeted, sustainable, and inclusive directions. As a virtual gathering, it hosted a diverse attendance from BID organizations across the globe, engaging perspectives and connections that will help to establish greater representation and cohesion in the BID community.

Watch event video presentations.


Sept 9-10, 2019
NASA VINE Biocene Tools Workshop

NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio
Hosted by: NASA Virtual Interchange for Nature-inspired Exploration (V.I.N.E.).

This ‘minds-on’ workshop explored emerging cross-discipline tools and techniques for moving Bio-Inspired Design (BID) into “standard practice” in systems engineering and engineering design. Discussion on state-of-the-art in BID tools, emerging tool-kits for engineering innovation, and industry best practices. The following list illustrates some of the topics we may explore in the workshop:

August 15-16
IDEAS workshop

The Ohio Aerospace Institute, Cleveland, OH, 44135
Hosted by: NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio

The workshop included a series of presentations, panels, round table discussions, and networking opportunities.
The vision of IDEAS is an AI design system for propulsion. NASA is eager to understand the state of the art in AI tools used in propulsion, to evaluate the quality of available data as well as to define the top challenges related to data generation, management and analysis. Moreover, we would like to identify the fundamental challenges in developing algorithms and models relevant to the propulsion field and to identify challenge problems that the community may use as a benchmark to develop and validate tools against.

Telecon participants provided the following input based on their organization’s perspective:

  1. Activities undertaken or data sets available: Product/component test data, engine test data on-wing, multiscale ML tool development
  2. Presentations and panels: Most participants are willing to present. Please obtain clearance from your organizations to ensure that presentations for open sessions are not ITAR/export-controlled. We will have one government only session restricted to civil servants only
  3. Objectives for participants from industry, academia, government: How to use and dissect data? How to integrate data and collaborate with other entities? To meet people and collaborate. Get other perspectives on ML in energy and propulsion. Understand what the industry is doing in ML, big data? What data is available for 3D, how to expand academic tools to make them relevant, To enable tool transfer
  4. Discussion topics for the workshop: Tutorials – wiki, multi-scale ML, Learn from service modeling community, Data management and infrastructure including sharing, file structures, languages, In the near term we will focus on data sharing and worry about data classification in the long term.
  5. Recurring telecons every week until week before workshop.

Agenda for the Workshop: Download the full IDEAS Program.


AAAI 2018 Fall Symposium Series
Gathering for Artificial Intelligence and Natural Systems

Thursday, October 18

Time Activity Speaker(s)
9:00 a.m. Introduction to conference – Ioana Baldini, Prasanna Sattigeri (IBM Research AI) and Vikram Shyam (NASA GRC)
9:30 a.m. Keynote 1 – David Cox (Director, MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, IBM Research AI)
10:30 a.m. Coffee Break
11:00 a.m. Keynote 2 – Ashok Goel (Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology)
12:00 p.m. Extracting Structural Knowledge from Natural Language Documents to Support Biologically Inspired Design Ashok Goel, Swapnal Acharya, Kimisha Mody, Kaylin Hagopian, Shimin Zhang and Spencer Rugaber
12:30 p.m. Lunch (attendees on own)
2:00 p.m. Panel on Multidisciplinary Research and Education in AI/Natural Systems/Biomimicry


  • Alexandra Ralevski, Department of Comparative Medicine at Yale University
  • David Cox, MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, IBM Research AI
  • Vijal Parikh,

Moderator: Vikram Shyam, NASA Glenn Research Center

3:30 p.m. Coffee Break
4:00 p.m. Facilitating user interaction with a biomimetic ontology through semantic translation and interface design Colleen Unsworth, Austin Garner, Sarah McInerney, Banafsheh Khakipoor, Thibaut Houette, Ariana Rupp and Nicholas Weiner
4:30 p.m. Towards Distributed Coevolutionary GANs Abdullah Al-Dujaili, Tom Schmiedlechner, Erik Hemberg and Una-May O’Reilly
5:00 p.m. Biologically Inspired Foveated Robot Vision Wallace Lawson, Keith Sullivan, Olu Roy, Chris Bradel and Esube Bekele
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Reception

Friday, October 19

Time Topic Speaker(s)
9:00 a.m. Talk: Ethan Smith (Biomimicry Institute)

Talk: Prasanna Sattigeri (IBM Research AI)

10:30 a.m. Coffee Break
11:00 a.m. Workshop on Data for Bio-innovation
12:30 p.m. LUNCH
2:00 p.m. Talk: Alex Wolf (Na2ure

Talk: Vikram Shyam (NASA GRC)

3:30 p.m. Coffee Break
4:00 p.m. A Simple Environment for Research in Speciation Gary Parker and Thomas Edwards
4:30 p.m. Question Answering with Encyclopedia of Life: Accessing Large-Scale Biological Knowledge Pramodith Ballapuram, Christopher Cassion, Ashok Goel, Abbinayaa Subramanian, Jennifer Hammock, Spencer Rugaber, Robert Bates and Sunguen An
5:00 p.m. Emergent Turing Machines and Operating Systems for Brain-Like Auto-Programming for General Purposes Juyang Weng, Zejia Zheng, Xiang Wu, Juan L. Castro-Garcia, Shengjie Zhu, Qian Guo and Xiaofeng Wu

Saturday, October 20

Time Activity
9:00 a.m. Ideation and Collaboration Session
10:30 a.m. Coffee Break
11:00 a.m. Roadmap and Feedback Session
October 18-20, 2018
Arlington, VA
Supported by AAAI

Gathering for Artificial Intelligence and Natural Systems

Nature provides hundreds of millions of years of R&D by virtue of genetic variation, adaptation and speciation. Technology inspired by nature has the potential to be revolutionary while saving energy, resources and time. Several such inventions already proved the creativity and efficiency of designs inspired by nature. For example, researchers have been able to create antibacterial surfaces inspired by cicada’s wings and gecko’s skin; the shape of the engine of the Shinkansen Bullet train is said to have been inspired by the kingfisher beak. While these examples are exciting, they are not as numerous as they could be. Biomimicry – the art of innovation inspired by nature – happens quite often due to serendipity. We believe that artificial intelligence could help get serendipity out of the loop.
The goal of the GAINS Symposium – Gathering for Artificial Intelligence and Natural Systems – is to bring together researchers from academia, government and industry to collaborate at the intersection of artificial intelligence and biomimicry.

We welcome submissions on topics including (but not limited to):

Full papers (max 6 pages, including references): Papers detailing solutions or approaches.
Technical Brief (max 2 pages): These are typically position papers or concept papers.
Work in Progress (max 2 pages): – to be presented as poster; however, for reviewing purposes, please submit a max 2 pages description of your work.

The 2.5 day symposium is focused on: 1) AI for Bio-inspiration and 2) Nature-inspired AI. Each day will have keynotes and panels, interspersed with invited technical talks. In addition, we plan to include early-afternoon poster sessions. The last half-day of the symposium is dedicated to round tables with the objective of creating white papers with actionable items on different collaborative projects and ideas.

Organizing Committee:
Ioana Baldini, IBM Research AI
Richard “Doug” Riecken, Air Force Office of Scientific Research
Prasanna Sattigeri, IBM Research AI
Vikram Shyam, NASA Glenn Research Center

Questions: Send email including GAINS in the subject to Ioana Baldini,, or Vikram Shyam,

University of Akron
Dr. Barbara Imhof

Dare to Leave the Capsule
Dr. Barbara Imhof
Liquifer Systems Group in Austria (Vienna)

Her research specialty is exo-Earth space architecture and living design: liquifer. Her lecture was Friday March 9 from 2:15-3:15 p.m. in Goodyear Polymer Center Auditorium (Room 229)

University of Akron/Cleveland Museum of Art
Dr. Barbara Imhof

Talk on Space Architecture Tours

Prof. Barbara Imhof from Austria discussed your research interests. We toured several facilities starting with vacuum chambers.

At 6:30 p.m. on March 7 she attended a lecture at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Trevor Paglen, “The Planet as a Sensor.”

Center of Advanced Science and Engineering for Carbon (Case4Carbon), Departments of Macromolecular Science and Engineering, Bldg. 106 Room 202 Liming Dai
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, 44106

Controlled Growth and Functionalization of Three-Dimensional Carbon Nanomaterials for Multifunctional Applications
Gecko inspired work from Case
Dry adhesive holds in extreme cold, strengthens in extreme heat Carbon nanomaterials, including 1D carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and 2D single-atomic layer graphene, have been demonstrated to show superior thermal, electrical, and mechanical properties. Due to their dimensionally confined structures, however, these 1D and 2D nanomaterials exhibit strong direction-dependent thermal and electrical transport properties with extremely low out-of-plane conductivities. In many practical applications, however, it is highly desirable to have carbon nanomaterials with good conductivities for electricity/heat in all the three dimensions. We have previously developed simple pyrolytic methods for large-scale production of vertically-aligned carbon nanotube arrays.

The well-aligned structure provides unique advantages for not only an efficient device construction but also controlled functionalization. The controlled functionalization of aligned carbon nanotubes is particularly attractive, as it allows bulk/surface characteristics of the aligned carbon nanotubes to be tuned while their alignment structure can be largely retained. We have also reported the preferential synthesis of semiconducting vertically-aligned single-walled carbon nanotubes. Recently, we have further demonstrated that metal-free, nitrogen-doped aligned carbon nanotubes exhibited high electrocatalytic activities for energy conversion and storage, and that hierarchically-structured aligned carbon nanotube arrays with a straight body segment and a curly entangled top showed almost ten-times stronger shear adhesion force than that of a real gecko foot but still can be easily lifted off in the normal direction when desired.

More recently, we have exploited various approaches to 3D pillared carbon architectures, consisting of parallel graphene layers supported by vertically-aligned carbon nanotubes in between, which possess desirable out-of-plane transport and mechanical properties while maintaining the excellent properties of their building blocks. These 3D carbon nanomaterials are promising for numerous applications. In this talk, I summarized some of our rational concepts for the controlled growth and functionalization of 3D carbon nanomaterials for multifunctional materials and device applications (e.g., gecko-foot-mimetic dry adhesives, integrated energy devices), along with an overview on the recent developments in this exciting field. Dry adhesive holds extreme cold strengthens extreme heat

Recent International Workshop and Discussion of Priorities
Randall Anway,
AIA Principal,
New Tapestry, LLC

At the International Workshop, we had excellent discussions on:

Conference in Gainesville later that week. NSWG priorities for 2018 are:

Potential webinars for 2018:

Other topics that could be added based on group interest:

Randall Anway, AIA is a Registered Architect in New York and Connecticut. Specializing in design research inspired by natural patterns and systems, previous experience includes roles in facility management systems, software and web development, and building design and construction. He holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Connecticut. He is currently a board member of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. A Certified Biomimicry Specialist since 2011, he offers unique methods research and consulting services through his Connecticut firm, New Tapestry, LLC (LINK).

NASA’s building 3 Foyer
Jacquelyn K. Nagel, Ph.D.
James Madison University

Integrating Dr. Nagel’s translation software into PeTal
Dr. Jacquelyn K. Nagel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering at James Madison University. Dr. Nagel has eight years of diversified engineering experience, both in academia and industry, including: sensor design, bio-inspired design, instrumentation and control, manufacturing, and design for the factory floor. She has worked for Mission Control Technologies, Intel, Motoman Inc., and Kimberly-Clark Corp.

Dr. Nagel has been working in the area of bio-inspired design since 2007. Her research focuses on developing engineering design tools and methods to make biological inspiration accessible to engineering design problems, as well as instructional resources for teaching bio-inspired design. Dr. Nagel has applied her research to the areas of manufacturing, sensors, and alternative energy systems. In addition to authoring numerous publications on bio-inspired design, she has given multiple invited talks, including webinars for SWE and INCOSE members, conference presentations, and lectures to undergraduate and graduate students. Dr. Nagel’s pioneering work in bio-inspired design has been recognized nationally and internationally. In 2012 she represented IEEE-USA as the National eWeek Foundation New Faces of Engineering Award recipient, and in 2016 she received the SWE Distinguished New Engineer Award. She earned her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Oregon State University and her M.S. and B.S. in manufacturing engineering and electrical engineering, respectively, from the Missouri University of Science and Technology.


October 3-6, 2017
Summit 2017
Nature-Inspired Exploration for Aerospace (NIEA)

Summit 2017: Nature-Inspired Exploration for Aerospace (NIEA) focused on nature-inspired research applicable to materials and structures for extreme environments. In addition, the state of the art in biomimicry/bionics/natural systems thinking was showcased. Presented by the Ohio Aerospace Institute and Great Lakes Biomimicry, in conjunction with NASA, the 2017 NIEA Summit shares NASA’s mission with biomimicry/bionics/natural systems communities, connects subject matter experts and collaboration tools, and showcases technology research clusters in the NASA V.I.N.E. ecosystem.

Highlights: ~160 attendees, 0 food waste due to 130 pounds of compostables collected through partnership with Cleveland State University’s sustainability department. Working group meetings on Friday resulted in follow up workshops and collaborations on funding opportunities.

NIEA Summit 2017 Presentations
Author Presentation Title (PDF)
Dr. Rodger Dyson NASA Hybrid Electric Aircraft Propulsion
Thomas W. Kerslake Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP)
Dr. Robert Romanofsky Parallels in Communication and Navigation Technology and Natural Phenomenon
Joyce A. Dever Materials & Structures for Extreme Environments at NASA Glenn Research Center
Bryan Palaszewski Propulsion Options and Issues When Incorporating Biomimicry
Julian Vincent Biomimicry Practice and Systemology: Database or Ontology?
Jacquelyn K. Nagel, Ph.D. Systematic Design of Biologically-Inspired Engineering Solutions
Claudia Rivera Atacama Desert – Genius of Place
Petra Gruber Biomimetic Design Concepts for NASA Zero-Gravity Exercise Devices
Rashmi Jha, Alex Jones,  Sam Wenke, Eric Herrmann, Tony Bailey, Andrew Rush, Manish Kumar Biomimetic Nanoscale Devices and Architectures for Brain-Inspired Computing/AI
Henry C. Astley Snakes in Space: Biomimetic Snake Robots for Extraterrestrial Exploration
L. Danielle Koch, P.E NASA’s Bio-Inspired Acoustic Absorber Concept
Christopher Maurer Bio-utilization of Fungal Mycelium for Building Materials
D. Bhate, T. McNulty, A. Grishin, T. Le, M. A. Kiser, A. Zhang, A. Suder,
L. Ferry, P. Boradkar
Biomimetic Multi-functional Lattice Materials for Space Structures
Ariel Ekblaw Nature-Inspired Assembly: Biomimetic Approaches of the MIT Media Lab Space Initiative
J. Ou Cillia: 3D Printing Functional Hair-Like Structures
Junliang (Julian) Tao Soil Stabilization by Microbial Induced Calcite Precipitation

View the full list of NIEA speakers

GRC Connections
Christopher Maurer,
Principal Architect, Redhouse Studio LLC

Stronger, Faster, Better: New Materials for a New Age
Speaker: Christopher Maurer, Principal Architect, Redhouse Studio LLC

Abstract: Buildings are responsible for 40% of carbon emissions. In the U.S. alone, more than 500 million tons of demolition waste go to landfills annually. Learn how an innovative Cleveland architect is developing new materials to help address the waste and pollution created by current construction practices – and how these pioneering materials might have future applications in space.

NASA and Methuselah Foundation’s New Organ Alliance

NASA’s Centennial Challenges
All Interested U.S. Citizens, Including Higher Education Educators and Students

Category: Competitions NASA, in partnership with the nonprofit Methuselah Foundation’s New Organ Alliance, is seeking ways to advance the field of bioengineering through a new prize competition. The Vascular Tissue Challenge offers a $500,000 prize to be divided among the first three teams that successfully create thick, metabolically functional, human vascularized organ tissue in a controlled laboratory environment. The first registered team(s) to meet the required guidelines and complete their trials by Sept. 30, 2019, will win the awards.

Ashok Goel
Professor of Computer Science
School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA

Presentation on Structure-Behavior-Function models

New findings in Biologically Inspired Design

Ashok Goel is a professor of computer science in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, USA. He is the director of the School’s Ph.D. program in Human-Centered Computing and the Design & Intelligence Laboratory. He is also a co-director of the Institute’s Center for Biologically Inspired Design, a fellow of the Brooke Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems, and the president of the Board of Directors of The Biomimicry Institute. For thirty years, Ashok has been conducting research into artificial intelligence, cognitive science and human-centered computing, with a focus on computational design, modeling and creativity. He is the editor-in-chief of AAAI’s AI Magazine, and an Associate Editor of IEEE’s Intelligent Systems, and Design Research Society’s Design Science Journal. He is also the primary architect of Jill Watson, a virtual teaching assistant for answering questions in online education (Ashok Goel | TEDxSanFrancisco).

INCOSE Natural Systems Working Group (NSWG)
Chair:  Curt McNamara  —  Co-chair:  George Studor

Hawken Upper School in Gates Mills, Ohio
Great Lakes Biomimicry and Hawken School

Engineering Inspired by Nature Workshop 2017Kids Participating in Workshop Learning With Nature
Presented by Sam Stier, director of the Center for Learning with Nature Hosted by Great Lakes Biomimicry and Hawken School: how to use the award-winning “Engineering Inspired by Nature” curriculum, which was designated as the Top Product of 2015 by District Administration Magazine and recipient of the 2016 REVERE Award by the Association of American Publishers.

Workshop InformationVisit Great Lakes Biomimicry In Education website

NASA and the Houston Cinema Arts Society

“CineSpace” Short Film Competition
Audience: All Educators and Students

Category: Competitions NASA and the Houston Cinema Arts Society invite professional and aspiring filmmakers to share their works using actual NASA imagery. The “CineSpace” competition will accept all genres, including narrative, documentary, comedy, drama, animation, and others, up to 10 minutes long.

Entries must use at least 10 percent publicly available NASA imagery. Entries will be judged on creativity, innovation and attention to detail. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three submissions as well as the two films that best demonstrate the themes “Benefits of Space to Humanity” and “Future Space Exploration.”

INCOSE International Workshop 2017 (IW2017)

International Workshop 2017 Natural Systems Working Group Meeting
Webinar Overview of NSWG activities in 2016– Overview of NSWG – goals, activities, opportunities (McNamara)
– Insight Special Issue (Pohlmann)NSWG Webinar Presentations
– Design By Nature: Patterns (Macnab)
– Patterns In Natural and Human-Designed Systems (McNamara)Systems Pathology: Joint with SysSci WG

– Living systems challenges and design – (Anway)
– Discovering biomimetic strategies – (DeLuca)
– Comparing solving methods – (Reece)Testing in Nature and Design
– What can SEs learn from how nature tests? NSWG members

University of Akron
Peter Gruber

3h course 3100:695
Open to Art, Biology, Engineering participants

Category: Special Topics in Biology Spring 2017
Contact: Petra Gruber

Cleveland Museum of Natural History – 1 Wade Oval Drive, Cleveland OH 44106
Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Raise a glass and increase your knowledge of the natural world at one of the brainiest happy hours in Cleveland
Cleveland Museum of Natural History Presents Think and Drink


NASA Ames Research Center Building 3

Technology Entrepreneurs

On August 15, 2016 NASA opened registration to its first Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/ Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program Subtopic Workshop. This workshop will provide small businesses and research institutions with a great opportunity to interact with SBIR/STTR program. experts, NASA mission directorate representatives and technologists!

Interested small business and research institution participants will have the option to participate virtually or in person for one or both days. The event will be hosted on September 12-13, 2016 at NASA Ames Research Center’s Building 3 Conference Center located at, Moffett Field, CA 94035. All in-person and virtual participants must register and participation is free. Registration closes on September 2, 2016.

The purpose of this workshop is to encourage two-way conversation between potential SBIR/STTR applicants and NASA experts on a set of technical topic areas.

More information: SBIR/STTR

Case Western Reserve University, DeGrace Hall, Room 312
Case Western Reserve University, Department of Biology

Lecture open to University and Affiliates

Dr. Gregory Sutton
Bioengineering, Biomedical Engineering, Botany

Dr. Gregory Sutton, PhD Royal Society University Research Fellow. School of Biological Sciences University of Bristol – UKMy research is on the biomechanics of insect motions. Primarily, I look at locomotion (jumping) and sensory systems for mechanical examples of how insects accomplish the incredible feats they engage in every day. Insect jumps require large amounts of energy to be stored and released in extremely short times requiring an intricate series of biological spring systems to store the energy, linkage systems to control how the energy is transmitted to the ground, and gear systems to keep the linkage systems synchronized through these extremely fast motions. Likewise, some insect sensory systems use a biological series of high precision levers to measure extremely small mechanical forces. They can even measure the extremely small forces generated by small electric fields; allowing some insects to differentiate between flowers just on the basis of a flower’s individual electric field.

Biomimicry Summit and Education Forum
August 2-4, 2016

Tuesday, August 2 2016

Biomimicry: A NASA Perspective (Chair: Sandra Reehorst – NASA GRC)
Name Presentation
Craig Kundrot – NASA HQ Application of Biomimicry to NASA Engineering Problems
Barbara Esker – NASA HQ ARMD Overview and Interest in Biomimicry
John Sankovic – NASA GRC NASA GRC Innovation and Biomimicry
Vikram Shyam – NASA GRC Aerospace Biomimicry and Other Cool Things
Biomimicry: An Evolving Discipline (Chair: Peter Niewiarowski – University of Akron)
Name Presentation
Ashok Goel – Georgia Institute of Technology Cognitive Challenges of Biologically Inspired Design
Frank Rosenzweig, Georgia Institute of Technology Sweet are the uses of adversity: Insights into adaptation and speciation using experimental evolution
Yoseph Bar-Cohen, JPL Planetary exploration using biologically-inspired technologies
Lynn Rothschild, NASA ARC Synthetic biology as an enabling technology for space exploration
Curt McNamara Biomimicry Educator’s Network
LUNCH (Speaker – Thomas Tyrrell, Great Lakes Biomimicry) – Great Lakes Biomimicry
Life in Hostile Environments (Chair: Lynn Rothschild – NASA ARC)
Name Presentation
J. Scott Turner, SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry What’s so inspiring about life? Physiomimetics, adaptation and persistence of life in novel environments
Nita Sahai, University of Akron From geochemistry to biogeochemistry: The origins of life
John Senko, University of Akron Responses of microbial communities in ‘non-extreme’ settings to imposition of physicochemically ‘extreme’ conditions
Robotics (Chairs: Yoseph Bar-Cohen – JPL, and Brian Trease – University of Toledo)
Name Presentation
Shashank Priya, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University Jellyfish Node and Colonies
Nikolaus Correll, University of Colorado Boulder Material-integrated intelligence for robot autonomy
Roger Quinn, Case Western Reserve University Animals as models for robot mobility and autonomy: Crawling, walking, running, climbing, and flying

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Artificial Intelligence and Swarms (Chair: Herbert Schilling – GRC)
Name Presentation
Amir Gandomi, Michigan State University Evolutionary computation for real-world optimization problems
Russell Eberhart, Consultant (Indiana University, Purdue University, Indianapolis, retired) Swarm intelligence and extended analog computing 
Marc Kirschenbaum and Daniel Palmer, John Carroll University Mimicking biomimicry: What can we learn from a swarm of humans? 

Video Compilation from ‘Mimicking biomimicry: What can we learn from a swarm of humans?

Materials and Structures I (Chair: Aloysius Hepp – NASA GRC)
Name Presentation
Kenneth Sandhage, Purdue University Part A Materials alchemy: changing the chemistries but not shapes of 3-D biogenic and synthetic structures 
Part B Materials alchemy: changing the chemistries but not shapes of 3-D biogenic and synthetic structures 
Rajesh Naik, Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base *Creating functional biomimetic materials
Mrityunjay Singh, Ohio Aerospace Institute Biomorphic Ceramics from lignocellulosic template
Paul Kladitis, University of Dayton Research Institute Multifunctional structures and materials: The ultimate biomimicry 

Video from “Materials alchemy: changing the chemistries but not shapes of 3-D biogenic and synthetic structures”

LUNCH (Speaker – Harvey Webster, Cleveland Museum of Natural History)
Harvey Webster - Cleveland Museum of Natural History
CMNH’s Harvey Webster with Tamarack the owl
Aeronautics and Propulsion (Chair: Isaiah Blankson – NASA GRC)
Name Presentation
Haibo Dong, University of Virginia Aerodynamic role and low dimensional analysis of wing surface morphology in bio-inspired flapping flight
Konrad Rykaczewski, Arizona State University Cacti, kale, aphids, and airplane de-icing poison dart frogs
Wei Zhang, Cleveland State University How seal whiskers suppress vortex structures: Effects of phase shift angle
Architecture, Art, and Design (Chair: Thomas Tyrrell – Great Lakes Biomimicry)
Name Presentation
John Nottingham., Nottingham. Spirk Real world examples of how biomimetic principles are being utilized in the product design process
Bill Sullivan, FLEXcon Collaboration, biomimicry and success stories
Douglas Paige, Cleveland Institute of Art Biomimicry: A multidisciplinary design process
Petra Gruber, University of Akron A biomimetic approach to architecture and design
Evening Session – Reception and Presentation at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History
Name Presentation
Stephen Howe, University of Akron Fossil doesn’t equal failure

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Communications, Navigation, and Control (Chair: Roger Quinn – CWRU)
Name Presentation
Zhiqiang Wu, Wright State University Bio-inspired radiofrequency steganography via linear chirp radar signals
Rashmi Jha, University of Cincinnati An artificial brain mechanism to develop a learning paradigm for robots
Brian Trease, University of Toledo A stochastic, swarm-based control law for emergent-system-level area coverage by robots
Materials and Structures II (Chair: Mrityunjay Singh – Ohio Aerospace Institute)
Name Presentation
Alyssa Stark, University of Louisville McMillon-Brown-Slides-to-Share
Lyndsey McMillon-Brown, Yale University/NASA GRC Light-trapping in polymer solar cells by processing with nanostructured diatomaceous earth
Educational Aspects of Biomimicry (Chair: Godfrey Sauti – NASA LaRC)
Name Presentation
Anamarija Frankić, UNIZD & Biomimicry New England Green Harbors Project and Biomimicry LivingLabs
Marjan Eggermont, University of Calgary Zygote Quarterly: An open-source bio-inspired design journal
Peter Niewiarowski, University of Akron Gecko adhesion: An exploration of bibliometric pattern and biomimetic process

LUNCH (Speaker – Mark Avsec, Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff, LLP)  Talk title: Biomimicry and 3D printing

Collaboration and Research Direction(s) (Anita Alexander and Rebecca Kwiat – NASA GRC)

NASA facilitated follow–on activities related to biomimicry vision

Name Presentation
Jeppie Compton EPSCOR overview
George Studor INCOSE NSWG overview

INCOSE NSWG Community of Practice Webinar
Dr. Len Troncale
Professor Emeritus
California State Polytechnic University

Beyond Biomimicry to Systems Mimicry:  Using Evidence from the Natural Sciences to Design Better Systems


This presentation introduced Systems Processes Theory (SPT), suggesting similarities and differences between the established biomimicry and the proposed systems mimicry; and outlined how SPT can provide a framework for integrating the dispersed results of several systems and natural science knowledge bases.

This integration is essential to solving some of our most pressing social problems because they involve knowledge of BOTH the inextricably linked natural systems and the human systems involved in causing the problems.

The sciences study natural phenomena using experimental methods. This paper proposes to use their vast data to better understand how systems work (universal systems process) and do not work (systems pathologies) at their most fundamental levels. This knowledge base would provide tested, evidence-based solutions to the challenges that all systems face—whatever their scale or particular function—whatever their domain, human or natural.

The paper presented two overarching strategies to accomplish systems mimicry and five case studies as possible examples of use of systems mimicry in systems design. Tools for using and action programs for establishing systems mimicry are also presented. The paper ended by suggesting a wider vision of the future of systems design and systems engineering than is currently heldd


Dr. Len Troncale is a Professor Emeritus, past Chair of Biology, Director Emeritus of the Institute for Advanced Systems Studies, and Lecturer in graduate Systems Engineering at California State Polytechnic University. He has made many presentations at INCOSE events. He has served as President of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS).

He has devoted his lifework to not only biology, but to integrating all of the sciences, giving him a unique view of the full spectrum of natural sciences. These studies led to authoring Systems Processes Theory (SPT), a candidate General Theory of Systems framework for unifying the fragmented systems domains, and a proposed knowledge base in systems science for systems engineering. His 107 publications, 130 invited computerized demonstrations in 23 countries and 52 grants and contracts for $5.3M from a variety of federal, state, and private organizations have given him additional experience in research and applications in natural systems.

INCOSE Natural Systems Working Group (NSWG)
Chair:  Curt McNamara  —  Co-chair:  George Studor

The Glenn Research Center in Cleveland
Biomimicry Booth, Dr. Vikram Shyam and fellow team members
Biomimicry: NASA’s biomimicry group displayed a booth featuring current work by researchers and examples in which nature influences aerospace and technology. Photo Credit: NASA

NASA Glenn Celebrates 75 Years of Exceptional Technology Achievements at Technology Day 2016
Dr. John Sankovic,
Director of Technology, Incubation and Innovation at Glenn

The Glenn Research Center in Cleveland celebrated a legacy of innovation and explored its role in NASA’s Journey to Mars at Technology Day 2016. Dr. John Sankovic, director of Technology, Incubation and Innovation at Glenn, highlighted some of the recent biomimicry work the center has undertaken including airfoils inspired by harbor seal whiskers, engine noise suppression inspired by reeds and an InnoCentive Challenge to miniaturize exercise equipment for the Journey to Mars using biomimicry,

Attendees were invited to register for a 3-day Biomimicry Summit and Education Forum being held at the Ohio Aerospace Institute, August 2-4. The goal of the Summit is to showcase some of the most unique efforts across industry and academia to define revolutionary technology that is inspired by nature.

The Forum offers over 30 presentations on subjects literally from A to Z – “Application of Biomimicry to NASA Problems” to “Zygote Quarterly: An Open-Source Bio-Inspired Design Journal.

To contact Glenn’s Biomimicry Working Group or to become a collaborator, view our Contact page.

Great Lakes Science Center’s Omnimax Theater
Dr. Vikram Shyam
Scientist at Glenn’s Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio

Biomimicry Presented to MC2 STEM Students
Instructors and 120 STEM students from the MC2 STEM school.

Dr. Vikram Shyam, a scientist at Glenn’s Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio gave a talk on biomimicry at the Great Lakes Science Center’s Omnimax Theater. The audience was comprised of instructors and 120 STEM students from the MC^2 STEM school.

The talk covered the applicability to systems thinking of biomimicry to business and education in addition to technology development.

Several examples were provided ranging from healthcare to aerospace. The students were asked to observe animal behavior from videos and comment on uses, features and physics behind the behavior. Examples of NASA’s biomimicry endeavors were also highlighted.

John Glenn Research Center

Presentation: Emergence Oriented Programming – an example of Biomimicry
Glenn Research Center Researchers

Dr. Marc Kirschenbaum, a professor of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department at John Carroll University, gave a presentation to the Center on April 26.  The talk, “Emergence Oriented Programming – an example of Biomimicry”, was well attended and generated ideas for possible collaborations with several GRC researchers, particularly with researchers working in the space communication area. Access the presentation here

Center for Applied Biomechanics and the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA
Invited Talk at University of Virginia, Charlottesville
Researchers and Biomechanics
Dr. Vikram Shyam
Dr. Vikram Shyam. NASA/Bill Ingalls.

Vik Shyam visited the Center for Applied Biomechanics and the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA on 4/07/2016 to discuss collaboration opportunities in the fields of turbomachinery, biomimicry and fluid dynamics. In addition to meeting with several researchers to discuss topics including anti-icing, magnetic bearings, fluid dynamics of dolphin, whale and insect flight, vehicle crash testing and noninvasive measurements, Vik gave a seminar on biomimicry and application to biomechanics.

Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute
Vik Shyam

Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute lecture
Invited Guests
Vik Shyam gave an invited talk about biomimicry at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute lecture series on March 18, 2016 to highlight the potential for biomimicry to solve problems in biomedical engineering and medicine.

University of Akron
Dr. Isaiah Blankson

Biomimetic Approaches to Selected Engineering Problems
Invited Guests

Dr. Isaiah Blankson gave a talk titled, Biomimetic Approaches to Selected Engineering Problems at the University of Akron on Feb 26, 2016. The abstract of the talk is given below.NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, researches, designs, develops and tests innovative technology for aeronautics and spaceflight. We design game-changing technology for spaceflight that enables further exploration of the universe. We create cutting-edge aeronautical technology that revolutionizes air travel. NASA also commercializes technology that is of benefit to the community, region and nation. Some of the key technologies that are being pursued include the application of non-equilibrium plasmas to processes in aerodynamics and propulsion, treatment of dielectric liquids, energy and the environment.

In this seminar, several examples of engineering problems of interest and importance to the Aeronautics sector of NASA will be presented. Our emphasis will be on the various approaches which are derived by learning from nature’s design strategies and solutions which are a rich source of inspiration for various branches of science and technology. Particular examples include sonic-boom mitigation of supersonic aircraft by forward energy addition, the application of radio-vision systems to issues in aviation safety, control of vortex-induced vibrations, and potential car-body structures for automobile safety. In each example, the conventional approach and the nature-inspired approach will be described.

Finally, an opportunity to embed biomimetic designs and strategies in a new ground-transportation concept will be briefly discussed.

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