Bionics in Action: MasterClass in Design Methodologies


Curiosity is an innate characteristic of humans. Because of this, new, creative technologies are being created everyday; but what inspires humans to make these new innovations? In his presentation at the LAB Miami, Franco Lodato, with The Miami College of Design, described nature’s role in creating new inventions in his latest Master Class hosted at The LAB Miami. He stressed the importance of one’s surroundings in finding inspiration. Nature plays a central role to Franco’s process in creating new concepts. Franco’s process consists of first, studying the life context, then synthesize information and communicating findings, and lastly visualizing the prototype. Lodato went on reveal the natural inspiration for many of the world’s essential tools.

One such tool came from the woodpecker. This bird’s bill is very sturdy, and it is able to drill and chisel into trees. The quick, yet efficient motion and shape of the woodpecker’s bill inspired the invention of one particular design of an ice axe. The handle of this axe is curved, similar to the shape of a woodpecker’s skeleton. The head of the axe is slick, and closely resembles a woodpecker’s bill. This design allows climbers to traverse even the steepest of ice walls because the head of the axe lodges into the ice. Ice climbers claim this to be an essential tool for climbing mountains.

Another inspiration for modern inventions came from sharks. Lodato noted how sharks are very advanced animals. They have sensors all around their bodies to detect predators and catch prey. This inspired modern designs for Maserati’s. Maserati designers wanted their cars, like sharks, to have sensors to ensure that the driver is aware of his surroundings.

Through Franco’s Master Class: Bionics in Action, attendees left with a better understanding of nature’s impact on modern inventions and it’s power in holding the answer to everyday problems.

Written By Jack Christianakis Pattullo and Franklin Richard Civantos