The Maker Movement consists of millions of people who love working with their hands to create things that are uniquely their own. This is a huge community, and in this community 3D printing is becoming increasingly popular. Due to the need for complex software and a lack of awareness to many people 3D printing is not accessible to many Makers. Currently, the 3D printing model is often perceived as a linear model that produces small plastic parts that simply end up in land fill because of the materials we currently use. The objects that are printed are mostly static objects where all the design is in the CAD work.
Breaking through the barriers to 3D printing with a biologically inspired product can have a dual effect on its users. It can bring both creative, biological inspiration, and it can allow the benefits of 3D printing to reach a wider audience. This can be in the form of unique materials like flexible PLA and material optimization, which is good for the environment. Janine Benyus (author of ‘Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature) believes 3D printing is the key to a new revolution in manufacturing that will be available right in the home. “we stand at the cusp of a new paradigm in manufacturing, and the decisions that designers make now regarding the materials they use will have lasting effects. As 3D printing technology continues to develop, it has the potential to blossom into a full-fledged sustainable manufacturing revolution. Be that isn’t the course we’re currently following.”
The maker community has no age limitations or discrimination of any type. It is made up of people who have a personal drive for the satisfaction of making something uniquely their own. For this reason, my product is not limited to any specific user. However, the design is best suited to the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) homeowner. The great thing about my product is that the user can use it for whatever purpose the design it for! They then get the satisfaction of a personal project, the ownership of a unique art piece, and a new product to use in their home.
Measures of Success & Learning Outcomes
A product that will communicate biological inspiration through forms and structures and that can be produced using the current prototyping process of 3D printing. A project that is elegant, functional and inspiring, that is resource efficient and recyclable into different designs. Something that is modular like LEGO yet fluid in the way you interact with it.
Alena Louguina – Masters of Industrial Design graduate, specializing in biomimicry design. Interviewed her for insights to the opportunities for prototyping and biomimicry.
Jeff Dawson – Biology Department Professor at Carleton University. Interviewed him for his take on applying biomimicry to design and prototyping.
ArtEngine Members – A group of people at the ArtEngine meeting that we talked to to get a better idea of the community that is currently using prototyping technology.