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Biomimicry: streamlining the front end of innovation for environmentally sustainable products: biomimicry can be a powerful design tool to support sustainability-driven product development in the front end of innovation.

Environmental sustainability is an increasingly important objective of product development; both growing consumer concerns and increasing regulation are forcing companies to consider how their products impact the environment. As climate change and other environmental issues have assumed greater importance, the objectives of businesses have advanced from pollution reduction to green product innovation (Albino, Balice, and Dangelico 2009). That is to say, focus has shifted from reducing the environmental impact of the manufacturing process--for instance by seeking third-party certified environmental management systems (for example, ISO-14001), reducing generation of hazardous waste, or cutting air emissions--to creating products that have environmentally sustainable attributes--for instance, by seeking third-party sustainability product certifications (for example, EcoLogo), increasing the use of sustainable materials, or improving energy efficiency. As R&D managers execute this shift, businesses are increasingly finding that innovation driven by environmental sustainability offers opportunities to increase competitive advantage, generate business value, and enhance customer relations (Metz et al. 2016).

A number of eco-design tools have emerged to support such green product innovation by integrating environmental considerations into product development (Karlsson and Luttropp 2006). These tools include guidelines such as the Ten Golden Rules, checklists like Fast Five Phillips, impact matrices such as Design for the Environment (DfE), and full life cycle assessment tools (Bovea and Perez-Belis 2012). But conventional eco-design tools provide only limited support for truly disruptive product innovation because they are evaluative rather than generative (Vallet et al. 2013; Petala et al. 2010; Lofthouse 2006; Walker 1998). In other words, they are designed to validate proposed solutions--providing analysis of the environmental performance of product concepts--rather than to explore possible solutions--generating new product concepts. For example, the DfE impact matrix might encourage a product designer to consider how a product can be disassembled easily so that each component can be recovered or recycled, or to look at using alternative materials that are more recyclable than those that might previously have been used. These kinds of considerations come into play only after a relatively well-developed product concept has been formulated.

Eco-design tools would be more likely to drive green product innovation if they could be introduced in the solution discovery phase, also known as the fuzzy front end of innovation (Koen et al. 2002). Early in the product development process, while ideas are still being introduced and shaped, there is greater flexibility to incorporate environmentally sustainable attributes and to reconsider basic attributes; waiting until later phases, when the solution approach has been determined and the most critical technical decisions have already been made, can limit designers and engineers to incremental improvements or rule out the possibility of including desirable environmental characteristics altogether (Bovea and Perez-Belis 2012).

One lesser known eco-design tool that is suitable for introduction in the front end of innovation is biomimicry. Biomimicry is defined as the technical emulation of biological forms, processes, patterns, and systems (Benyus 2013). As an innovation approach, it is based on the belief that natural selection favors high-performance, resource-efficient survival strategies--strategies that can be copied to address technical challenges. The redesign of Japan's 500 Series Shinkansen Bullet Train is an example of biomimicry. Before it was redesigned, the train, which reaches speeds up to 200 miles per hour, caused air pressure to build up in tunnels, which then created a sonic boom every time the train exited a tunnel. People living up to 15 miles away complained about the noise. The engineers tasked with redesigning the train's nose to reduce noise modeled their new design after the beak of the kingfisher, a bird that dives head first into water, a denser medium than air, without making a splash. The new train is quieter than the original model, meeting the goal of the project; it is also 10 percent faster and runs on 15 percent less electricity (Benyus 2009).

A number of examples demonstrate biomimicry's potential specifically to drive environmentally sustainable innovation. One company has created an environmentally friendly calcium carbonate powder inspired by coral's carbon dioxide-fixing process; the powder can replace a portion of Portland cement in traditional concrete mixes to reduce cement's carbon footprint (Lurie-Luke 2014). Another has created carpet tiles inspired by the organized chaos of a forest floor. The tiles' pattern and coloration allows for nondirectional installation, which is much faster and less wasteful--reducing waste from up to 14 percent for traditional broadloom carpet to as little as 1.5 percent (Interface, Inc. 2016). And the photosynthetic process has inspired design of cheap, energy-efficient solar cells made of inexpensive, eco-friendly materials (Reece et al. 2011).

To clarify, biomimicry does not necessarily yield environmentally sustainable solutions. However, practiced thoughtfully in the context of clear performance goals for environmental sustainability, it can be a powerful design tool that supports sustainability-driven innovation in the front end of innovation (Kennedy et al. 2015). Indeed, drawing on estimates of biomimicry's penetration in various industries, Fermanian Business & Economic Institute predicts that by 2030, biomimicry could account for $425 billion in US GDP and $1.6 trillion in global GDP, as well as generating savings associated with reduced resource depletion and pollution (Fermanian Business & Economic Institute 2013).

Despite its tremendous promise, however, awareness of biomimicry and the principles guiding its practice remains limited among R&D professionals. Little has been published on best practices, which limits understanding and effective use of biomimicry (Nagel and Stone 2012; Vincent et al. 2006). GOJO, a manufacturer of skin health and hygiene solutions, implemented biomimicry in its new product development process, with promising results. The biomimicry process significantly streamlined the front end of innovation, producing more intellectual property for a much smaller resource commitment--and at the same time offered product designs that promise significant energy savings. Though this is only a single case, the results suggest biomimicry could advance green product innovation while providing a high return on investment.

Developing a Better Soap and Sanitizer Dispenser Using Biomimicry

GOJO has a long history of bringing innovations to the hand hygiene market, including patenting the first portion-controlled soap dispenser in 1952, bringing the first sanitary sealed soap dispenser refills to commercial markets in 1983, and launching PURELL, the first alcohol-based hand sanitizer, in 1997. As part of its strategic approach to innovation, GOJO engages in technology- and capability-building partnerships with universities and other organizations. That history of collaboration led Great Lakes Biomimicry to approach the company in 2012 regarding a potential partnership in which GOJO, Great Lakes Biomimicry, and the University of Akron would sponsor an industrial assistantship program in Biomimicry for a PhD Fellow. The goal of the program was to embed biomimicry in the R&D organization and throughout the company over the five-year course of the fellowship. Believing that biomimicry could advance enterprise goals related to innovation and create sustainable value, GOJO's leadership accepted the invitation. (1)

In 2013, as it contemplated development of its next generation of liquid soap and sanitizer dispensers, the company turned to its Biomimicry PhD Fellow to integrate biomimicry into the development process. Liquid soap and sanitizer dispensing systems provide a dosed amount of product upon actuation. These dispensing systems are installed in schools, restaurants, hospitals, manufacturing facilities, fitness centers, office buildings, and other high-volume, public settings. For its new generation of dispensers, GOJO turned its attention to the environmental sustainability of these ubiquitous systems. With this in mind, the company conducted a full lifecycle assessment for its most advanced touch-free dispensing system, which showed that the batteries in the system were responsible for much more of the system's environmental impact than other components--four times more, in fact, than was accounted for by the manufacturing of all the refill pumps the dispenser would need throughout its entire life. This finding indicated that increasing the energy efficiency of the pump would likely be the most effective way to reduce the system's environmental impact, with likely environmental benefits exceeding the improvements that could be yielded by other approaches, such as incorporation of recycled content or dematerialization of the pump.

To generate ideas for ways to reduce the system's energy usage, the product development team turned to biomimicry. Low-energy survival strategies are prevalent in the biological world. Technological solutions tend to rely on energy inputs to achieve a functional goal; biological solutions, on the other hand, tend to leverage information transfer and hierarchical structures (Bogatyrev and Bogatyreva 2009; McKeag 2013). For example, Kevlar, a high-performance synthetic fiber, is formed by an energy-intensive chemical reaction that occurs at high tern peratures, while spider silk, a natural fiber up to 10 times tougher than Kevlar, is formed at room temperature using water-based chemistry.

A cross-functional team of 15 GOJO employees with organizational roles spanning engineering, biology, chemistry, design, marketing, and sustainability volunteered to tackle this challenge. In total, these 15 employees dedicated 165 hours to three collaborative workshop sessions co-led by the PhD Fellow and independent interim work. The goal of the first workshop session was to create a solution-neutral functional representation of the R&D challenge, intended to help the participants focus on a wide range of relevant solutions by stripping the problem of any distracting concrete attachments. This is the equivalent of re-representing the hypothetical challenge of designing a more effective toothbrush as the challenge of improving mouth hygiene. The team was introduced to biomimicry tools that support functional representation using biological terms, such as the Biomimicry Taxonomy (Biomimicry 3.8 Institute 2013), and an Engineering-to-Biology Thesaurus (Nagel, Stone, and McAdams 2010). The Biomimicry Taxonomy is a three-tiered hierarchy of functions represented in biology. The technical challenge of dispensing soap fits in the overarching taxonomy category Get, Store, or Distribute Resources, in the subcategory Distribute, and in the narrowest nested category Distribute Fluid. The Engineering-to-Biology Thesaurus maps engineering function terms to their biological function correspondents. For example, biological synonyms for the engineering function "dispense" include "excrete" and "transfer." The team used these tools to reframe the primary challenge as fluid distribution or fluid transfer.

Team members then dispersed to use the functional representation to independently identify relevant biological models, through keyword searches of biological databases, exploration of nature documentaries, and immersion in a natural environment. All were encouraged to access and summarize peer-reviewed articles on the biological models they identified with the help of GOJO colleagues who had biological expertise (as a skin health and hygiene company, GOJO employs many microbiologists) or external subject matter experts. For some individuals, the breadth of the guiding question--How do biological systems distribute or transfer fluids?--was daunting. These individuals typically adopted more focused frames of inquiry, which were self-generated, to make sifting through an expanse of biological information more manageable (Table 1). These frames of inquiry might also be referred to as research lenses.

The second workshop session was devoted to reporting on these independently identified biological models and extracting their design principles--abstract representations of the biological phenomena embodied by the models. Formulating appropriate design principles is a fundamental hurdle in biomimicry (Nagel et al. 2010). Practitioners often skip this critical step, fixate on biological entities (Cheong and Shu 2013), and transfer surface features to a solution without appropriate abstraction (Mak and Shu 2004; Linsey and Viswanathan 2014). To borrow an extreme example from Helms, Vattam, and Goel (2009), a biomimicry practitioner designing a device to shell peanuts, lacking an appropriate abstract representation, might suggest training squirrels to shell the peanuts. Clearly, such direct transfer of the biological actors is not practical or sustainable and will not result in a marketable solution.

What is needed in place of a direct application of the biological model is an analogous concept that works in accordance with abstract design principles derived from the biological model. Extracted design principles should capture the essence of the biological strategy and translate it in a way that is biologically accurate but free of biological jargon, enabling non-biologists to use it as a stimulus for ideation (Baumeister 2014). Design principles should also be generalized as much as possible, eliminating irrelevant specifics that do not apply to the functional problem (Sartori, Pal, and Chakrabarti 2010).

Guided by these principles and with live facilitation by the PhD Fellow, the GOJO innovation team extracted a number of design principles from the biological models proposed (Table 2). Nearly 40 models were proposed, more than could be profitably explored in a relatively brief workshop. The list was winnowed to about a dozen, based on how well the team understood particular models or how easily additional information needed to sufficiently explain the mechanisms at play in a proposed model could be accessed. Publications heavy with biological jargon were difficult for many team members to parse; even the more accessible literature often described a biological behavior (the what) without adequately detailing its underlying mechanics (the how). A fundamental understanding of how the proposed biological model accomplished fluid distribution/fluid transfer behavior provided a necessary base for extracting design principles.

Team members were then charged to use the list of extracted design principles as stimulus for independent ideation of novel soap and sanitizer dispenser concepts. In the third workshop session, participants reported on their preliminary concepts and collaborated to enrich top concepts. Top concepts were chosen according to the criteria of novelty, perceived feasibility, and potential value with regard to environmental sustainability. The process of independent ideation and subsequent collaborative selection and enrichment of top concepts followed a "diverge then converge" approach supported by creativity and innovation research (Thompson 2003). After the conclusion of the workshop, GOJO engaged contract design services to further develop 20 leading concepts.

Ultimately, this effort resulted in four patent applications for novel dispensing systems. These solutions promised to generate sustainable value from a number of sources even beyond the energy-use reductions that were the primary goal (Table 3). One novel design that emerged from this process, the double-acting bladder pump, was inspired by the heart, a multichambered biological pump with common walls (Figure 1). Like the heart, the double-acting bladder pump has separate elastomeric chambers walled off from each other by a central spine that incorporates fluid inlet and outlet valves. Coupled drive arms are used to actuate the pump. Energy recaptured from the recovery cycle of one chamber helps compress the other chamber. This bio-inspired technology provides an estimated 50 percent energy savings compared to analogous pumps currently used by GOJO, with potential for up to 80 percent energy savings when combined with optimized valves and product formulations.

GOJO Industries Comparative Case Study

The quantity and quality of intellectual property generated by the biomimicry project, in terms of both potential sustainable value and technological novelty, was impressive, especially given the low resource investment--just 165 total hours committed by internal personnel. In an effort to capture the extent of the advantages offered by biomimicry, we compared the biomimicry project's performance in terms of resource commitments and outcomes to a similar pump development project GOJO executed in 2010. The historical pump project had similar goals--to develop a low-cost, energy-efficient, smaller, and more easily recyclable pump than the existing model in the market--and a comparable scope to the biomimetic pump project. The key difference between the two projects was the approach to solution discovery in the fuzzy front end, regarded as one of the biggest opportunity areas for improving the innovation process (Koen et al. 2002). In the historical project, the front end process began with assessing the intellectual property (IP) landscape both within the industry (that is, peristaltic soap pumps) and in analogous industries (for instance, beverage dispensing technologies in the food industry). Patentable solutions were then generated by bridging gaps in existing IP and combining existing technologies in novel and useful ways. In comparison, the approach to solution discovery during the biomimicry project involved identifying relevant biological models and extracting design principles embodied by those models to use as ideation stimuli. The concepts based on those design principles were then screened for prior art.

Data for the quantitative comparison were collected by reviewing internal project documentation and crosschecking the currency and accuracy of those documents by interviewing employees who were involved in one or both projects. The results of our analysis suggest that biomimicry can be a much more efficient way to generate useable concepts in the early stages of product development. The biomimicry project required approximately one-sixth of the personnel and financial resources required by the historical project and produced double the intellectual property to reach the same stage of development as the historical project; the concepts resulting from the biomimicry project offered an estimated double to quadruple the energy savings of those emerging from the historical project, as well (Table 4). Additionally, a greater proportion of the concepts emerging from the biomimicry project converted from notices of invention to patent applications. (Two remaining notices of invention from the biomimicry project are still under consideration.) These preliminary data strongly suggest that biomimicry may offer real advantages in the front end of innovation, both for improved innovation performance and for improved sustainability.


IP landscaping, the solution discovery approach used in the historical project, was more time consuming than the biomimicry project, tended to produce more incremental designs, and did not integrate sustainability as closely in the concepts generated. The biomimicry approach, presumably because it used models of sustainable systems as sources of ideas, resulted in more sustainable, often more radical product concepts. IP landscaping can complement the application of biomimicry as a secondary validation step in the front end, but IP landscaping alone did not, in our cases, offer the same results as biomimicry.

Structured interviews with two engineers who participated in both the biomimicry and the historical project provided additional qualitative insights on the two processes. Both of the engineers interviewed are longtime employees with solid innovation track records (more than 70 patents between them). Their responses suggest that biomimicry significantly accelerated the front-end development process and improved the quality of the concepts emerging from it. Engineer One said, "The speed of coming up with new, innovative concepts increased dramatically with the biomimicry approach. Totally new concepts came out of that process versus concepts that had some nuance but weren't completely novel." Similarly, Engineer Two told us, "The resource drain [with the biomimicry project] was far less [than with a typical pump development project] ... The stimuli were completely different and allowed for completely unique ideas rather than building upon prior art." These remarks confirm empirical findings from other researchers (Wilson et al. 2010) that suggest that exposure to biological analogies during idea generation may increase the novelty of design ideas.

Their participation in the biomimicry project also had long-term implications for the engineers' approach to innovation. Asked what learnings from the biomimicry project they had carried forward in their work, the engineers offered detailed responses. Engineer One said that biomimicry "pushed us to look beyond the initial project scope and not just look at the pump technology but look at the overall system--the packaging, the actuation--in order to optimize the whole product. Looking at the overall system is something I've carried forward from that approach." Engineer Two focused on the efficiency of the approach, suggesting that when innovators "follow nature, nonobvious decisions are made obvious or more attainable. The [heart-inspired double-acting bladder pump] concept was remarkably simple, but would not have been obvious without using biomimicry. Biomimicry cuts down on the number of product innovation iterations we would typically go through."

Engineer One's response suggests that biomimicry encourages systems thinking. This makes intuitive sense, since biological systems tend to leverage low part-count, multifunctional designs (Baumeister 2014). These multifunctional biological mechanisms preclude innovators from considering one component of a system in isolation. Thus, biomimicry helps innovators understand and leverage the interdependencies of system components, as previous researchers have suggested (Seebode, Jeanrenaud, and Bessant 2012).

Further, our observations of project participants during workshops and of the engineers in the follow-up interviews suggest an additional hypothesis: that biomimicry is intrinsically motivating. Intrinsic motivation--defined as interest, enjoyment, and satisfaction in work itself--is positively correlated with higher levels of creativity (Hennessey and Amabile 2010). Verbal and nonverbal cues from participants in the biomimicry project (describing the work as "fun" and "cool," laughter, smiling, and attentive posture during the workshops) suggest they were highly engaged in the process, particularly during the reporting of the independently identified biological models. If this hypothesis can be backed by empirical data confirming that biomimicry is intrinsically motivating, and therefore heightens levels of creativity, the finding would be a powerful motivator for more widespread adoption of biomimicry in product development.


Biomimicry, as implemented at GOJO Industries, generally comprised five phases:

1. Problem definition

2. Specification of desired functions

3. Identification of biological models exemplifying desired functions

4. Extraction of design principles embodied by biological models

5. Ideation of biomimetic solutions using design principles as stimulus

This multiphase process is not intended to be prescriptive, but it does provide a malleable template other R&D managers may adapt to their own organizations and processes. Specifically, managers can find ways to integrate biomimicry with existing approaches to innovation in the front end, such as IP landscaping, to maximize return on investment. To implement the template effectively, managers will need to think in advance about how to address the breadth of potential biological models, the accessibility of biological literature, and the challenge of extracting well-formulated design principles.


Our study of GOJO's approach to biomimicry in the front end of innovation suggests the potential biomimicry may offer to accelerate solution discovery in the front end of innovation. It also suggests biomimicry's ability to drive environmentally sustainable innovation, a finding worth highlighting given the challenges currently faced by industry with regard to sustainability. A relationship between the thoughtful practice of biomimicry and generation of green product concepts makes intuitive sense, given that natural selection favors biological strategies fit for life on earth over the long haul.

Further work is warranted to determine how and to what extents our results are generally applicable. Even without that further research, however, this study stands as justification for R&D practitioners to try biomimicry in their organizations by illuminating its potential as a low-risk experiment with a potentially very high return on investment. In short, biomimicry is a highly promising approach meriting further investigation by R&D leaders and researchers alike.

The authors thank Nick Ciavarella and Jack McNulty for direct contribution to this research; Matthew Archer for figure illustration; and April Bertram, Steve Bromberg, Lynn DeLuca, Peter Niewiarowski, Dave Macinga, and Roberto Bellino for providing feedback on this manuscript.


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(1) We use the term sustainable value as it is defined by Laszlo (2008): sustainable value yields economic, social, and environmental gains for the enterprise and its stakeholders. It is about making business decisions that both benefit people and are nondestructive, and ideally that are supportive of the planetary ecosystem.

Emily Barbara Kennedy is a PhD candidate in integrated bioscience at the University of Akron whose research is focused on assisting innovators in exploring biology as a source of creative inspiration and a model for environmental sustainability. For her dissertation, she is generating and testing theories about biomimetic innovation and developing a reliable procedural template that can be implemented by business practitioners. Emily is a 2016 recipient of the Creativity Foundation Legacy Prize and a Eureka Ranch-certified Innovation Engineering Black Belt. Emily holds a BA in international relations with a minor in environmental studies from Colgate University,

Thomas Andrew Marting is the facilities and resources management director for GOJO Industries, a leading global producer of skin health and hygiene solutions. As such, he directs plant maintenance, safety, security, environmental compliance, and facilities construction activities for multiple manufacturing and distribution locations. Fie is also responsible for driving sustainability into the operation of those facilities and embedding sustainable value into the new product development process by applying eco-design tools, such as lifecycle assessment, chemical hazard assessments, and biomimicry. In 2015, he was recognized by the City of Akron, Summit County, and the Greater Akron Area Chamber of Commerce as a Summit of Sustainability Changemaker. Fie holds a BS in chemical engineering from Ohio University.

DOI: 10.1080/08956308.2016.1185342
TABLE 1. Frames of inquiry adopted by members of the product
development team to identify relevant biological models

Frame of Inquiry                     Assumption

Similar context: What bioloqical     Biological models inhabiting
models exist in a context similar    environments similar to the
to the problem context?              problem context will adopt
                                     strategies that may be relevant
                                     to the problem.

Extremes: What biological models     Biological models most challenged
deal with extreme versions of the    by the problem will embody the
problem?                             most robust strategies for
                                     addressing it.

Convergence: What biological         A strategy independently evolved
strategy for accomplishing the       in different contexts is likely
function of interest is used by      to be a beneficial approach.
many, distantly related species?

Stasis: What biological strategy     A strategy that has been
for accomplishing the function of    conserved through evolution is
interest has persisted over time?    likely to be effective and
                                     difficult for competitors to

Frame of Inquiry                     Resulting Focus

Similar context: What bioloqical     Models living in environments
models exist in a context similar    where there is persistent fluid
to the problem context?              movement (i.e., cilia lining
                                     Animalian breathing tubes, which
                                     move mucus from the lungs to the

Extremes: What biological models     Models living in regions with
deal with extreme versions of the    extremely high-volume fluid
problem?                             influx (i.e., sphagnum moss
                                     growing on the rainforest floor,
                                     which must manage high annual

Convergence: What biological         Winged flight, a fluid (air)
strategy for accomplishing the       passage strategy, independently
function of interest is used by      evolved by birds, bats, and
many, distantly related species?     insects

Stasis: What biological strategy     Underwater locomotion of the
for accomplishing the function of    chambered nautilus, a pelagic
interest has persisted over time?    marine mollusk that has remained
                                     morphologically constant for ~400
                                     million years

TABLE 2. A selection of biomimetic design principles relevant to the
fluid distribution/fluid transfer problem

Model          Biological Description

Vertebrate     Conducting arteries have elastic walls that expand to
arteries       accommodate blood pumped by the heart during systole
               and relax during diastole, propelling blood onward.
               The elasticity of artery walls dampens flow

Xylem in       Several synergistic mechanisms allow vascular plants
plants         to transport water against gravity: cohesion (the
               attractive force among water molecules) and adhesion
               (the attractive force between water molecules and the
               xylem walls) allow plants to draw water up from the
               root like a rope, and transpiration, vaporization, and
               release of water into the atmosphere at the leafs
               surface generate a pressure gradient that exerts an
               upward pull on the water column in the xylem channel.

Archerfish     The archerfish spits a jet of water to knock its
               insect prey into the water. Although the fish can
               exert a max force of 500 watts/kg, the jet strikes the
               prey with a force of 3,000 watts/kg due to
               Rayleigh-Plateau instability and kinematic gathering:
               the back end of the cylindrical jet moves towards the
               front end to form a compact globule, resulting in
               acceleration of the jet in the air.

Squid          A squid moves by enlarging the intake to its mantle
locomotion     cavity so that the cavity rapidly fills with water,
               then contracting the cavity, forcing water out a
               rear-facing funnel tube.

Rove beetles   To skim across water with speed, the semiaquatic rove
               beetle secretes a superhydrophobic substance that
               repels water, thereby propelling the beetle.

Cilia          Cilia are minute, hair-like organelles that beat in
               rhythmic waves, providing locomotion to ciliate
               protozoans and moving liquids along internal
               epithelial tissue in animals. The row stroke of a
               cilium is nonreciprocal, producing a net propulsive
               force in the wave direction.

Model          Design Principles

Vertebrate     * The wall of an elastic reservoir functions as an
arteries         energy capacitor when stretched.
               * Flow pulsatility is lessened in elastic pumps versus
                 rigid ones.

Xylem in       * Cohesive/adhesive fluids can be pulled upward
plants           through narrow tubes without breakage in the fluid
               * With other variables held constant, fluid moves from
                 regions of higher to lower pressure; given
                 sufficient pressure, this occurs even when that
                 movement opposes external forces like gravity.

Archerfish     * An elongated liquid that is in motion tends to amass
                 and accelerate due to surface tension.
               * Leveraging entropic forces moves fluids further and
                 faster with fewer initial energy inputs.

Squid          * The larger the flow area of an intake valve, the
locomotion       lower the pressure differential required to pull
                 fluid in to fill a cavity.

Rove beetles   * Significant force is generated when one material
                 comes in contact with another that repels it.

Cilia          * A flexible appendage with an optimized row stroke
                 can produce a net propulsive force.

TABLE 3. Potential sources of sustainable value in biomimicry-based
dispensing system technologies

                                       Environmental Sustainability
Technology           Inspiration       Material Optimization

Double-acting        Human heart       Parity with current solutions
bladder pump

Elastic bladder      Vertebrate        Reduced weight
dispenser            arteries          Reduced batteries

Pillow bag with      Squid             Reduced part count
integrated foam      locomotion

Pressurized,         Xylem in plants   Parity with current solutions
collapsible liquid

                     Environmental Sustainability Improvements

Technology           Energy Savings            Waste Reduction

Double-acting        Less energy used per      Parity with current
bladder pump         wash (energy of one       solutions
                     chamber recovering
                     helps compress
                     sympathetic chamber)

Elastic bladder      Less energy used per      Reduced weight
dispenser            wash (energy stored in    Reduced batteries
                     stretched bladder wall
                     used to eject product)

Pillow bag with      Parity with current       Reduced weight
integrated foam      solutions

Pressurized,         Less energy used per      Ejection of totality
collapsible liquid   wash (air pressure vs.    of product
container            mechanical force
                     facilitates collapse)

TABLE 4. Comparative resource commitments and outcomes, biomimicry
case vs. historical project

                 Biomimicry Project      Historical Project

Man Hours        285                     1620

Total Cost       $23,000                 $129,000
                 $13,000 Employee time   $100,000 Employee time
                 $10,000 Contracted      $29,000 Contracted
                 design services         design services

Notices of       6                       5

Patent           4                       2

Lead Concept     50%-80% *               20% **
Energy Savings

* engineering estimate

** prototype performance data
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Title Annotation:FEATURE ARTICLE
Author:Kennedy, Emily Barbara; Marting, Thomas Andrew
Publication:Research-Technology Management
Date:Jul 1, 2016
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