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Designs 2018, 2(4), 47;

Establishing Analogy Categories for Bio-Inspired Design

Department of Engineering, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, USA
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
This paper is an extended version of a paper published in the ASME 2015 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, IDETC/CIE 2015 held in Boston, Massachusetts, 2–5 August 2015.
Received: 28 September 2018 / Revised: 15 November 2018 / Accepted: 16 November 2018 / Published: 20 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Biologically Inspired Design)
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Biological systems have evolved over billions of years and cope with changing conditions through the adaptation of morphology, physiology, or behavior. Learning from these adaptations can inspire engineering innovation. Several bio-inspired design tools and methods prescribe the use of analogies, but lack details for the identification and application of promising analogies. Further, inexperienced designers tend to have a more difficult time recognizing or creating analogies from biological systems. This paper reviews biomimicry literature to establish analogy categories as a tool for knowledge transfer between biology and engineering to aid bio-inspired design that addresses the common issues. Two studies were performed with the analogy categories. A study of commercialized products verifies the set of categories, while a controlled design study demonstrates the utility of the categories. The results of both studies offer valuable information and insights into the complexity of analogical reasoning and transfer, as well as what leads to biological inspiration versus imitation. The influence on bio-inspired design pedagogy is also discussed. The breadth of the analogy categories is sufficient to capture the knowledge transferred from biology to engineering for bio-inspired design. The analogy categories are a design method independent tool and are applicable for professional product design, research, and teaching purposes. View Full-Text
Keywords: bio-inspired design; biomimicry; analogy; classification bio-inspired design; biomimicry; analogy; classification

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Nagel, J.K.; Schmidt, L.; Born, W. Establishing Analogy Categories for Bio-Inspired Design. Designs 2018, 2, 47.

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