Introducing students to bio-inspiration and biomimetic design: a workshop experience

  • Carlo Santulli
  • Carla Langella


In recent years, bio-inspired approach to design has gained considerable interest between designers, engineers and end-users. However, there are difficulties in introducing bio-inspiration concepts in the university curriculum in that they involve multi-disciplinary work, which can only possibly be successfully delivered by a team with integrated competencies. The aim of this work is summarising the results of the first workshop on bio-inspired design carried out at the Hybrid Design Lab of Seconda Università di Napoli, involving Year 2 students of the BSc in Industrial Design. The common theme proposed for their projects was “Bio-inspired design of sport”. Ideally, a sport item would need to respond to a number of exigencies, including safety, comfort, zero-energy balance and/or use of renewable energy sources, multi-functionality. The common aim of the projects was investigating in which cases bio-inspiration can assist in the fulfilment of the above exigencies. The students were asked to present examples from nature and, via an abstraction process, to apply them to the design of sport items. Finally, they were required to clarify the nature and the extent of bio-inspiration in their projects. Some of the projects, which were considered more interesting and realisable, are reported and briefly commented, especially on the nature, extent and appropriateness of their bio-inspiration. A test for feedback has been given to the students, whose scope, structure and general outcome is also discussed.


Biomimetics Design workshop Bio-inspired design Materials selection 



The essential contribution of all the students of year 2 of the BSc in Industrial Design at SUN (Seconda Università di Napoli) is gratefully acknowledged, in particular S. Fedele and E. Franchini (ski boots), V. A. Viggiano, G. Signore, C. Letizia, and D. C. Fresegna (handball shoe), S. Castaniere, A. Giarletta, and F. Tarantino, V. Varriale (firefly), A. Russo, and D. Penna (general sport protection), C. Brunetti (rucksack + tent), S. Bellini (swimming sock), D. Dalia (surf shoe), F. Giaccio, L. Menditto, and A. Mozzillo (anti- perspirant). Some ideas for this work have also been inspired from the dissertation work of G. Crisci: her apport is here acknowledged as well.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Electrical Engineering DepartmentUniversità di Roma, La SapienzaRomeItaly
  2. 2.Seconda Università di Napoli (SUN) Facoltà di Architettura “Luigi Vanvitelli”Aversa (CE)Italy

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