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San Diego Zoo Biomimicry
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CalendarMark Your

February 23, 2012
Economic Outlook Forum | Point Loma Nazarene University

February 29, 2012
Biomimicry/Bioinspiration: A Novel Activity to Further Conservation Involving Engineers, Business, and San Diego Zoo Global | Webinar

March 12, 2012
SPIE Smart Structures and Materials | San Diego Zoo Global Plenary Session

March 28, 2012
Bioinspiration: A Novel Activity to Engage Students in Creativity and STEM | Webinar 

June 24-28, 2012
IEEE BioRob 2012, IEEE International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics

microscope New and

Engineers find inspiration for new materials in piranha-proof armor of Arapaima | UCSD News Center

Wyss research takes cue from insect cuticles to create tough, low-cost, biodegradable material | Harvard Gazette

Leaping lizards and dinosaurs show robots the value of a tail | UC Berkeley News Center


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San Diego Zoo Global 

Winter 2012 Newsletter

Bioinspired in 2012

On behalf of San Diego Zoo Global Biomimicry we extend our sincerest gratitude to everyone who followed and supported our efforts in 2011. The year saw a successful set of public receptions highlighting regional growth in research inspired by nature. In April, an audience of 300 gathered at the Zoo for the biennial Biomimicry Conference: Nature, Innovation and the New Economy. Highlights included keynote speakers from Nike, IDEO, BBC, and UC Berkeley; biomimicry-themed bus tours of the San Diego Zoo; and panels discussing local, national, and international progress in the emerging field. Biomimicry education programs blossomed as well, with a pilot middle school outreach program now underway. The network of bioinspired practitioners continues to grow as we learn more from organizations, industry leaders, and research institutions around the world. As 2012 unfolds, our areas of corporate bioinspired innovation workshops, K-12 education, and collaboration with Biomimicry BRIDGE are set to grow. Stay tuned for updates both in these newsletters and on our website.

Biomimicry Webinars

JDBWe are excited to announce two upcoming webinars presented by San Diego Zoo Global. The first webinar, on Februarary 29, will be presented by Dr. James Danoff-Burg, Director of Conservation Education at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, who will present an overview of bioinspiration including past successes and how conservation may benefit from the involvement of engineers and industry. Dr. Danoff-Burg will take participants on an insect adaptation tour, providing examples of how the natural world can inspire engineering. 


SunniThe second webinar, on March 28, will be presented by Sunni Robertson, Educator Lead at the San Diego Zoo. Sunni will provide insights into how we introduce students to the concept of biomimicry, or bioinspiration, through a variety of education programs. She will also describe how we work with students to foster creativity and critical thinking in new and innovative ways. 

Bioinspiration in Education

On February 7-8, San Diego Zoo Global Biomimicry participated as an exhibitor in the High Tech Fair, an annual collaboration between the San Diego Science Alliance, the San Diego County Office of Education, and San Diego City Schools to bring dozens of exhibitors and hundreds of students to the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The High Tech Fair charter is to enlighten 7th-12th grade students to the world of science and the possibilities of a scientific career.


Dena HTFOur booth featured a wide scope of existing bioinspired technologies, highlighting that inspiration from nature can be applied in almost any industry. Students experienced a first-hand demonstration of Sto Corp.'s lotus-inspired paint, Lotusan, by observing how water droplets form on both the surface of lotus leaves and the Lotusan paint surface. 

Bioinspired Corporate Innovation Workshops
Discover. Experience. Explore.

Learn how nature can inspire solutions to your design and product challenges. Customizable workshops provide unique experiences with San Diego Zoo Global experts and the world's largest collection of plants and animals. Workshops are offered in tiered packages - from introductory to focused innovation, framed by how nature would address a challenge. San Diego Zoo Global, which encompasses the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, and Institute for Conservation Research, offers unparalleled facilities to introduce biomimicry in an interactive and multi-sensory way. Contact us for additional information and to create a tailored program to assist in your design challenge.

Nike group Nike with plants P&G Rhino

Seeds Make The World Go Round
Seth Menser, Horticulturalist

FigIf you want something to go somewhere, wrap it in a delicious package. That is exactly what fruit does. The fruit attracts animals to take it off to another part of the forest with the seeds inside where they can be tossed aside to germinate. That is the tastiest method of seed dispersal, but many others exist. Take, for example, seeds that have barbs or hooks. They attach to a passing animal and get a free ride for a distance and fall off. Nuts are often collected by squirrels and buried, later to be forgotten about and so become trees. Winged seeds use propeller-like motion to glide away from their parent plant. And even some seed pods explode when touched by raindrops, sending their seeds a good distance away! Read more.

San Diego Zoo
P.O. Box 120551
San Diego, CA 92112-0551
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