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  • Writer's pictureSarah Hashiguchi

My Fifth BCI Session – Ideas From Nature, Round 2

10/03/2021 – My Backyard in Portland, OR

Local Conditions

I completed this BCI session in the evening, and noticed the fading light more acutely than ever. The temperature felt warm as I initially sat down in the dappled sun light that filtered through the bamboo, however, night approached quickly as dusk fell and cold air settled in around me.

Focus & Intent

For this fifth BCI session, I again drew inspiration from the functions and strategies of living beings to use towards solving my design challenges, but this time I had the freedom to imagine creatures beyond the scope of my immediate space

Session Reflection

I began my BCI session right when I got home from teaching my weekly Sunday evening yoga class. I felt calm and at peace with the world. Rather than my mind racing with "Sunday scaries", I had come to terms with the fact that whatever will be will be. My being felt content and limber. The evening was unusually still. I found myself expecting to hear birds. Searching for patterns that I'd noticed before. But the world was quiet. After a while I did notice a grunting noise coming from my neighbor's yard and a shuttering noise from the fence as something rubbed against it. It took me a second to remember that my neighbors brought home two pigs this weekend and one of them must be cruising the fence line, itching itself on the posts along the way. When I opened my eyes, I noticed a shadow on the other side of the fence meandering at a casual pace. I realized how green our grass had gotten in the last week with day after day of rain for the first time all summer. I proudly took in the new view of our freshly trimmed bamboo that had previously been out of hand prior to this weekend.

Here are some organisms with relevant functions for my design challenges:

  1. Saharan silver ant – prismatic hairs regulate body temp

  2. Cacti – ridges create shade and prevent sun damage

  3. Tree bark – texture creates shade and prevents sun damage

  4. Spittle bug – recycles grass sap and creates efficiently packed bubbles

  5. Tetradecahedral-shaped cells – efficiently pack together and maintain structural integrity

  6. Sunflower – uses Fibonacci sequence to pack seeds most efficiently

  7. Orb-weaving spider – reuses silk for new web everyday

  8. Hermit crab – reuse found materials (shells) and effectively communicate with others to share saving time and energy

  9. Giant groundsel – recycles old leaves to provide new energy

  10. Clark's nutcracker – pouch stores seeds

  11. Chipmunk – cheeks store seeds

  12. Mining bees – carry variously-sized pollen

  13. Bees and wasps – honeycomb structure is space-efficient and strong

  14. Lemon – looped network optimizes water and nutrient flow

  15. Gaboon adder – scale microstructures reduce reflection

  16. Rock ant – colonies respond quickly to distribute food

  17. Camel – stays cool do to

  18. Corgis – their coats keep them cool in the

  19. Cow – re-chews cud, is extremely efficient with its nutrients

  20. Arctic fox – change color of coat based on season (for camouflage, but changing color could be used to reflect or absorb heat)

  21. Dogs – pant to stay cool

  22. Elephants – take dust baths to stay cool

  23. Chimpanzees – efficiently use materials, create tools out of sticks

  24. Rabbits – radiate heat from ears

  25. Pack rats – store items

  26. Beetles – reflect light (heat)

  27. Frogs – lay groups of eggs that fit together in large masses without any gaps

  28. Humans – jump in pools/natural water sources/showers to cool down quickly

  29. Flowers – can grow tightly together to protect from damage when it's windy

  30. Birds – line nests with protective materials to protect eggs

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