Biomimicry Design Challenge Seeking Climate Change Solutions

Missoula, MT, June 27, 2018-A tidal energy harvester inspired by the human heart. A soil erosion solution that mimics a kingfisher’s eyelid. A mosquito-control device that functions like carnivorous plants. These technologies are among the winners in a global competition that asks innovators to create radically sustainable climate change solutions inspired by the natural world.

Over 60 teams from 16 countries entered the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, submitting nature-inspired inventions to reverse, mitigate, or adapt to climate change. Finalist teams receive cash prizes and an invitation to the 2018-2019 Biomimicry Launchpad, an accelerator that supports the path to commercialization and the potential to win the $100,000 Ray C. Anderson Foundation Ray of Hope Prize.

”Nature’s blueprints are inspiring breakthroughs that change the way we think about innovation,” said John Lanier, executive director of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, a major funder of the Challenge. “Reversing climate change means more than solar panels and wind turbines; it means reimagining everything, and after three years of working with teams in this Challenge, we are convinced biomimicry is the future of design.”

The Biomimicry Institute’s Biomimicry Global Design Challenge invites innovators to learn how to use biomimicry-the process of looking to nature for design inspiration-to develop solutions to climate change. Biomimicry is a proven method for creating breakthrough sustainable solutions, and nature offers us time-tested strategies that can be applied to climate change design issues in areas like energy, water, transportation, buildings and infrastructure, food systems, health, and more. The Challenge provides an opportunity to learn biomimicry by applying it in action to pressing environmental issues, and the chance to bring solutions closer to market in the Biomimicry Launchpad.

“I think we all remember being a kid, playing outside and discovering something amazing, like the way a roly poly pill bug contracts or how fireflies were the original twinkle lights,” said Beth Rattner, the Biomimicry Institute’s executive director. “Most of us thought, ‘One day, I’ll invent something that works like that.’ Most of us got sidetracked, but these teams followed that dream.”

The Ray of Hope Prize honors the legacy of Interface Founder Ray C. Anderson, who funded the Foundation upon his passing in 2011. Anderson was famously inspired by radical new approaches to centuries-old design and manufacturing techniques, and sought them out when rethinking his $1 billion global carpet tile company’s products and processes. The Ray C. Anderson Foundation has supported the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge since 2014. Each year, the Institute and Foundation award the $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize to the most viable prototype that embodies the radical sustainability principles of biomimicry.

A new round of the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge will open in September 2018, providing a new opportunity for teams to learn about biomimicry, develop climate change solutions, and compete for a spot in the Launchpad and the $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize. Learn more about the challenge at challenge.biomimicry.org.


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