Introducing the 2020 Biomimicry Launchpad Virtual Showcase
The Biomimicry Institute invites you to meet the 2020 Launchpad teams and learn about their nature-inspired solutions addressing critical global challenges.
MISSOULA, MT — January 11, 2021 — In 2020, the Biomimicry Institute trained a 6th cohort of the Biomimicry Launchpad, providing 46 young innovators with the tools needed to bring their biomimetic designs to life. It is our pleasure to invite you to the Biomimicry Launchpad Virtual Showcase, a platform created to highlight the teams’ work and learnings throughout the course of this program.
The Launchpad incubator program offers leadership skills and entrepreneurial training to accelerate the development of tangible, regenerative solutions. Participants learn skills such as building a sustainable business ethos, rapid prototyping, and how to cultivate a strong team, in addition to traditional startup training.
The 10-week Virtual Program ran from September 14 through November 20, and it focused on biomimicry and sustainable business content and one-on-one startup coaching, as well as virtual prototyping and intellectual property workshops. As Launchpad alumni, participants will be continually presented with next-step opportunities available from our pipeline partners (a network of more than 50 accelerators and prize competitions).
Learn about the 10 teams that comprise the 2020 Launchpad cohort and their nature-inspired design solutions that address an array of critical global issues. The 2020 Launchpad cohort’s 46 young leaders were citizens from 13 countries, with more than 90% aged 30 and under, and nearly two-thirds women. From tackling air, water, and noise pollution to fostering resilient communities and food systems, each of these teams has addressed one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their pursuit of creating positive change.
Introducing the 2020 Launchpad teams:
ARCHI-Farmer — Increasing traffic noise and rising heat caused by climate change negatively affect the 55% of global population living in urban areas. Inspired by concave-eared torrent frogs, mimosa leaves, and desert snails, this team designed a sustainable and efficient noise proof and shading installation for buildings’ exterior walls. Their product, Sensitive Wall, solves urban noise and energy consumption problems. It is also an attractive and eco-friendly dynamic choice for architectural façade.
BottleBricks — BottleBricks were designed to address the growing problems of lack of adequate housing and poor (plastic) waste management at refugee centers in Greece. Inspired by the thermoregulation strategies of organisms living in harsh environments, the smart structure of this interlocking bottle system allows for waterproof and season-adaptable construction. BottleBricks bring a simple solution to a complex problem. Helping vulnerable people and benefiting the environment are their core values.
Eutrolife — It is estimated that the number of lakes with harmful algal blooms will increase by 20% globally by 2050, while more than 40% of the lakes and freshwater reservoirs in Latin America are in a eutrophic state. Mimicking the filtering functions of salps and devil rays, Eutrolife is a modular system, designed to treat eutrophic water bodies by filtering surface water and redistributing excess nutrients.
Methanolite — Human contributions to methane emissions often overwhelm natural methane sinks and contribute to the greenhouse gases that cause climate change. This team from the University of Calgary is working to tackle this problem head-on by emulating the way certain bacteria (methanotrophs) metabolize methane. Methanolite converts methane to methanol through the use of a zeolite catalyst without the emission of carbon dioxide.
MyOak Public Market — In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team that created MyOak Public Market asked how they could cultivate a more connected and responsive food system network to ensure food access during times of crisis. Inspired by the Chesapeake Forest in their own backyard, they designed a reciprocal online platform to increase food access for vulnerable populations as well as the economic potential of local food producers.
nutriBarrier — Agricultural runoff is a major source of excess nutrients in waterways that can lead to harmful algal blooms and oxygen depletion. nutriBarrier is designed to be deployed around crops to reduce this runoff while also ensuring a slow release of fertilizer. Made from materials inspired by the protective strategies of hagfish and frogs, this barrier can be woven around individual plants in a helix pattern, using materials economically while protecting and watering each plant.
Pranavayu — Mimicking the pointed structure of bee hairs and the electrostatic attraction of charged pollen grains to those hairs, Pranavayu is an air filtration system designed to improve the health and livelihoods of rickshaw drivers in Delhi, India. This filter’s electrostatically charged metal meshes are designed to optimize the capture of pollutants, allowing the driver to breathe clean air.
RICOCHET — The WHO associates ambient air pollution from fine particulate matter (PM2.5) with a broad spectrum of acute and chronic illness; and in 2016, it was responsible for 4.2 million deaths globally. RICOCHET aims to reduce PM2.5 by improving current particulate matter filters used on vehicles. With its manta-mimicking structure, RICOCHET resists clogging, consumes low energy, and possesses high filtering efficiency at the same time.
The SINC — Many communities in Northern Canada suffer from a lack of clean drinking water, and this issue of water insecurity disproportionately affects Indigenous Canadians. Inspired by the countercurrent heat exchange system found in trout and the beard lichen’s water collection process, the SINC (Sustainable Ice Nucleation Contraption) is an outdoor water collection system designed for northern communities affected by water scarcity.
Swadaroo — Swadaroo is developing textiles for the 21st century. Building on an initial idea of a swaddling pouch for newborns, they are testing how composite materials perform together. Inspired by a kangaroo’s pouch that secretes antimicrobial agents, has insulating fur, and a thermally regulating vasculature, Swadaroo aims to reveal novel apparel, public health, and construction applications.
Access the Virtual Showcase to view their Pitch Decks, Executive Summaries, and watch a short video from each team. If you would like to provide feedback or meet any of the teams, or discuss the Biomimicry Launchpad program, please contact Michelle Graves. For more information about all the programs and news from the Biomimicry Institute, visit biomimicry.org.
About the Biomimicry Institute
The Biomimicry Institute is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded in 2006 that empowers people to seek nature-inspired solutions for a healthy planet. To advance the solution process, the Institute offers AskNature.org, a free online tool that contains strategies found in nature and examples of ways they are used in design. It also hosts a Biomimicry Global Design Challenge and Youth Design Challenge to support project-based education; a Biomimicry Launchpad startup accelerator program; a Ray of Hope Prize® for developing companies to bring designs to market; and a Biomimicry Global Network that connects innovators across the world.
Biomimicry Institute, Communications Director
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