WIT Press

Biomimetics As Problem-solving, Creativity And Innovation Tool In A First Year Engineering Design And Communication Course


Free (open access)





Page Range

59 - 67




2,250 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


M. J. Eggermont


Engineering sketching, as taught in our first-year design course, exists somewhere between writing and formal drawing as a means of formulating ideas. In our third year of teaching engineering sketching assignments were given several additional components: the visualization of engineering concepts, sustainable product design and biomimetics. This was done for a number of reasons: Students were given the opportunity to integrate knowledge from other first year engineering courses; Students who were not necessarily strong artists felt they could make up for this in the ‘additional component’ category; First year students seem to have a great interest in the study of structural biology as it applies to engineering design. Now in our sixth year, this paper discusses biomimetics, the abstraction of good design from nature or the transfer of technological ideas from nature to artificial applications and the resulting student projects. In our current political environment of sustainable design and sustainable design solutions (even ‘ecofriendly fire’), biomimetics offers an interesting approach to design. This multidisciplinary approach impresses upon novice designers the importance of teamwork; it also explores a topic that lends itself easily to be co-taught across faculties. Students use engineering sketching and the latest biomimetic research to come up with solutions for everyday activities, objects and environments. This paper will also discuss some of the many designs that have resulted from these projects. Keywords: biomimetics, engineering design, problem-solving, innovation, creativity, drawing.


biomimetics, engineering design, problem-solving, innovation, creativity, drawing.