Naturalist Janine Benyus and design software firm Autodesk launched what they claim is the world’s first database of design ideas inspired by nature—AskNature.org. The free database is a public-domain online library where architects, designers, and engineers can search for and study nature’s solutions to design challenges, for example, how organisms filter air and water, gather solar energy, and create non-toxic dyes and glues. This nature-inspired design intelligence is being shared with companies around the world who are using biomimicry strategies to create the next generation of sustainable, efficient buildings, products, and designs.
According to Benyus, "Our goal is to connect innovative minds with life’s best ideas, and in the process, inspire technologies that create conditions conducive to life. To accomplish this, we’re doing something that has never been done—organizing the world’s biological literature by function. What you’ll see on the site today is a starter culture of ideas—biological blueprints and strategies, bio-inspired products and design sketches, and biomimics you can talk to and collaborate with. Over the next few months, this genetic pool of ideas will grow as we receive natural history information from our partner, Encyclopedia of Life. Our social web will also grow, beginning with tapping into thousands of solution seekers who are part of the Wiser Earth global network."