Museum Exhibition Explores Innovations Inspired by Nature

Biomimicry means to imitate nature. When applied to human innovations, the first question designers ask is, “What would nature do?” This is not a novel idea. Leonardo Da Vinci studied bird and bat wings to design a human-powered ornithopter, and his idea for a parachute originated while watching seeds and flowers falling from a tree. Visitors to the High Desert Museum can explore the fascinating influence of biomimicry in modern designs through a new exhibition. Innovation Lab: Designs Inspired by Nature is set to open Saturday, September 2.

“Learning from and duplicating natural forms, processes and ecosystems, engineers and designers are taking advantage of nature’s R&D (research and development) lab that has tested these concepts over millions of years,” said the Museum’s Executive Director Dana Whitelaw, Ph.D. “This exhibition includes many STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) components to inspire and engage audiences of all ages.”

Biomimicry (from bios, meaning “life,” and mimesis, meaning “to imitate”) is the practice of looking to and emulating nature for solutions to human problems. Bird wings, beehives and prairie ecosystems have inspired designs that enable faster travel, safer buildings and more sustainable farming practices, respectively. The exhibition features information panels, displays and interactive stations. Visitors can tinker with how a suspension bridge mimics the strength of a spider web, see how a pit viper’s thermal imaging can be incorporated into commercial or industrial purposes or create a nature-inspired design of their own. Innovation Lab: Design Inspired by Nature runs from September 2 through February 17, 2018.

For more information, visit the Museum’s website or call 541-382-4754 ext. 241.

Innovation Lab: Design Inspired by Nature is made possible by Bend Research, a Division of Capsugel, and with support from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation.

THE HIGH DESERT MUSEUM opened in 1982 and brings regional wildlife, culture, art and natural resources together to promote an understanding of the natural and cultural heritage of North America’s high desert country. The Museum uses indoor and outdoor exhibits, wildlife in natural habitats, and living history demonstrations to help people discover and appreciate the high desert environment. The Museum is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is a Smithsonian Affiliate.

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