Design and technology

30th May 2003 at 01:00
Designers are keen to harness nature to improve design. This kind of designing is called biomimetic. A well-known example is Velcro, invented by George de Mestral in 1948 when he noticed that his dog's coat was covered with burs. He realised that two synthetic materials, one with loops and the other with hooks, would link mechanically to form a strong bond. What other biomimetic designs can your students spot in their domestic landscape? Rather than trying to design something in this way I would ask students to imagine they are an octopus with those qualities of fitting into small spaces. Then consider how this would affect crime, especially burglary.

Make a list of redesigns that might be needed to prevent crime - eg the letterbox - and how would it need to be redesigned?

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