Dario's Lab

Marvelling at the Commonplace in Nature

Familiar elements of our environment often reveal, on close inspection, insights that can inform us when designing machines intended to perform in similar circumstances. Where designers have the ability to start from scratch, cumulatively selected natural structures show how an efficient arrangement can emerge from an arbitrary starting point, with a limited ‘kit of parts’. In both cases, constraints of material properties and processes influence the final shape and arrangement. In order to innovate, we must have a clear understanding of the desired outcome, and up-to-date knowledge of material properties. Looking to nature and understanding how sometimes subtle characteristics influence functionality can yield valuable lessons.

In case you are not up to speed with certain terms specific to aircraft and boat geometry, you can refer to a helpful glossary here https://www.grc.nasa.gov/www/k-12/airplane/geom.html