2019-Youth biomimicry winners
If you’ve never heard of Hottentot bread and think it comes from a bakery, think again! It’s actually a plant in the yam family (Dioscorea elephantipes, also known as elephant’s foot) and the large underground tuber that inspired the middle school winners of the 2nd annual Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge (YDC). Team Futuristas, from Rhinebeck, NY, designed a permeable tile for courtyards to limit the amount of water pooling on the hardscape surface of a courtyard in their village.
At the high school level, the winning team, RHS Biomimicry, from Larkspur, CA, was inspired by the winged seeds of the Javan cucumber, Alsomitra macrocarpa. They devised a passive control system for tidal kites, a type of underwater energy generator. Other innovations honored in this year’s Challenge were inspired by the unique traits and strategies of hagfish slime, Namib beetles, oyster reefs, prairie dogs, and Saharan silver ants.