Digital Biomimetics

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20.316 Digital Biomimetics: Sustainable Materials and Manufacturing


Stylianos Dritsas
Javier G. Fernandez

Students Involved

Benjamin Ng
Caleb Ng
Jishna Bole
Mervin Ng
Phoebe Phyu
Tay Zi Hang
Lim Jie Hong
Loo Jun Wen
Quek Wen Jia
Ryan Teo
Jun Yan
Tan Hui Yin

About The Project

Digital Biomimetics is a course offered to approximately 40 undergraduate students, 20 from ASD and 20 from EPD, every year. It is a 7th (BSci) and 9th (MArch) term vertical elective course. The course approaches design thinking bottom-up from the perspective of experimental materials and fabrication design. Digital Biomimetics is a project-based learning module with methodology from architecture, engineering and material science.

Materials and Robots

The first iteration of the course introduced students to biological materials and focused on chitin study. Chitin is one of the most abundant bio-molecule present in the shell of insects and arthropods. It is a natural adhesive binder with structural characteristics. The manufacturing background focused on additive manufacturing via robotic positioning and material extrusion, binder jetting and direct ink writing principles.

The thematic of the initial offer of the course targeted the subject of urban waste. Organic urban waste is one of the most rapidly rising segment of refuse production in cities around the world and one that is most difficult to reclaim. It is a major environmental challenges which is bound to be amplified as the world population is moving towards living in ever more populated cities.

Students were motivated to consider waste valorization strategies, manufacturing with material byproducts and design artifacts based on urban waste. In this sense the course aimed at approaching circular models of production and consumption.

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