‘Biotechnics’: Plants and animals as inventors
DOI link for ‘Biotechnics’: Plants and animals as inventors
‘Biotechnics’: Plants and animals as inventors book
We now come to a second way in which a biological or ‘organic’ method in design might seek to escape the problem of excessive time involved in mimicking the natural evolutionary process. This is to be found in the concept of ‘biotechnique’ or ‘biotechnics’, which attracted some interest amongst designers in the late 1920s and 1930s. In essence the proposal was this: that in the evolution of plants and animals, nature herself had already made a great variety of ‘inventions’, embodied in the designs of organs or in the adaptations of the limbs. These inventions solved in ingenious ways all kinds of functional and engineering problems – structural, mechanical, even chemical, and electrical. What was required was a diligent study of the engineering of nature, and man would find there the solution to all his technical needs; natural models requiring only to be copied in the design of machines or structures. In this way, instead of technological evolution needing to be highly time-consuming, it could ‘borrow’ the time already invested in the organic evolution of these natural counterparts to human artefacts.