Function-Based Biologically Inspired Design

  • Jacquelyn K. S. Nagel
  • Robert B. Stone
  • Daniel A. McAdams


A “big picture” approach to a systematic, function-based (drawing from a Pahl and Beitz approach) biologically inspired design is presented in this chapter. The approach supports two different starting, or perhaps motivating, points: a customer need motivated product design and a biological system motivated product opportunity. Both approaches rely on a designer’s ability to create a functional model that either captures customer needs or represents the biological system of interest. This methodology relies directly on the designer’s ability to make connections between dissimilar domain information. Following presentation of the methodology are two validation approaches. One examines current biologically inspired products either in production or presented in the literature to demonstrate that the systematic design methodology for biologically inspired design can reproduce the existing design. The second validation exercise investigates three needs–based design problems that lead to plausible biologically inspired solutions.


Design methodology Framework Function-based design Systematic design Design tools Functional modeling Connections Analogies Sensor design Problem-driven approach Biology-driven approach Concept development 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacquelyn K. S. Nagel
    • 1
  • Robert B. Stone
    • 2
  • Daniel A. McAdams
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of EngineeringJames Madison UniversityHarrisonburgUSA
  2. 2.School of Mechanical Industrial and Manufacturing EngineeringOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  3. 3.Department of Mechanical EngineeringTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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