Development of an Ontology of Biomimetics Based on Altshuller’s Matrix

  • Julian VincentEmail author
  • Denis Cavallucci
Conference paper
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 541)


The discovery of novel solutions in engineering is critical for most industries. Largely inspired by TRIZ, practical solutions can be found beyond engineering. In the wider search, the tradition of looking to biology for solutions (biomimetics) is well founded but little exploited. It turns out to be a non-trivial exercise, requiring a bridge between largely descriptive biology (functioning primarily at the molecular level) and engineering which is predictable (but at a more statistical level). We propose that the bridge is best built at the level of design, more particularly in the behaviour of solving well-defined problems, an aspect at which TRIZ excels. We postulate that an ontology is an excellent medium for this bridge. The central theorem is that there is a finite number of design problems expressed as trade-offs (Altshuller’s Matrix) and that the same (or very similar) trade-offs can be identified in biology. The ontology enables the identification and alignment of these trade-offs, thus marrying a problem in engineering with its solution in biology and referential expression in a (possibly) novel engineering material, structure or device.


Ontology TRIZ Contradiction Biomimetics Trade-off 


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nature Inspired Manufacturing CentreHeriot-Watt UniversityEdinburghUK
  2. 2.CSIP @ ICube (UMR-CNRS 7357)Strasbourg CedexFrance

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