Bioinspired design, the use of nature to inspire solutions to engineering problems, is a powerful approach for innovation but is generally practiced on an ad hoc basis. Only recently, however, have researchers sought to develop formal tools and principles to effectively tap the wealth of design solutions found within nature. Research efforts in applying design tools such as the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ), functional modeling, and keyword searches to bioinspired design are summarized in this paper. The efforts to develop effective tools to search biological information for design inspiration are also discussed. This paper presents a case study where BioTRIZ, functional modeling, and bio-keyword searches were taught in a weekend-long workshop to working professionals in the process of obtaining their graduate degrees. The students were then given a project to re-engineer a product using the bioinspired methods. An analysis of their reports is given that discusses student success in implementing bioinspired design methods and student feedback on the methods.

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