International Bionic Award 2012

International Bionic Award 2012

Author: ChemViews

The International Bionic Award 2012 has been awarded to the team behind the development of Flectofin®. The team consists of six members who have worked on several projects together. They are:

  • Julian Lienhard, Ph.D. candidate in structural engineering,
    Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE), University of Stuttgart, Germany
  • Simon Schleicher, Ph.D candidate in architecture,
    Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE), University of Stuttgart, Germany,
  • Simon Poppinga, Ph.D. candidate in biology,
    Plant Biomechanics Group (PBG), Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg, Germany
  • Tom Masselter, postdoctoral researcher in biology,
    Plant Biomechanics Group (PBG), Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg, Germany
  • Lena Müller, processing technician in textiles,
    Institute of Textile Technology and Process Engineering ITV Denkendorf, Germany
  • Julian Sartori, processing technician in textiles,
    Institute of Textile Technology and Process Engineering ITV Denkendorf, Germany

The award is presented jointly by the VDI (Association of German Engineers) for outstanding scientific achievement in the field of biomimetic/bionic product development. It is endowed with €10,000 from the Schauenburg Foundation and is presented biannually to a young researcher or a team of young researchers.

The award ceremony took place during the 6th Bionic Congress ‘Patents from Nature’, 26–27 October, 2012, Hochschule Bremen, Germany.

Flectofin® is a biologically inspired, hinge-less flapping mechanism based on the Strelitzia flower (pictured), which opens its petals when a bird lands upon it. The team developed an abstracted model of the Strelitzia flower. The model revealed a coupled deformation that forms the basis of the flapping mechanism. In contrast to common kinetic structures which work on the basis of locally arranged hinged, jointed and angular connections, this biomimetic approach works on the basis of pliability in large surfaces. This enables a wide range of adaptation and the wear of material at joints and hinges to be avoided.


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