Podcast Saint-Gobain – “La révolution biomimétique aura-t-elle lieu ?”

Podcast Saint-Gobain – “La révolution biomimétique aura-t-elle lieu ?”


“The hidden power of materials”, a
Saint-Gobain podcast. ANIM: Welcome everyone to “The Hidden Power of Materials”, the podcast exploring the future of materials. In
this episode we are interested in biomimicry a notion popularized at the
end of the 90s by the American biologist Janine Benyus, which consists of
taking Nature as a model and imitating it in order to develop new
scientific and technologic innovations. Since indeed for 3.8 billion years animals, plants or bacterias, in short,
our entire biosphere has never stopped deploy adaptation strategies
and optimization to survive. In other words, biomimicry seeks in
somehow to grasp the world of living as a huge catalog of
solutions for humans. If the term “biomimicry” is recent,
this philosophy has existed since much longer, as evidenced
in particular: the ornithopter an invention signed Léonard de Vinci is inspired by
bat wings. Léonard de Vinci who, from the 15th century,
said: “Go take your lessons in nature this is where our
future is.” So certainly, biomimicry is an approach that applies to various
fields of activity whether it’s the textile, mobility, construction or
medicine but in this podcast Obviously, we will be more interested
precisely into bio-inspired materials. It is indeed to biomimicry that we
owe several innovations in the materials: adhesive tape
inspired by the hairs of the gecko’s legs reptile, self-cleaning glasses inspired by
hydrophobic lotus leaves, Velcro inspired by Burdock flower or
some cements inspired by coral reefs, to name a few
examples. So far except for a few
exceptions, biomimicry was like a somewhat science
utopian and therefore marginal, confined to research laboratories and
development and prototyping stage, but today the ecological challenge
seems fold the cards in a context of
scarcity of natural resources and energy saving biomimicry
could do well in producing more applications
respectful of the environment. But will the biomimetic revolution really take place? And if so to which conditions?
And it is precisely this question that we will ask our guests in
studio that I have the pleasure to have by my side: Laura Magro, hello! LAURA.M: Hello. ANIM: You are the deputy director in charge of scientific development at the CEEBIOS,
the European Center of Excellence in biomimicry of Senlis in the Oise which
works in particular for a better taking into account the approach
biomimetic in research, in the industries and in instances
policies. Tarik Chekchak, welcome to you. TARIK.C: Thank you, hello! After working in the
Cousteau Society, you are now the director of the biomimicry division at
l’Institut des Futurs Souhaitables a establishment located in Paris which offers
informed training and conferences Prospective.
Thanks to both of you for accepting our invitation. So in this episode,
the idea is good to project yourself into a more or less near future at 30 or 50
years, let’s admit and imagine so what could be the biomimetic revolution
applied to the materials of tomorrow, that is to say a world where all our materials would have functions or organizations directly inspired by
living. So just before you start, tackle the heart of the matter, I would like to
just understand one thing that intrigues me since I’ve been interested in the
subject I feel like in the Western culture, we tend to rediscover today the virtues of nature towards alpha
and omega, while elsewhere in the world, some populations are still inspired. How to explain that
Westerners have turned away from the nature for so long and that’s
return today on the agenda? Tarik
Chekchak? TARIK.C: Then maybe I will be pretentious in saying that I already have the
answers to all these questions important that I also ask myself
maybe just a few leads. he is certain that
Descartes’ philosophy has brought us a lot of benefits in terms of
scientific methods but well even if we go back a little further before Descartes, even the ancient philosophers still had some
tendency to distinguish logos on one side and then the nature where we try to
find patterns but we are wary a little bit the way chaos
could possibly arise. And so at the time of maps we had we had
still an extremely strong moment. We’ve locked this vision a little bit
of the world the “logos” the human, the Man and the other
side machine nature. comes then the top, the revolutions
industrial a very vision mechanics of nature. Moreover
even the metaphors of the time had a lot to do with steam, flows
and we actually see when, as and when as our technologies have
deployed we finally have a mode of representation of nature which was a
little in agreement with what we are in currently doing. And finally we come
a little bit at that time, our time which is a fascinating time by well
some worrying aspects too, not bad even and fascinating too, at the limit
of those of this very worldview mechanics is very in silo it is
to say that to understand everything you have to that I understand the parts: it got us
building permits, that allowed us lots of technologies. he
seems that currently the solutions among others from the 19th and 20th century
become problems of the 21st. LAURA MAGRO: Yes of course, the living
this complexity and diversity that can be a little scary at
departure, which is difficult to grasp but nevertheless it is the fact of having
this very systemic vision and of take the issues into their
together that is actually going to be carrier of innovative solutions
today. So I agree with everything actually Tarik with this vision of … here,
understand parties or functions one by one and the need today to
pick up a lot more in his together and this is where the living
becomes particularly relevant. ANIM: So precisely so that we understand
well what we are talking about in this podcast: what are the promises of materials
biomimetic versus materials traditional? LAURA.M: So we can come back
on the extraordinary properties of biological materials
if we take a little bit of the notebook charges of these living materials,
with really the science eye of materials focused on the living. We have
materials that are from compounds abundant atomic so we have carbon, hydrogen and oxygen from the nitrogen behind almost all of these
materials some structures also mineralized. And in fact they are going
to be highly organized and ultimately to from some basic bricks
we will be able to deploy extremely extensive mechanical properties
functional properties too where backwards, or vice versa in
industry we have a catalog of raw material which is huge but
little structure of the material. So that is really going to be this change of
paradigm between a catalog of materials raw which gets reduced for reasons
ecological we see it well we need to … to exploit resources
renewable and therefore it restricts completely the field of possibilities.
And also on questions of end of life of materials,
ability to recycle, reuse, put back in a loop, we need to go to
this paradigm shift. TARIK.C: So it’s very
important maybe to go back to the definition you gave at the start
resignation. Indeed, bio inspiration is
as old as mankind, probably … there there was Leonardo da Vinci, there were plenty
other great thinkers who have interested in nature. And you quoted
Janine Benyus’s name on the other hand is she the first who posed the intention
trying to sort out by doing major challenges of the transition
ecological of sustainable development. So that, on the other hand, is new. And the
biomimicry there is a standard now which was … which is an experimental standard “ISO” then now “AFNOR” which poses this intention at the heart of the approach. So if
we don’t do eco-design, little step by step, we see according to
what we can do, we are not in biomimicry: we are
in something else. This is important to make it clear to your listeners. What said
Laura is extremely important because what does that mean on the scale
materials so make eco design as nature did
for 3.8 billion years? It means making pressure
room temperature, that means take water as a universal solvent and
not toxic solvents and high temperatures … high temperature
pressure is our industry, the most of our industry works like this. It also means as
says Laura: ecotoxicity, that is to say, there may be poisons in the
alive but they are still biodegradable. It means that waste becomes
resource with few exceptions near. Always for someone else
the waste in question becomes a resource and that also means the
multifunctionality. So it’s very very very rare that we have living materials that are simply a function. ANIM: Exactly, let’s go back to the properties of biomimetic materials that we could think of self assembly, self repair, we
is something on … We loop in closed circuit, is that it?
LAURA.M: Precisely to come back to the multifunctionality, we had in the
past the examples of materials fascinating organic like silk
spider for example where finally it is a unique property which is
particularly exacerbated. What we see today how is nature
solves compromises and therefore to have materials that are both this and at
both this so we have for example a acre which both extremely
resistant yet has its factories to 95% chalk, so this is who we are
able to break, because she is structured we get to have a material
extremely resistant. But today beyond the few champions that we
we know we have other things too more fascinating. So both by
example, a jellyfish gel when we have discovered that an ability to capture a
nanoparticle and therefore have a depolluting function in water. There is
researchers today who have discovered this property of this
secretion of jellyfish and replicating by creating a new gel that has its
properties there for example. We’re going to have obviously mechanical functions,
thermal, self-healing, co2 sequestration too, we see that
all mineralized structures have tendency to store co2. So we
manufactures structural materials in reducing emissions. So here …
the construction field, it will also be a possibility. ANIM: So what finally the terms of revolution
biomimetic overlaps at the bottom? Will it be rather the discovery of new materials, new new materials? Or will it be rather the fact of
endow existing materials that know, that we use today: two
new functions inspired by natural mechanisms? TARIK.C: So already, I like
well the term “evolution” rather than “revolution” because it also reminds the evolution of nature since … since
the billions of years, the millions of million years for some species
who are always with us. So of course, there are a lot of promises, there are
also some concerns on my part and from a lot of people who
are working with this intention of facilitate ecological transition. It is
that we reinvent the old world by inspired by nature and still helping to destroy it as we did in the 19th, 20th and early
20th century and we continue to do so. So if there is a stake in my
extremely strong opinion, it’s good to understand the specifications
emerge in living materials for 3.8 billion years of his mistakes, a little bit what I shared just now with you. For me, it’s
that’s the stake, everything else will only be the reorganization of the old world which
will help destroy at the other end of the world where close to home: our
atmosphere, our hydrosphere, our forests. So we are really in a … Once that arose … there is a promise which is really
hyper hyper strong, it is to say that when we see the skins, the feathers, the
musks, all kinds of living materials who are capable of having properties
that we are not even capable yet technologically to imitate: it’s not
an imaginary restriction and that’s not a capacity restriction that
to try to imitate them. We are not yet able to do this
that the abalone is able to do in terms of ceramic. We are still
able to do what silk spider is able to do in terms of
elastic and resistant thread at the same time. So there are indeed
technologies that allow us now to have a level of analysis
pretty extremely thin that you couldn’t not have elsewhere but also
manufacturing methods like 3d printing for example which we
opens a new field. ANIM: So a priori, these will be new original materials. LAURA.M: Beyond that for me the real “evolution” or “revolution” as expected
it will be on processes more relevant.
It will result in functions or major issues but for me really
this notion of process, process that goes to be super important.
We see for example nanostructures, that it is good historically the
lotus leaf, more recently perhaps the powder * which has an antibacterial property, the wings of cicadas also have this antibacterial property. We are full other surface properties by the
nanotexturing. Today, the nanotexturing, we don’t know how to do it
on an industrial scale and so clean, while the living know very
very well do that. And so once that we triggered the fact that we
happen to produce more clean by its processes, we open
actually this ownership field of functional materials, new
uses, but there it is … there is a key issue in terms of resources and energy which
is about the process. And that’s really what we have to
ability to leverage. ANIM: Tarik Chekchak, what role can the printer play
3D, even 4D, in this revolution or biomimetic evolution? TARIK.C: In fact we are
still a lot in our processes manufacturers under the mold paradigm,
that is to say, we pour matter into a form and the living has an additive manufacturing therefore very close to what we’re trying to do with
3D printers. Add to that there is, when we talk
3D or even 4D printers now … 4D i.e. the materials are capable of evolving over time.
Their characteristics, their functions are capable of evolving over time.
You actually have an ability to do which is fairly emerging.
I dare imagine that as it happened for personal computing,
we will have in the next decades of far more capabilities
interesting in terms of 3D printing. There are already enough things
impressive coming out in mainly laboratories … or
FabLabs! I think from the moment where we will master at different levels
of scale this ability to do the additive manufacturing, so we can
very finely structure the materials as the living is capable probably
to do so in any case close to what the living unable to do. ANIM: Laura Magro? Do you want to add something? LAURA.M: Yes, often we have this image in biomimicry in terms of … in our industrial sector we consume material
and energy abundantly but very very little information has
finally been changed, we’re in something very standardized where living things are a little tailor-made so make the most of all the information
available to reduce quantity of energy and raw materials which
is going to be used. And that’s really what allows 3D printing, this notion of
tailor-made: I deposit the material where it depending on the constraints …
whether mechanical or functional. So there you go! Change this notion of
consumption, matter and energy versus consumption of information for
optimize the materials of tomorrow. ANIM: So talk about revolution today biomimetic or biomimetic evolution, in your opinion, does that still fall under
of the doctrine paradigm or even the fantasy and science fiction? I do not know ? Where is it is truly a prophecy
inevitable? And if so, when? TARIK.C: When we take the example of glass … You were kind enough to give me a glass with water in it
studio. Currently, to manufacture this glass we need more than 1000 ° C
… 1200 ° C. And a sponge or even a tiny alga makes a silica glass skeleton extremely fine at room temperature
in water using silica dissolved in water. So we pass the fire
in the water, is it possible, we humans, to imitate that in your opinion? Well
Yes it’s possible ! Jacques Livage, Clément Sanchez did it in France … at the Collège de France, gel process, fire is replaced by water. Therefore
you see there is a huge promise, in fact, optimization if any
keep a systemic vision that not fall back into a silo vision.
Because if it’s to do that well laboratory but it depends on
extraction methods or of uses that can cause
other cascading consequences, so at then we fall back into the same
through. But yes, there is a real promise, I don’t
don’t know if there’s a prophecy to be made, I’m still a little wary of
prophecies. However, the promise is there. If we apply our
great human intelligence we got self-proclaimed “Homo sapiens sapiens”
doubly intelligent to understand also the form of intelligence whatever
part that emerges from these “trial-and-error” for billions of years and who
also releases a specification for this what technologies should be
conducive to life on Earth. ANIM: Laura Magro? LAURA.M: Yes I think
that indeed there are in our laboratories today skills
incredible on this subject materials bio-inspired which are to federate. And so
today they are not necessarily yet visible under this name because
that it requires a lot of multidisciplinary.
It fits in no box so there is a need to create this new box.
But if we look a little bit with our neighbors: the Germans
have been investing for 15/20 years in major applied research centers and
basic research on bio-inspired materials.
There are 3 major centers that have been funded to the tune of 30 million
euros each on bio-inspired materials at different scales (molecular, nano microstructure) and at building scale.
The Swiss are also following suit a bio-inspired materials center which
brings together EPFL, ETH Zurich University of Geneva, dedicated to the subject. So we see that in any case the means are scaled European, so it’s good that something is happening, that it meets the challenges and that there are
scientific skills on this subject. ANIM: But at this point, we are still at biomimicry in the laboratory therefore: how we could bridge the gap
and generalize these processes so that industrialists can take it and
that we really have a palette of biomimetic materials? Laura Magro. LAURA.M: Yes then there are several things! Already from a share the 30 million euros of
funding I’m talking about for everyone of these German centers, that’s the visible part because it’s something thing that comes from the state. Obviously it
there is a lot of private funding and research that is also being done
not necessarily see yet but who prepare within companies.
There is real leverage today at support industrialists and what we
trying to do is to go beyond special cases that means yes
by biological model or by functions, by product type, we
can accompany them but there is the idea to deploy tools,
methodologies to help them do much more massively than cases
particular by particular case. We also work with the Museum
of natural history in France which is an incredible asset in terms of this
knowledge this expertise on the alive so to deploy today
the right tools to systematize this approach. So there are some 70 million
specimens that are in the cupboards of the Natural History Museum which
ask only one thing to be explored under the eye of the engineer, the designer,
of the architect and therefore we are looking for today to deploy more
systematic screening for better understand them and to develop them
manufacturing processes that allow to reply. So there are lots of things to do, but we have resources both in terms of
human and intellectual skills and in terms of biodiversity which are
largely under-exploited but it is in being built. ANIM: So precisely: who will be able to lead this biomimetic revolution? These are more
political? industrial ? the researchers? the three ? Tarik Chekchak. TARIK.C: You just answered. In fact it is really above all the citizens of a society where
we want to live tomorrow. That’s why that we talk about “desirable futures” in
within the Institute of Desirable Futures. It’s not so much to say who the future will be but it’s think which direction
desirable we would like to take. And I think that beyond the structures,
either this or that company or that political structure and above all
individuals with children families and almost
all now there are some rare exceptions … concerned with what is happening on the planet at different levels. So I think biomimicry can
be a way to help imagine these desirable future and to get in
route in a very different way because only if you live. You know i am
sailor you may know not … but if I get into a storm
and I don’t know where I’m going, I’m not going not experience the storm in the same way as if I know where I am trying to go. I don’t know if I will get to the shores that I had in mind at the start by
against but the very storm I’m not going live it the same way. It’s a … that
becomes an adventure actually what which was perhaps above all a shock
unbearable becomes an adventure. So I think the issue is really
to federate several types of actors where biology talk to others
disciplines. It is the transfer of knowledge
also which is at stake, it is the transdisciplinarity: how do I
so the biologist with different types of biologists very very very
advanced in biochemistry, for example until scientific ecology be
able to transfer knowledge to the different disciplines until the
governance even why not to others companies etc. It’s happening
it’s not always obvious but it’s a major issues. ANIM: I bounce on what you just said because that the biomimetic approach is the
border between life sciences and other disciplines,
it therefore involves decompartmentalization finally and a reconciliation
between biologists, architects, designers, engineers,
chemists. What stands in the way of
meeting between these different trades?
And in the future … I don’t know … engineers will have to be necessarily
biologist and vice versa? Laura Magro. LAURA.M: Yes then in what is opposed
today at these meetings, I think of language: we don’t all have
same way of defining the same object and so the eye of the engineer or the
biologist will not talk about the same thing so there is the idea of ​​creating
bridges between disciplines to succeed to create these meetings. Then you have to
places to meet occasions, because today … everyone in their laboratory or in their industry and ultimately at levels of expertise
such that it’s difficult to bring out a little head of the handlebars and go
rub a little to other media. Therefore we are trying to create at CEEBIOS
working groups that allow these meetings beyond the sectors
industrialists, beyond disciplines scientists. And then there is
obviously the key issue of information who will prepare the whole generation
future has created his dialogues our stake is not necessarily
general biomimetician but it’s rather than in each type of profile,
let us come and sow this seed of to say: “the biologist
anything you explore may have seen from a more functional angle or
industrial or technical such typology engineers, designers, architects
also, don’t lose biology too quickly in
your courses! “. So in this era of bac reform i think it’s
important to say how important ANIM: It’s a message! LAURA.M: … from biology to all
levels to be able to have a minimum common vocabulary! And so
so today we’re working with the Institute of Desirable Futures on training, with teaching also to develop
new formations that explore these disciplines.
ANIM: Tarik Chekchak? TARIK.C: And by the way there is a new training in a school of
design which will open in 2020 which is called Bio-inspired Design. This
will be transmitted I think in French and English. So this is a great example. CEEBIOS is also involved in bringing this about. It is a “Master” format for the moment, “Master Pro” and at the University of Pau too, if I don’t say nonsense, Laura? LAURA.M: Quite a master’s degree on bio-inspired materials with also reflection who this master is for: is it biologists who come to explore the Science of materials ? Where is
it’s more like “science of materials “that come to explore the interface with biology? TARIK.C: There is one thing that we are also implementing within the Institute in collaboration
with all the actors interested in the biomimicry is a new kind of learned society. We want to “hack” a little a little bit old-fashioned concept sometimes
very 19th of the learned society. The idea is to really bring together
researchers from several disciplines: from philosophy, biology,
thermodynamics even with artists, with really an important curation we
will say a terms of types of profiles. Because you have to find
people who are not only carriers of knowledge but also ready to
interact with other disciplines to finally define what the
desirable biomimicry. Are we is in dogmatism now? No. What we want is to think together why are we going on
mobilizing this intention to go observe the living to accelerate the
ecological transition. The speed towards what? On what types of lessons
wind can be based? And so we’re going to launch this in 2020, there are
several great scientists from College of France and others
institutions that have agreed to do part of this adventure. And for us it’s something that is a gift to society to be able
precisely help these reflections a little that aim to
ultimately to resynchronize the economy technologies and life. ANIM: So finally the laboratory of the future will mix experts from “Hard” Sciences and Social Sciences. TARIK.C: … And artists and individuals who have
original vision and who could contribute to this joint reflection. ANIM: This will be the subject of another episode of this podcast! So to lead a real revolution biomimetic so the
industrialists take it overwhelmingly their innovation strategies.
What are today at the time current barriers for
industrialists precisely to take the not this biomimetic revolution?
In terms of cost, time, patents? I would say in the first place it’s a
trade that does not exist. So it’s a job to create than having profiles
capable a little bit of making these cognitive bridges
between the living and the activities of industry. We see this new emerging
type of profile today among industrial. Then there you go, it’s a change of methodology we just rub everything
a universe we don’t know so there there is also this effort to take a little time at departure. So it’s a
investment in means and methodology to successfully deploy it.
However, once this effort is fact, the innovation lever is
huge and obviously with all constraints today in terms of
raw materials in terms of impact on the environment in fact it’s a
investment which today essential. So here is ! So it’s a
new way of doing, news methodologies to be deployed internally,
new skills to acquire. So we are leaving traditional silos.
Obviously I said it in terms of processes also that calls into question
many things, so massive investments that have been
done in certain directions, maybe we will … we will have to
start thinking about the news paths that will open. So it challenges a lot of things of what was deployed but in
anyway we need it. ANIM: Is the market ready to welcome these
biomimetic materials? That’s where the whole also question of competition about
the materials we are using today. TARIK.C : Maybe there is a « bet » to do
about this question which is very interesting. It’s like the Music : we measure the performance.
You can notice that everytime
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00:26:47,690 –>00:26:50,960
An industrial or a chemist adds a
new product on the market,
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00:26:50,960 –>00:26:54,500
there’s a risk a few decades
later or a few years later we realize that this is a
an endocrine disrupter including molecules that are not necessarily
desirable. And therefore, applying the biomimicry prism for example, about the composition of these materials
and the structured way with fewer chemicals elements by playing right on the
different levels, and well, you have a lower probability
also to knock your heads on the next wall. And so, strategically
it’s very interesting because you don’t know yet what problems
could happen, but you take a decision that
strategically reduces the probability that one of these things would happen. However
it has extra costs for the R&D sometimes.
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00:27:31,430 –>00:27:36,500
The « bet » that I suggest would be that
the information is actually moving around the society tomorrow it’s
will become progressively easier for the consumer, for the customers to understand
the composition of the materials, to know What are the problems created on a systemic perspective, it’s an extremely valuable investment,
being proactive and saying or thinking « OK » , as I’m getting ready for tomorrow’s world we might as well do it right now from the
the most strategic way. And then biomimicry takes on a new dimension. Performance should not be evaluated
as well as it is, but also, it can generates possibilities , which
avoids “knocking your head” (overthinking) as much as possible. …Like 2030, 2040, 2050 ! ANIM : Well, I talke about patents last time, It’s a good subject,
Very interesting about biomimetic revolution: will the
patents mean something again? Does not nature’s intelligence
part of the common property right? Laura Magro? LAURA.M : All the exploration of the living at the
in the beginning, in fact, has to stay in the common property and in the general interest.
That means finding out that shark skin having such properties etc,
should stay for the common property. Its transposition, meanwhile, with
industrial applications may relate to patents, it hasn’t already
changed today. And I think the real challenges, I guess
it’s the process the one that can produce from
of sustainable resources clearly, propre, energy-consuming, perhaps if
necessary in large quantities or in an industrial way if this is where we stay. That’s the whole point. Of course it is, we expect and this is why we
work with the Ministry of Ecological Transition that we do need
an economic investment from the government. The main part, the whole point,
must stay on the common property.
So finally do not privatize too quickly bio-inspired materials! TARIK.C: Well, I think… well, I’m not following my judgment on this one: “Is the patent desirable or not?” I have my own opinion about it, which is rather to
say that tomorrow world ideally wouldn’t necessarily… would cut off the patent.
However, one thing is certain I strongly wish that if there are patents,
there is a return to the biodiversity and a return to
traditional knowledge, which also sometimes tell us where to look on biodiversity.
That’s it for the rest, I’m not an expert enough to dare to make a final judgement: this case. ANIM : So speaking of biomimetic revolution, is there any
sector that will be more open to just crossing the mark of the biomimetic
revolution than others? Because as we said in the introduction, we have
the construction sector, the textile sector, and medicine. Is there also a scale on which biomimicry is more easily deployed than
others? TARICK.C : Je pense qu’au niveau de la TARICK.C: I think that for the level of form…
everything that forms organisms… It’s maybe an easy way to… Not that easy but the most accessible:
architecture for example, design object. But on this podcast, we discuss about
the materials potential, it’s actually more complex because
that it requires levels of structuring then we talk about materials
that can be viscous, solid,
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elastic or not etc. However, the transformation of society
about ecological transition is much more important at this scale of materials.
And then you have the third system that is complexity,
managing emergencies, how operates a forest, a coral reef.
What can we learn about organization etc ?
Actually a lot of companies are concerned.
There is a lot of intervention requests on bio-inspired governance, for example.
Well it’s more… even more complex, there is a good example, it’s the farming, with permaculture by
example, which is nothing more than than imitating the operation of an ecosystem. But then when it comes to
governance, be careful! So, here biology must meet humanism! Because bio-inspired examples about gouvernance and rationnal processing on human society, gave in History a lot of horrible things as called “social Darwinism” or the Nazi concentration camps.
And you can see the imperative to have an angle that is not once again on hold but transdisciplinary and where the philosophy must also take its own place. ANIM : Laura Magro. LAURA.M : Well… about the point on which sectors can be massively involved… We have talked about habitat, construction, which permit to “crystallize” all the levels on which
biomimicry can operate from Materials Science for creating tomorrow’s materials in the performances, we are looking for this in the sustainable construction sector But there are technical performances on the thermal, on the water, in the building sector, on properties
that… that’s what’s going to happen. But there is the construction of a building or a whole district, with all the
flux management which offer the possibility to explore all the levels of transposition of what the living can teach us.
The materials are the foundation of everything. Every sector are concerned. It could be for cosmetics, or for
sports, for paper, transport sector. And finally
developing bio-inspired materials must feed all the application areas. It’s hard to not find some sector non-concerned by these evolutions. ANIM : Well, the big question on this podcast is: “Will the biomimicry revolution happen ?” So we really need to consider everything about it! Who better believe that it’s not going to happen ? Who are the opponents of the biomimicry? TARIK.C : I think that this subject is one the most interesting subject because… I guess that never, I’ve never met any resistance, except for the supporters of of the ecological transition,
those who really attack the system of the 20th century. And they say
“Yes, you’re maybe establishing a new… a new rule in the “game” that keeps destroying the planet, so now we’re going to do it in a bio-inspired way.” Right, super… As you can see, it’s a typical critic to answer to. But I notice that that we’re in a time when we’re being told so much about the wrong news and it’s important to be realist. We also need tohope, we also need to start moving towards something that
really inspires you. Well, quite honestly, I don’t know if you do, Laura, I’ve hardly ever meet any resistance about this. However, there is a lot of misunderstanding between bio-inspiration and biomimicry. And you Laura, talked about , investments in Germnany. I think so, but this confusion
is there and I think that in France there is a possibility (or a bet)
to set the “Make our planet great again” idea. Our President said that. But our industry looks fine with this idea. Let’s go ? Then prove it and let’s do it by taking inspirations from the nature. But that intention, however, I think it can really make a specificity that brings everyone together. ANIM : You mean : watch out for the biomim washing, right? LAURA.M : Exactly. And what I had to add was that for me one of the fears or one point of alertness surrounding biomimicry is the attention we put on two things: the scientific point, there are great stories to make such
functions, such new materials inspired by such species, there is
always a very inspiring thing to say. There’s no problem, we can do, a storytelling well done around it. But so don’t let it be as the metaphor. It must have a rigorous understanding of the
mechanisms in living organisms, strategies and in transposition. So from a scientific point of view at least I think that it’s one of the points of vigilance.
Often we say yes, it’s interesting. But it’s superficial, it’s not. There is some very high level science being done today on this subject, but it needs to stay on top. And the second point is methodological and environmental to think that beyond the scientific and technical comprehension whether for the objective of sustainable development and ecodesign, so the point you were trying to say, Tarik, about if we’re into biomimetic or bionic or something like that and all the semantic declinations that can be made of it, that are strictly technical. Today we need this biomimicry… it takes an
incredible dimension when it is placed as environmental issues and
the ecological transition we need. So here is the big point about environment and science. ANIM : Yes, exactly because people often say that biomimicry is at the disposal of the
sustainable development and the economic development, but is it
enough, yes, to copy the qualities of the living to make sure we’re using
on sustainable principles, no! So how do we protect ourselves against it? TARIK.C : I’m going to say the same thing, effectively, by bringing biology into a dialogue with the philosophy, for example, if a
design philosophy therefore humanism must be central. A virus
that kills hundreds and hundreds of organizations is neither good nor bad from the point of view of the virus. It’s a virus. A lion eating an animal that is not yet fully dead is neither good nor bad. But we humans have a sense of ethics and therefore it is very important that we have this dialogue. Technology is not enough in itself and the biomimicry is a philosophy of the conception me and others. A conception philosophy is creating thanks to the science, the understanding of how
it works. Effectively. But philosophy too. And there are
great things that are happening for example the artificial photosynthesis, which is not yet fully developed. But how we’re going to replace it etc. We
talks a lot about the potential of energy the current solar panels,
these high pressures and high temperatures and in some electronic parts of some rare elements. So we’re facing to kind of a blind spot,
announced with environmental consequences which are certainly not insignificant. Which it doesn’t mean that maybe we shouldn’t be interested in this technology in the first place. But photosynthesis plants,
under an aqueous solution, on the water, using what they have around them,
and that, is a good example. It’s being explored ! And I think we could have the “game changer” idea relating to the technologies connected to the planet rules. ANIM : Laura Magro, so how does the
biomimicry could be at the service of a green industry ? LAURA.M : We have investigated on materials functions. As example, the burdock flower, the lotus leaf etc, the Velcro, the self-cleaning surfaces, the function was the main subject. Well today, the prism for me, it needs to focus much more on materials, on the processes of manufacturing and end-of-life because
that there are nice functions as I told you lately. But when we take a look together, we notice that we really are dedicated to sustainable development, and so don’t forget, don’t separate this function from the total cycle of the bio-inspired materials. ANIM : That’s the end of the broadcast, Laura Magro et Tarik Chekchak, thank you for sharing your visions on the future of the biomimicry on “The hidden power of materials”. On se retrouve très vite pour We’ll see you soon for new episodes which you can discover by subscribing to our podcast channel.

Randy Schultz

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