CNN's Next Big Thing:
Neri Oxman's Machines That Design Nature
1. Growth Over Assembly: "Nature grows things," Oxman explains. As such, her design projects are not put together for a single purpose, but rather, can grow and adapt over time to meet the changing needs of its users and environment.
2. Integration Over Segregation: Instead of creating buildings that require heating and cooling systems to shield the interior from the elements, for example, Oxman suggests creating building skins that contract and expand to respond to the environment around them. Oxman and her team are researching ways to print breathable skins that can act as both a barrier and a filter to the world around it.
3. Heterogeneity Over Homogeneity: While man-made products are predominantly constructed from a single material, things in nature are very heterogeneous and composed of many different materials. Oxman seeks to move objects away from their industrial homogeneity.
4. Difference Over Repetition: In nature, Oxman explains that every cellular unit is unique. By understanding how variation and difference cause repetition in nature, she says you can then learn which elements are repeatable and which are unique.
5. Material Is The New Software: "Our ability to design and fabricate intelligent materials and objects will no longer depend on patching materials with electronics, but rather on our ability to turn material itself into software," she writes. "It inspires us to embed material with distributed intelligence rather than attach it to an on-off switch."