Biomimicry Challenge: Hack Like Mother Nature, Win $100k

Hot on the heels of the 2015 Hackaday prize, with its theme of “Build stuff that matters”, comes another opportunity for hackers to make a difference. But you’ve got to think like Mother Nature for the 2016 Biomimicry Global Design Challenge.

wind chillThe aim of this challenge is to transform the global food system using sustainable approaches that emulate natural process. Entries must address a problem somewhere in the food supply chain, a term that could apply to anything from soil modification to crop optimization to harvest and storage technologies. Indeed, the 2015 winner in the Student category was for a passive refrigeration system to preserve food in undeveloped areas. It’s a clever two-stage system that uses an evaporative cooling loop inspired by the way an elephant’s ears cool the giant beast, and by use of a wind-capturing funnel that mimics how animals as diverse as termites and meerkats cool their nests.

In addition to the Student category, the challenge has an Open category for teams of any composition. Up to 10 teams will be selected from the Open category to proceed to the Accelerator phase, where they’ll receive support for a six to nine month development of their design into a marketable product. The winner will be awarded the $100,000USD Ray of Hope prize, endowed by the Ray C. Anderson Foundation.

We’d love to see someone from the Hackaday community take home the 2016 prize, and there are plenty of 2015 Hackaday Prize entries that may be eligible. The deadline for submissions is 11 May 2016, so get a team together and get to work.

7 thoughts on “Biomimicry Challenge: Hack Like Mother Nature, Win $100k

  1. A big 30 feet long pipe underground can do the same thing, you can potentially get cold air all summer. I know this works in Sweden with ~30ºC summerdays, but how it would work in the South American dry desert of northen Argentina with 50ºC days being common I don’t know.

    But this concept I know nothing about, and in the video they show no practical tests and no theoretical calculations, so I get the same feeling as that 100W counter weight powered lamp.

    1. This technique works great for the air intake for your house be it summer and winter as the temperature in the ground tends to be constant. It’s a good way to save energy on heating or cooling incoming fresh air.

    2. There is a rule of thumb calculation that uses average air temperature to get a geusstamate as what to expect at a given latitude. Here in Kansas running the tap for minute or so will result in a cool drink of water. Try that in South Texas you could empty the water tower and not get cool drink of water.

  2. I’m reminded of a internet forum on the topic that I would monitor. There was a thread start by a woman living in Texas looking for alternatives because they where contemplating going off grid. The only thing I could offer was to investigate how people living there did things before refrigeration. Her family may not like the lifestyle changes that would require but people stayed alive before refrigeration.. No doubt in many places where food is being wasted the current population moved away from how the old timers lived. large beef animal sand hogs are incompatible with the lack of refrigeration. A smaller animal can be consumed by the community at large after slaughter before it goes to waste. People want tech to save the day when tech helped lead to problems.

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