How Does Biologically Inspired Design Cope With Multi-Functionality

Nicklas Svendsen*, Torben Anker Lenau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

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As catalysts for product innovation and product development, different approaches for biologically inspired design (BID) are exciting options. However, while general BID theory require a focus on single functions, real world products are characterized by performing multiple functions. The development of an anterior eye-chamber model is used to showcase the issue.
In a systematic literature review (SLR), state-of-the-art methodologies, methods and tools BID practice are discovered and the current state of multi-functionality in BID are assessed. The SLR revealed 18 contributions with 8 BID methodologies and 12 stage-specific BID tools (of which 50% addressed the solution search phase) in addition to 5 papers addressing multi-functionality in BID. At present multi-functionality in BID is only treated in a limited set of papers. While designers interested in BID are advised to discover multi-functional analogies, the present approach to handling multifunctional problems in BID suggest functional decomposition and multiple BID efforts. Therefore, the development of design support for handling multi-functional problems, including tools for problem analysis are needed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Design Society: 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)
EditorsSandro Wartzack, Benjamin Schleich
PublisherCambridge University Press
Publication date2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19) - Delft, Netherlands
Duration: 5 Aug 20198 Aug 2019


Conference22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19)
SeriesProceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Design

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.


  • Bio-inspired design/biomimetics
  • Design methodology
  • Design process
  • Conceptual design
  • Multi-functionality

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