Design Genes

Design Genes was the first funded project in the Biohaviour initiative.

“We look to nature for inspiration, seeking bio-inspired rules for engineering design.”

Design Genes aimed to seek an elementary set of rules akin to DNA of engineering design for the design and manufacture of components and systems.

The creation of an elemental set of rules based on energy and equilibrium could allow variation to naturally arise in design.

In nature, rules are applied blindly with no fixed final form – the final form only arises as a consequence of its environment. Trees and bamboo are wonderful examples of this.

Biohaviour takes inspiration from nature and defines the basic principles of the DNA of Design, through Design Genes. These are simple triggers that direct the behaviour of a design as it naturally develops.

Design Genes can be packaged in a ‘seed’ to help generate sophisticated geometries in 3D. They can support rapid experimentation with shapes to further explore different options, creating opportunities for innovation which exploit modern manufacturing systems.

Design Genes was the first step, and we found some simple rules for controlling geometry and structure. The successful generation of an engineered 'leaf' with surface area for heat exchange and stiffening elements for strength in binding - all generated from these simple rules - demonstrated the promise of the concepts.