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How can Geckos improve space travel?

Abigaille wall-crawler robot

Since 2007, students at Simon Fraser University have been working on putting wall-climbing robots in space. The problem? You can’t use suction in a vacuum, and conventional adhesives or magnets won’t work.

To overcome those challenges, the team designed an eight-legged arachnid structure that can crawl over, on or around any obstacle it encounters.

In much the same way that geckos climb up panes of glass or across a ceiling, the robot’s feet are composed of hairs that are so tiny, they adhere to surfaces at the atomic level. Thanks to the wonders of nature, putting wall-climbing robots in space is now a mission accomplished.

Photo copyright Simon Fraser University School of Engineering Science/MENRVA

Change Your World

Biomimicry is a rapidly expanding field that’s transforming the way we think, design, package, produce and distribute goods and services. 

“If you’re not incorporating the most brilliant ideas from the natural world into what you sell, you’re leaving money on the table.” - FORTUNE Magazine (March 2017)

  • ECONOMIC IMPACT: According to a 2018 report by BIS Research: The global biomimetic technology market is projected to hit $18.5 billion by 2028. Demands for bio-inspired technologies are increasing, especially in medical, defense and other industry areas. 

  • INSPIRING INNOVATION: Companies are applying biomimicry to increase energy and resource productivity, eliminate the concept of waste and enhance business resilience.

  • TALENT: Biomimicry helps companies attract and retain the best and most creative people by offering them the platform for world-changing work.

  • TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE: Biomimicry offers a pathway to sustainability, so companies can focus on people, profits and planet. 

Biomimicry offers real, time-tested solutions. Because nature has had many attempts at these solutions, they require the lowest amount of energy, provide the most efficient investment and are most sustainable. You don’t want to invest in solutions that have to be abandoned in the future.

Peter Buca, Vice President of Technology and Innovation, Parker Hannifin

It all started with an itsy bitsy spider.

See how ORNILUX put a new spin on an industry-wide problem.

ORNILUX worked to create a clear glass solution that allows the aesthetics we enjoy with the protection birds require.

View Case Study


Our Innovation Services consulting will provide your team with a new innovation tool and help your company uncover potential solutions to a product, process or systemic challenge. Benefits include:

  • Enrich your existing innovation process.
  • Learn how to get at the essential, central question for a challenge and craft a more powerful Innovation Objective.
  • Kickstart idea generation and infuse new sources of stimulus into ideation sessions. 
  • Spark ideas for your company's sustainability efforts.

There are 5 stages in our Great Lakes Biomimicry Innovation Playbook™ in which our team, in partership with The University of Akron's Biomimicry Research & Innovation Center:

  1. Clarifies and contextualizes the challenge and delivers an Innovation Objective
  2. Distills the Innovation Objective into biologically-relevant functions used for querying biology (“How do biological systems ___?”)
  3. Identifies, researches and documents Biological Models for the Innovation Objective
  4. Extracts the essence of the Biological Model’s strategy and crafts a description free of biological jargon
  5. Delivers at least two refined solution concepts with commercial potential 

Professional Education Workshops

We will help you accelerate the adoption, integration and application of biomimicry into your organization.

Learn More

Corporate Fellows

Corporate Fellows are students in our Biomimicry Fellowship Program. 

The Biomimicry Fellowship Program was launched in 2012 by The University of Akron's Biomimicry Research & Innovation Center in collaboration with Great Lakes Biomimicry. The mission of the program is to provide interdisciplinary training in biology, design, engineering, and business to next-gen innovation leaders. The vision is for biomimicry to become a driver for economic development in the Northeast Ohio region and beyond. 

Biomimicry Fellows are designated students in The University of Akron’s Integrated Bioscience PhD Program who are supported through an industrial assistantship with an organizational sponsor. Over the course of a five-year doctoral program, Biomimicry Fellows dedicate 20 hours per week to advancing biomimicry initiatives within their sponsoring organization, while undertaking biomimicry-focused dissertation research.

All sponsor companies also join the world’s only biomimicry Corporate Innovation Council.

Current and past sponsors of the Biomimicry Fellowship Program include:

  • Avon Lake Regional Water
  • Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, LLC
  • Biohabitats
  • Cleveland Zoological Society
  • Cleveland Water Alliance
  • Eaton 
  • GOJO Industries, Inc.
  • The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
  • The J.M. Smucker Company
  • Kimberly-Clark Corp.
  • The Lubrizol Corp.
  • NASA Glenn Research Center
  • Nottingham Spirk
  • Ohio Department of Natural Resources
  • Parker Hannifin Corp.
  • PolyOne 
  • Ross Environmental Services, Inc.
  • The Sherwin-Williams Co.
  • Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM
  • Tremco Commercial Sealants & Waterproofing 
  • US Endoscopy 

See the current Biomimicry Fellowship Program information packet

Contact us ([email protected]) to learn more and see if your company would be a good candidate to sponsor a Biomimicry Fellow and join the Corporate Innovation Council. Each year, only a limited number of companies are accepted into the program and Council. We have a few openings available for next year (2020).


Companies that sponsor Biomimicry Fellows become members of the world's only biomimicry Corporate Innovation Council, run by Great Lakes Biomimicry.  During our meetings, sponsors share the unique ways fellows bring value to their organizations: generation of IP and trade secrets, embedding non-traditional thinking into teams, the addition of talent, creating sustainable value and providing access to biomimicry tools.  Members learn from each other's challenges and successes, and hear from researchers or experts in the field of biomimicry. 

We convene these meetings and connect sponsors with valuable resources, new experiences and learning opportunities to support each company's journey as a Biomimicry Fellow Sponsor and leader in this new field. 

Council members also have the opportunity to work on special biomimicry initiatives together. In the past, Innovation Sessions held for Council members allowed for ideation to happen in a space without boundaries, leading to new ways of thinking and excitement around biomimicry's potential. Read about our 2016 Innovation Session with GOJO Industries and University Hospitals here.

To our knowledge, no other location in the world has achieved this significant level of corporate collaboration around biomimicry innovation. 

Contact us ([email protected]) to learn more and see if your company would be a good candidate to sponsor a Biomimicry Fellow and join the Corporate Innovation Council. Each year, only a limited number of companies are accepted into the program and Council. We have a few openings available for next year (2020).

Great Lakes Biomimicry Technology Center

Northeast Ohio is a hot spot for biomimicry and technology innovation. Plans are underway to create the Biomimicry Open Innovation Commercialization Hub in the Desich SMART Center at Lorain County Community College (LCCC).

The first of its kind to integrate the disciplines of biomimicry and business development, the center will serve as the hub for regional biomimetic tech transfer. We will enlist researchers in an open innovation model and move research projects through the commercialization process to develop successful products.

This collaboration will serve as an international model for embedding biomimicry into regional economic development and for developing human talent in the rapidly expanding field of biomimicry.

SMART Center