Sunday, December 18, 2016

Going to the zoo my team and I spent a lot of time by the polar bears, watching one in particular swim back and forth with to no end. We later leaned from a trainer there that the polar bears favorite activity is to play around swimming, and that is in fact what they spend most of there time doing in the wild! It is a great way for them to work out and stay active when not looking for food. It was amazing to watch the bear swim back and forth so effortlessly, as heavy as the animal was it traveled between each forceful push with such grace and ease. Every once in awhile it would take a break and rest above water. Eventually the trance watching the bear broke as it stopped swimming which is when we talked to the trainer for awhile then moved on. 

The next spot we spent the remainder of our time was at the monkey exhibit. I began interacting with a monkey, who I managed to entertain enough for him to sit by my sad threw the class for about 15 minutes. We with simple interactions, then eventually I grabbed my phone and looked up “Funny animal videos” then proceeded to press it to the glass the monkey found very entertaining. He would react to what was happening in the videos after waited patiently for 10 minute for the video to finish. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Hey you guys! I don't know if any of you have interest in looking at this but its the book I made of everyones opinions on why we exist! Sorry if they are a little hard to read the would not upload full res:) Enjoy!!

This is a really great Ted Talk about Monika Lewinsky's views on how technology has changed our social construct of communication and harassment! Defiantly worth watching!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Monday, December 12, 2016

Monkey Light's!!!

Monkey Light's are making safety cool! They are waterproof, shockproof, create the rider to be fully visible in dark hours, and make your bike totally awesome. This video reminded me of our product project- bizarre ideas that actually end up being extremely successful, and beneficial to mankind.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Peacock Spiders!

I know we already did the biology stuff earlier in the semester, but this species I found was too awesome to pass up!
I recently found out about the Peacock Spider. It's an species in the arachnid group that are very small in stature, but giant in charisma! The superpower of the Peacock Spider is in the way they mate. Male Peacock Spiders use the language of dance. I'm totally not kidding. They are not only the choreographers, but they also create their own house music to dance to! It even gets to a point that male Peacock Spiders often compete with other males to see if their dancing is up to par. It's like Step Up but with little spiders. If a male spider's dancing isn't up to the standards of the female, the female will not hesitate to eat the male, but only if their dancing is bad. They're not only dancing for sex, but they're dancing for their lives.
The female spiders are known as the "Tina Belchers" of the animal kingdom. All they need is a cute butt and some good dance moves to get them in the mood.
This is a video of a male spider dancing to the YMCA. It's pretty great.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Zoo Observation—Como Zoo

Well I’m really-really-really late to the party but I need to at least give you guys something so I’m not a total bum.
I’m thinking back to our visit to Como Zoo and what a nice time I had. Although I’ve never been a big fan of zoos I thought the reason for our going was great. What I wish we could do is have the resources to make all of our excellent biome ideas come true. But we can dream and try to inspire the future.
One of the thoughts I had while walking around the zoo waswhat if humans were put behind glass and on display. Since our assignment was to observe people observing the animals and interacting with their environments I found this perspective to be pretty helpful.
The one aspect that really stuck out to me was how the habitats are downsized to a relatively microscopic levelcompared to the animal’s natural habitatsso that people would have the opportunity to see the creatures up close. It begged the question, are these habitats setup for our benefit as observers or the occupant’s benefit of physical safety and/or rehabilitation?
Let’s consider a hypothetical comparison. Let’s say that we as MCAD students are on display for the benefit of others to observe. We would need to be kept in a limited space (like the MCAD campus) and be given only what we need—to be what we are—and nothing more. We could never leave campus and we’d have to tolerate groups of people taking turns observing us in our “natural habitat” all day long while we studied. What a terrible existence it’d be.
Imagine getting tossed chunks of chocolate-peanut butter rice-krispy treats from the cafeteria while we pick bugs out of each other’s hair hiding from groups of little kids banging on our glass walls while their parents play youtube videos to us of students they saw on their visit to the U of M campus last month.
I know this is a pretty ridiculous mental picture I’m attempting to create for you. But realistically, it’s pretty much what I observed on our visit to the zoo at the primate habitat. I so badly wanted to wave a magic wand and expand their containment areas by 100 times or more.
But that’s not where I spent my 30 minute observation time. I actually spent that time in the “zen garden” outside of the terrarium. I walked around for a short time to find a good place to sit. At first I thought a bench would work but decided against it for fear of interfering with the natural flow of people walking and spending their own quiet time. Instead I found a small boulder off the path just a bit and found a comfortable groove to sit and watch.
People walked with one another taking photos of each other while I took my own of them. Little did they know I had caught them in my own personal pop-up human zoo.
Some people would sit for a short time on benches located to my right and left.
A family gathered to take a “group-selfie” with a shallow water fall trickling behind them. I took a quick photo of the moment.
A couple of minutes later two Japanese women take a seat on a wooden bench to my left. They certainly brought the atmosphere together for the moment. They really fit into the scene. They sat quietly—peacefully—enjoying they serine human habitat. I aim to take a couple of photos as one of the ladies looks over at me. I gesture for permission to take a photo--she agrees. I snap a couple of shots and moments later send a nod of gratitude.
I see the same family taking another group selfie off in the distance, probably with another quaint yet unremarkable backdrop.
Then to my right two other ladies sitting on the other bench. Looking at them reminded me that I was in Minnesota. They sat there gossiping while crunching on apples. I shoot a couple of photos but my exposure was off so I adjust and fire off a couple more as one of the ladies looks over in my direction.

The atmosphere is quiet for a while and I take the time to enjoy it.
The Japanese ladies make their motion to depart and I take the cue as well. I give them a subtle wave of goodbye.
I begin walking back to meet up with my group and as I pass the two apple crunching women one of them asks rather starkly; did you take a photo of us? I answered truthfully and could tell that she was irritated by me. She was very cold and stern and was adamant that I should have asked for permission first. I replied with an apology and explained that asking to take her photo would have an adverse affect on the observations I was trying to capture. I show her the preview on my camera and erase the image and gain a little approval.
After putting her mind at ease I walk away to find my group; little did she know that I actually took more than just the one photo of her and her friend.
So what did I learn from all of this?
Comparing my time in the zen garden with that of my brief observations of the primate exhibit revealed some correlations. In the primate exhibit I noticed that some of the primates seemed to enjoy the attention from human observers while others seemed to avoid interactions completely--they wanted to be left alone and unnoticed. In the zen garden by comparison I found similar mindsets between the two couples of ladies. The first couple of ladies to my left were happy to be observed and photographed while the other two seemed offended by it--like they just wanted to be in public but left unseen. The family didn’t taking selfies seem to care either way--they were in their own little world. The big difference between the primates and the humans was that the humans had a choice to stay home, the primates were home.

Monday, November 14, 2016

BIOSYSTEMS: Biomimicry Design

For this project, students researched the unique abilities of species and systems in nature, and then shared 3 different products inspired by multiple life forms and their biological problem solving with the class. Of the 3 ideas presented, a student’s final concept was decided by class vote, and finalized into a fully developed product concept using biomimicry as the method of wild invention!


“The Web Eco-City is a physical re-design of cities based off the Web of Life. It has been designed in order to create an efficient, eco-friendly city in which all parts work together in order to grow and improve.”


“The HexoPod Housing System is inspired by multiple bio-organisms. The key feature is that the systems produce a water and energy surplus. Th structures are built as the HexoTower as the powerhouse creating the surplus, and the system is essentially a living and breathing organism which goes stronger over time.”


“The Care-Meleon bracelet is a personal health care system that is inspired by chameleons. The key feature is its ability to communicate mood through its changing ability (especially valuable in situations where communication is difficult or impossible).” 

"Duexiéme Peau (French for Second Skin) is a breast support system made from a new material called SKIN2. Its connective inner layer is inspired by cotton and mycelium, and its supportive outer layer is inspired by echinoderms and sea sponges."


Bee Happy is a re-invented aroma-therapy delivery system inspired by bees and plants with the added benefits of photo-therapy.”


Clari-Tea combines lessons from nature in the body and mind to help cure cancer.”


Vibro-Wear uses sound waves that travel through body chains to send frequencies through the body. These frequencies can shift your emotions and heal your ailments.”

“My project is the development of shrink and expand technology. People have a difficult time selecting their clothing - often our clothes won’t fit anymore - but my project allows for the creation of clothing that will shape comfortably to your changing body.”


“The Turtle Car is the ultimate all-terrain vehicle. It can go on water and land, and it is submersible for underwater use. Completely biodegradable, the Turtle Car causes no pollution or waste. Its shell makes it great for emergencies, like tornadoes, floods, etc. Powered by sound waves, the Turtle Car will last a lifetime and beyond (like a turtle)!”


No-Slip Slime prevents you from slipping on ice and snow in the winter, car accidents, and injury. When your car starts sliding, the pressure you put on the steering wheel pushes the slime button to eject slime from your tires, gripping the ground instantly.”


“The Zombean is an invention that is inspired by a dogs sense of smell, and can detect cancer cells and zombie cells in the earliest stages.” 


"Bio-Phone is the start of a new wave of biologically inspired technology! Biophone is made of all organic material that requires no outside source of energy to work! You'll never need to charge your phone, have a phone plan, worry about not having service, or running out of space on your phone again!"


Reveal-Ink - an all-natural, safe tattoo ink made of melanin with the ability to change colors from hormone signals indicating physical and emotional conditions happening in the body.


TELA - a superhydrophobic material inspired by spider webs that only certain objects will be able to cut through. TELA can be used on roadways, doubling as a handicap for traction. Future applications will include a new system of tread for tires and rubber chemistry for the soles of shoes.

Tright - biolumenescent street lighting


Incu-Blankie - an infant warming blanket inspired by the human circulatory system


Loved - a bracelet inspired by the psychological effect of the heartbeat and bioluminescence

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Zoo Observation

At the Como Zoo, I decided to observe the polar bear. When observing, I noticed that the bear kept doing the exact same motions... over and over again. I began to feel bad for it in all honesty. It would swim to the wall, push its legs against the rock, and then glide backward on its back.

After observing the mammal for half an hour, I made my way over to Lynne, a polar bear expert. Here is a list of questions and answers from the conversation I had with her (I apologize for her answers being choppy. I had to quickly record them):

Q: What is their diet?
A: "Seals/omnivores. The Zoo feeds them prepared food (dog food) 20lbs to 40lbs a day, depending on the season. Polar bears only eat the blubber off of seals, [a prime example of] ecology. One animal there for each other. If the females don't eat enough calories they cannot get pregnant."

Q: Is the habitat at the zoo good for them?
A: "It's very similar to Churchill, Canada, which is the polar capital in the world."

Q: Can you tell me more about these specific bears at Como?
A: "We have two polar bears. They are very playful, curious, and dangerous. Very unpredictable. [They are] poorly studied because of cold conditions and darkness. Very solitary animals. The ones studied the most are in Churchill, Canada. There are seven populations and ones in the Artic are more endangered."

A: What is global warming's effect on the polar bears?
Q: "The oceans warming is causing the food the seals eat to lessen, which lessens the seals, which lessens the polar bears food."

A: What are some random or fun facts about them?
Q: "They have bad eyesight so they have developed good smell through the ice. [They can smell] five to six miles away even, wow! They gain four inches of fat in the winter to keep warm. They have translucent hair, which is very sparkly. And they have black skin."

A: Are they becoming extinct for sure?
Q: "It's too early to tell."

A: Do you ever physically interact with them?
Q: "No. A person will never be in the cage with a bear. The animals are trained to do medical exams, so the zookeepers do not need to tranquilize them. [The bears literally] present a paw to have blood drawn. [If they cooperate they] get [rewarded with] frozen lard."

Sunday, November 6, 2016

You're Looking at Happiness

"What you see is a myosin protein dragging an endorphin along a filament to the inner part of the brain's parietal cortex which creates happiness. Happiness. You're looking at happiness."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

This would have made a great biomimicry project

Watch the video from this link. Pretty cool stuff! Good example of how nature is used for our products. I wish I would have thought of it!!

"Squishy Robots"

 I found this super cool article while researching for my project... A mechanical engineer is trying to come up with a way to figure out how to make a material that will allow robots be able to "shape-shift" and fit through tiny spaces and be pliable yet hard at the same time. There's a video on the page that she talks about how they're trying to create robots that emulate biological systems.. woohoo for biomimicry!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Dani's Zoo observations

Como Zoo Observation • 20 Sept 2016

My biome is estuaries, guessing I probably won’t see an exhibit at the Como Zoo

Overall Zoo Observations
·      Step-stools in restroom for kids (don’t see that in public spaces often)
·      No lids/straws were available in the café (cashier lady said they end up in the exhibits and are harmful to the animals – however I did see others with lids/straws throughout the zoo …)

Observation spot
·      I’m drawn to moving water, found a fountain area in the conservatory with a bench

·      I was focused on the people who went by and recorded what they said …
o   Is this your secret spot? Are we welcome?               (few minutes later) whispered “Enjoy”
o   Oh look! They have papaya!
o   You sat in a wet spot (mom to toddler); Ok. I guess that’s alright.
o   It’s really beautiful here.
o   Oh! They have koi fish!
o   (footsteps) You guys – it’s wet.
o   There’s a tamarind tree! It’s neat to see one.       “The tree of life” (reading sign)
o   Group of 4 chatting in foreign tongue – not sure what they said but looked content, peaceful
·      No one stayed too long – 5 minutes each

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Systems and Species

Red Lipped Batfish
The Red Lipped Batfish is located in the Galapagos Islands. What is interesting about this fish is that it hardly acts like a fish. The species uses fins/limbs that are located in their pectoral and anal areas to crawl along the floor. The Red Lipped Batfish also has a shiny attractive lure to attract prey just like the anglerfish. This species is also classified as a type of anglerfish that had gained interesting features from the galapagos islands. This is a great example of evolution happening before our eyes.

Lowland Streaked Tenrec
The Lowland Streaked Tenrec is located in madagascar. This species is really unique because they have a variety of skills that help them in survival. The Streaked Tenrec can drop their body temperature to nearly that of the surroundings and still remain active. This is to conserve their energy. They also communicate by stridulating which is vibrating and using specialized quills from their mid-dorsal region to create a low-pitched noise. They also create a crunch and putt-putt sound when agitated. This species will also raise the spines around the neck and buck the head violently to attempt to lodge the barbed spines into the attacker as defense.

Mantis Shrimp
The Mantis Shrimp is located in the indian and pacific oceans. What I find really interesting about this species is the 16 receptor cones located in their eyes. Which allows them to detect ten times more color than we as humans can imagine. The Mantis shrimp can also punch its prey with the speed of a bullet. This single punch is strong enough to break through a mollusk or shell instantly.

The Endocrine System
A single hormone is essentially a chemical signal that is secreted into the circulatory system. This communicates regulatory messages inside of us. We  have two systems of internal communication. The nervous system and the endocrine system which work together to keep us alive. The jobs of the endocrine system are incredibly essential to our well being mentally and physically. Sexual development and growth as well as stress and hormonal levels are also tackled by the endocrine system. For my project I’d really like to study this system and the hormones that make up our emotions or the psychological aspects of biology and incorporate that into my ideas. The endocrine system is an incredible way to look at the emotions in a biological aspect. I believe studying this can open new and bigger ideas to this project.

Side Note: Couldn't upload photos and videos

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

3 species and a system.

System:Circulatory system: pumping and channeling blood to and from the body and lungs with heart, blood and blood vessels.

 Catfish are probably the most finely tuned creatures on earth. Unlike most fish, they don’t have scales and their smooth skin gives them a heightened sense of touch. In addition tiny hairs that run along the catfish’s side are very sensitive to vibrations. So much so, catfish are rumoured to be able to detect earthquakes days in advance.

Blue Dragons float upside down on the surface of tropical waters and target blue bottle jellyfish. They ingest the poisonous cells of the jellyfish, which they then use on their own predators.
The Blue Dragon packs a deadly venom for anyone who dares touch its body.

 The critters are native to South American rivers, but they don’t spend all their time underwater. They have to come to the surface to breathe. They are not actually an eel but a species of fish called Kinfe fish.
All of an electric eel’s vital organs are crammed into the front 20 percent of its body. The rest is packed with 6000 cells that act like tiny batteries.
an eel can zap out more than 600 volts!

Seeing Color!

This is a video on how people across the world see color. It's very cool and I recommend everyone watch till the end!


System & Species

Species: The Hairy Tree Frog

This frog can be found in Central Africa and it gets its name from the hair structures on the body and thighs of breeding males and they are arteries that work as external gills. When the frog is threatened it breaks its bones in its toes and protrudes them though its toe pads to create claws.  

Species: The Immortal Jellyfish

Overtime the Jellyfish is faced with death it reverts back to a sexually immature stage. They sink to the ocean floor while their tentacles retract and they become smaller. However this process has yet to be observed in nature only in a laboratory. 

Species: Dumbo Octopus 
This Octopus is a deep sea animal that is around 8 inches tall. They often hover above the sea flor looking for snails and other small creatures to ear. They are called the dumbo finish because its fins look like Dumbo's ears.

System: Bioluminescent Waves
The bioluminescent waves are caused by different species of bioluminescent phytoplankton, the most common kind is called dinoflagellates. There is a channel sending electrical signals in the brains of the plankton to allow them to create this illumination.

Ability: The all-seeing eyes!


Famously known for their ability to camouflage, these guys in disguises are also housing some incredible eyes. Both eyes can move independently from each other. This allows them to scan their surrounding throughly, giving them a full 360 degree field of vision! These guys are able to see critters several meters out and they're also able to see ultraviolet light.

The Dragonfly eyes are extremely sensitive to movement. This sensitivity allow the Dragonfly to make super quick discovery for any potential prey or predator. The Dragonfly eyes are made up of 30,000 visual units called ommatidia! Each unit of ommatidia contains lens and series of light sensitive cells that allow them superior sight and detection for colors and polarized light.

Mantis Shrimp:
Like the Dragonfly, the Mantis Shrimp have compound eyes but they have about 10,000 ommatidia units per eye instead of the Dragonfly's 30,000. Unlike the Dragonfly, each eye serves a particular function for the Mantis Shrimp sight. All information is processed individually by each eyes instead of the brain.

Imagine combining the abilities of all these fantastic species into one product; the smart auto glass for your car.

System & Species

SYSTEM: Biodegradation
Biodegradation is the disintegration of materials by bacteria, fungi, or other biological means. Below is an image of a biodegradable plastic bottle, where you can see the effects of biodegradation over time:

Specifically, molting. 

Snake molt, or "shed their skin" as the grow. Once the top layer of skin is too small, it is stretched to the the point that it splits, and the snake is able to slither out of the old skin casing, often leaving it in one piece:

SPECIES: Pineapple
Specifically, Bromelain. 

Bromelain is a protein-digesting enzyme complex found in pineapple, and in higher concentrations, in the pineapple stem. It is able to hydrolyze or break down a wide variety of protein types in a range of both acid and alkaline environments.

Specifically, Mycelium. 

While mushrooms might be the most familiar part of a fungus, most of their bodies are made up of a mass of thin threads, known as a mycelium. We now know that these threads act as a kind of underground internet, linking the roots of different plants. They help out their neighbors by sharing nutrients and information – or sabotage unwelcome plants by spreading toxic chemicals through the network.

Beautiful Systems

Fireflies //

Also known as the lightening bug, most do not realize that these insects are actually beetles... What?! They are a nocturnal and a part of the Lampyridae family. Their other "siblings" are classified as "glowworms". They are as big as a paperclip and there are 2,000 kinds of them. Lucky for us Minnesotans, fireflies love humid climates that have a lot of moisture. There is a light organ under their abdomen, which is how they produce the heat-less glow. It works like this: they breath in oxygen, the oxygen mixes with a substance called luciferin, and boom! There is light. So cool.

Jack-O-Lantern Mushroom (Omphalotus Olearius)  //

These mushrooms actually glow, plus they fit in with the season. In the daylight, they are orange. Their bioluminescence, the glow effect, in dark conditions. The entire mushroom is not glowing, though, only the gills do. Similar to fireflies, this is due to luciferin. The only downside about them is that they are in fact poisonous to humans... Bummer.

Dinoflagellates  //

This is by far the prettiest marine plankton I have ever seen! They are part of the phenomenon called "red tide" when they are in large groups. They sometimes appear in freshwater, not just salt. Another cool fact is that they are also sometimes involved in a symbiotic relationship with coral. You can also surf on it too, which creates some amazing shots!