Biomimicry of Things (BioT)
BioT = (Incoming swarm of “smart”, IoT devices) + (Nature’s tried-and-true design patterns) = (More sustainable, circular economy)
What are you passionate about? [public]
I am extremely passionate about emerging technologies. Humans have already undergone three revolutions: agricultural, industrial, and digital. We are just starting the fourth. It involves a deep convergence of next-gen techs. I believe it will look something like this: blockchain/cryptocurrency/AI as back-end security/payment/facilitation system, IoT sensors/networks as middle transport layer, and robotics/3D-printing/synthetic biology/smart materials/aerospace as human-facing end points. I strive to be as multidisciplinary as possible in order to become a thought-leader of this new wave.
Your Prize Concept
If you are selected as a Visioneer, you will develop a prize concept in collaboration with a company sponsor, fellow innovators, and the XPRIZE team. This may or may not be the challenge concept you propose in this application.
What do you prize? [public]
I prize vision, ingenuity, proactivity, and perseverance. They all reinforce each other, and the greatest innovators share these traits.
What Grand Challenge do you propose a prize competition should solve? [public]
My Grand Challenge proposal is to develop the most resource-saving, useful, and novel BioT application. It must include at least one IoT device (if not a mesh network of them), and it must be directly inspired by nature. IoTs include “smart” appliances, wearables, medical devices, sensors, robotics, drones, 3D-printers, vehicles, infrastructure, and swarm intelligence.
So why mimic nature? Well, for over 3.8 billions years, many organisms underwent countless evolutionary upgrades to evolve into the complex beings we know today, including homo sapiens. Despite our civilizational advancements, we are far from omniscient. In fact, the best innovations on Earth might not even been ours. We emulate honeybee colony’s foraging of nectar to better manage internet hosting centers. We design sensory technologies based on plants’ nervous systems. These solutions are all free and open-sourced.
Yet we can and need to apply more biomimicry to our still-unnatural economy. Our environment is worsening due to pollution and chemical waste. Fortunately, with more incoming cheap IoT devices, I believe we have a new transformative opportunity to merge tech with nature. Hence this challenge.
What would the world look like when the Grand Challenge is solved? [public]
I see the BioT-powered world embodying two intellectual paradigm shifts. First is the economic shift from a linear to a circular, Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) economy. Second and perhaps more consequential is our philosophy regarding our relation with nature. Humanity has long fought and conquered nature to become “predominant”. Now our maturing attitude may evolve from hubris and paternalism to reverence and stewardship.
“It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility.” ~Rachel Carson