“I have a friend who’s an artist and he’s sometimes taken a view which I don’t agree with very well. He’ll hold up a flower and say, “look how beautiful it is,” and I’ll agree. And he says, “you see, I, as an artist, can see how beautiful this is, but you as a scientist, oh take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing.” And I think he’s kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, although I might not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is.

But I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside which also have a beauty. . . The fact that the colors in the flower are evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting – it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question – does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? . . . A science knowledge only adds to the excitement and mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don’t understand how it subtracts.” – Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize winning physicist once told on television.

Quote – Bly, Adam. Introduction. Science Is Culture: Conversations at the New Intersection of Science + Society. New York: Harper Perennial, 2010. X. pag. Print.

I often wonder different things could be if we designed them for pure function like a protein.

Cover art – Peony Watercolor by British Artist Marie Burke

Proteins are responsible for nearly every task of cellular life, including, cell shape, inner organization, waste cleanup, product manufacture and routine maintenance. Proteins also communicate. They receive signals from outside the cell and mobilize intracellular response. My interest to design from the eyeglass of a protein or cellular level is one) function and two) structure; how a business, product or economic system expresses through function.

Flower’s don’t need to advertise or say they’re beautiful because they’re nitrogen satisfied. They just are. It’s apart of their function. Or inherit design.

Few examples: Protein Structure.

Protein structure dictates where a protein will act and what it will do. The hull of the factory trawler I’m designing will be exposed to conditions outside of my control. As a designer though I can pull from different proteins.

Like sharks.

Shark skin is covered by tiny V-shaped scales called dermal denticles.

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Denticles decrease drag and turbulence allowing the shark to swim faster and more quietly. Olympian swimsuit designers have actually created a fabric that mimics the proportion of the shark’s denticles improving a swimmer’s speed. My interest the denticles is the shape of them.

Denticles allow sharks to move with less noise, more stealth and unlike whales, without corrosion and electrolysis. Barnacles. (Whales get barnacles but sharks don’t. Why?) Corrosion and electrolysis is a big maintenance / overhead problem for vessel owners.

My theory is that the longitude feature of the V shaped denticle is to reinforce the direction of water flow by channeling it creating a vortices, further pulling the water lowering the energetic costs of swimming by diffusing the water. Okay so sharks don’t get barnacles because the denticles are creating a catalytic something that doesn’t allow electricity or _____________ to bond to them?

I don’t know. 

So the question as I’m designing becomes: To or not to use 3D printed denticles when designing the hull?



This is Casey. The engineer who gave me a tour of the Araho at the Eastern Shipbuilding Group in Panama City, Florida. It’s a new Amendment 80 vessel the O’hara Company is building.

If you have a chance check their Facebook page. You can watch the progress of the boat or my favorite the side launch.

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Note the image above. When moving sharks swim laterally while whales move vertically or in a wave like motion.

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Side to side verses up and down.

Why I’m chewing over the denticles as design move as a protein is that boats ‘jog’. Structurally boats move like whales. Boats jog up and down in the water and to keep balance or adjust for external forces like the wind when they heel.

Vessel’s heel when they’re not upright as the result of an external force or turning. The tighter the turn and the faster the boat is going, the tighter the heel. 

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And boats can reverse.

Sharks can’t stop suddenly or swim backwards. (I’m going to say it has something to do with the direction and layout their skin.) Touch a shark head to tail and their skin will feel smooth. Reverse moving your hand tail-to-head and the skin will feel corse, like sandpaper. So I have to pause the idea of using denticles as a design move because I need the boat to reverse.

Or find something else like the Orca or penguin.

Orcas aren’t whales. Their dolphins. My interest in them (again thinking about the hull) is their skin. Orcas don’t have barnacles but whales do. Why? 

And penguins? Penguins use air to decrease drag when swimming through the water. Mitsubishi is has designed a technology like this for their tankers called the Mitsubishi Air Lubrication System (MALS).

“The technology works by reducing frictional resistance between the vessel hull and seawater using air bubbles along the bottom of the ship. According to Mitsubishi the ADM vessels will also feature a high-efficiency hull and a newly designed bow shape that will reduce wave-making resistances.To further enhance propulsion and reduce CO2 emissions.”

Proteins Function “Protein Function.” Nature Publishing Group, n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.

Protein and Gene Expression Structure “Proteins and Gene Expression.” Ed. Laura Vargas Parada. Nature Publishing Group, n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.

Shark Denticles “Biomimicry Shark Denticles.” Smithsonian Ocean Portal, Find Your Blue. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.

Denticles Longitude Feature Kok, Albert. “Skin Reduces Drag: Shark.” AskNature. Zygote Quarterly, n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2015. +

3D Printed Denticles Webb, Jonathan. “3D Printing Reveals the Power of Shark Skin – BBC News.” BBC News, Science and Environment. BBC News, 15 May 2014. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.

Heel and Angle Heel Stability. Sail Skills, n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2015.

Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) and Mitsubishi Team Up To Blow Bubbles Archer Daniels Midland Company is an American global food processing and commodities trading corporation.

Mitsubishi reduces friction on ship hulls by blowing bubbles

Technology Makes Ships More Efficient by Blowing Tiny Air Bubbles

How a ‘Ghost’ boat cruises on a tunnel of bubbles

Another example is the car I’ve designed.

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Each protein or design part of the car dictated by where it acts and what it does.

Tesla’s vision is to move from a car company to energy platform. By internalizing the secondary market through a catabolic process buyback program the company doesn’t have to expend energy acquiring new resources. Build from modular and nested components in-situ resources, leveraging cyclical processes and maintaining integrity through self renewal an ecological efficiency through catabolic and anabolic processes. Not only is the car a protein but the company becomes one itself. 

Both delight and market themselves.

Or the NFL jersey I designed to promote STEM.

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The story becomes the protein giving shape and inner organization to how kids see STEM.

Or the bank.

People don’t understand the bank because yes, I have a lot on the website but the point of a biomimetic bank is that it can be satiated.

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There’s cellular inhibition.

No overgrazing or capricious behavior. Just operating. On the basis of functions instead of rights.

People don’t understand the bank website because I switch between proteins; the bank as a protein and the economy as a protein itself.

Each ones a protein, that functions and markets itself.

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  1. Pingback: Selling out | Delany's Space

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