I decided to take the 23 bus back from the lab this evening. Shortly after we left Temple, I witnessed a young mother struggling to collapse a baby stroller just outside the bus while struggling to balance her 3-4 month old daughter in her other arm. Once on the bus, she needed to lift the stroller up and over a support railing, to remove it from the aisle. I aided the woman with the stroller placement and was immediately struck by the weight and awkwardness of this object, despite the fact that this was a simple stroller (still weighing in at 14 lbs and pictured below) that looks far lighter than the popular, souped-up strollers commonly found today.
These “souped-up” strollers (~30+ lbs) feature single finger collapse switches and tout ease of breakdown and set-up, complete with a multi-use car seat, bassinet, and stroller seat, as well as all-terrain wheels. However, while this may ease the convenience of set-up and breakdown after a car ride, what about a stroller for more budget-conscious (or budget-constrained) parents? Where is the simple stroller that can be easily broken down for a bus ride and set-up after exiting the bus, that is also light enough to be handled with one hand by the average 5 foot 4 inch new mom who is also holding a 15 pound baby in the other arm… while being affordable?
So here’s a question to all you creative thinkers out there: Is a redesign of the baby stroller for the modern-day budget-minded consumer overdue? If so, how can biomimetics meet this challenge?
Today is an exciting day, as I will be launching the first class of my new graduate seminar on Biomimetics and Bioinspiration. As of now, there are seven registered students in the class. If you are reading this and are a graduate student at Temple University, please register!! While I would like to keep this course purposefully small, the greater the diversity of students we have join the course, the better!
Here is a quick summary, pulled directly off my syllabus:
“The emerging fields of biomimetics and bioinspiration use biology to inspire solutions to challenging problems, or speed biological progress by reaching outside of biology to other disciplines for inspiration. Common examples include the invention of Velcro, a product mimicking burrs when they stick to fur; or the development of game theory for ecological applications, originating from economic theory. In this course, we will explore how these ideas of biomimetics and bioinspiration permeate our daily lives, examining past and present examples, and creating some of our own.”
This blog is going to serve a couple purposes: (1) an informational resource for students in the course to access course materials and to read about my relevant rantings; and (2) to serve as a teaching resource to the broader educational community.
Please note: all students in the course will also be producing their own blogs, to which I will create links direct from this site… once I figure out how to do it!