Director Sam Stier again helped lead BioFest, an annual event for several hundred middle school students in the mid-Michigan region. During the two-day outdoor event, students learn how to use the bio-inspired design process and go on to develop their own original design concepts. This year, the 6th annual BioFest event, student concepts included the “Bladder Bus”, a vehicle that can change the amount of air in its wheels to match the needs of the terrain. For instance, on wet, soggy ground, the wheels enlarge, allowing for more stable, reliable travel and less soil compaction. The idea of the innovation came from the bladders of fish, which can change their air volume to adjust a fish’s position in the water column. The event is funded by the Mid-Michigan Medical Center, through its community engagement program and emphasis on the value of Nature for preventative health.

Middle school finalists in the 6th annual BioFest bio-inspired design contest.