Biomimicry for Young Children – Inspired by Endangered Dugongs – Donald Dugong Seacleaner

Meet Donald Dugong Seacleaner!

The graceful dugongs spend time eating seagrass from the bottom of the sea. Seagrass is important to save.

We wrote a story about Doctor Delia Dugong who saved the seagrass. We also reversed the thinking and ended up with an idea where we take something away from the sea that does not belong there.

Reversal is a common creative thinking tool and many great innovations have been developed by using this thinking method. You simply reverse the problem or challenge by asking,”How could I achieve the opposite effect?”

It is difficult to estimate how much of the plastic rubbish that ends up in the ocean each year that has sunk to the bottom of the sea. The true figure of plastic pollution could be much higher. And this is where Donald Dugong Seacleaner comes in.

What if we could build a flexible robo that could eat plastic rubbish from the bottom of the sea? Just like the dugong has bristles the robo could have bristles that help the robo to sort the rubbish into different categories.

There are different types of plastic rubbish, for examle:

  • Fizzy drink and water bottles. Salad trays.
  • Milk bottles, cleaners and most shampoo bottles.
  • Carrier bags, and packaging films.
  • Margarine tubs, microwaveable meal trays.
  • Yoghurt pots, foam hamburger boxes and egg cartons and plastic cutlery.

We made a big tube so that Donald Dugong Seacleaner could suck in bigger items such as water bottles. And several smaller ones to deal with smaller items such as carrier bags.

So now Delia and Donald can work together!


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