Junior, Honora LaRock, won the Biomimicry division in the 2022 US Super STEM competition for her design of the "Super Umbrella".
Biomimicry is the use of our environment to inspire engineering projects. Honora used a plant known as an Alocasia stingray. The Alocasia stingray is native to southeast asia, a place with extremely high amounts of rainfall. It has to make use of its leaves in a way so that while it doesn't catch water it also has access to a lot of light. The Alocasia’s concave and tilted shape allows this to happen. Honora mimicked this in my design by shaping the webbing so it would filter water in specific directions and prevent the umbrella from being waterlogged. Honora’s umbrella is meant to mimic multiple alocasia leaves resting next to each other creating a dome.
Also inspired by the Alocasia stingray was the way Honora used material for constructing webbing. While building this umbrella Honora originally struggled creating the “drip tips”. Drip tips are areas on plants that cause water to be directed in very specific ways. In the Umbrella she created pseudo drip tips by cutting material into a tiered formation and also adding skewer supports to the bottom edges of the Umbrella to allow it to maintain its shape.