According to Fuller, comprehensive anticipatory design makes "the world work for one hundred percent of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."
That's a tall order, and the best way to fill, Fuller said, was to do "the most with the least." He looked to nature for inspiration, where waste is not tolerated.d Taking a cue from the aerodynamic form of birds and the maneuverability of fishtails, Fuller conceived of the Dymaxion Car, a three-wheeled, V-8 vehicle that got 30 miles to the gallon. It caused quite a stir at the 1934 Chicago World's Fair. But after a prototype crashed and killed a driver, the idea and the car disappeared into history.
The biomimetic design itself was flawed, Keats points out, and too rigidly tied to the form of fish and fowl, which travel by water or air, not land.
"The grand challenge of biomimesis," Keats writes, "is to conceptually dissect a complex organism, severing useful traits from the living system in which they evolved, and transplanting them to a system that can be engineered."