Natural Systems Include All of Nature: Living Systems, Geology, Water, and Air


The NSWG is actively looking for folks to help in 2018.

Content curators: we have a few topics in mind, and are open to more. Set up webinars or focused discussions. The individual will select a topic and suggest papers for an informal discussion. They will also work with leadership to suggest a webinar speaker on the topic.

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NSWG priorities for 2018 are:
  • support for inclusion of natural systems in system engineering and architecture
  • coordination with the VINE systemology cluster of NASA Virtual Interchange for Nature Inspired Exploration.
Webinars and activities for 2018:

  • Pattern Alphabet (9/21/18, Na2ure)
  • On-going sessions with NASA Vine Systemology cluster (on tools for biom* / the SE tool chain).
  • Presentation on design challenges for bio-inspired tool evaluation. (George Studor)
Topics being considered for INCOSE IW 2019 could be added based on group interest:
  • Working with the INCOSE Tools, Modeling, and/or Resilient systems working groups

INCOSE Natural Systems Working Group (NSWG)

Chair:  Curt McNamara    Co-chair:  Randy Anway

September Webinar
Alex Wolf and Vijal Parikh
September 21st Noon CDT

The Pattern Alphabet

In 2016, na2ure jointly released the Pattern Alphabet at RISD Design Science and MIT Sandbox Summit to great acclaim as a powerfully simple and versatile tool to aid learning and creativity. In 2018, Alex Wolf and Dr. Vijal Parikh introduced the system at NASA's Biocene Conference on biomimetic solutions for design, engineering and space exploration.

The patterns included in the alphabet are the most essential building blocks that nature uses to build in 2 and 3 dimensions and describe phenomena, encompassing complex growth, geometry and symmetry. The goal of this pattern set is to create a universal, non-verbal language to visualize math in a way that humans can understand by non-verbal reasoning, including at preverbal ages. Before children can speak, they recognize patterns - just as animals do, as visual and kinetic ideas.

Such a powerful tool is also an instinctual one - the pattern recognition skills we have developed as survival skills from an earlier human era can be harnessed to the active visualization skills we have developed more recently in the uniquely human parts of the brain. It also connects us “back” to nature by wiring our vision to find inspiration in nature, as well as see the inspiration from nature in man made designs.This “biomimicry lens” is meant to continue and sharpen with the child throughout their education. 

This 1:13 minute video is a helpful introduction to our in depth presentation for INCOSE on Friday 9/21/2018.

Alex Wolf developed one side of her brain at Exeter and the other side at RISD, and has been integrating both sides ever since.

Working with Milton Glaser in the 80’s, setting typeface in the pre-digital era inspired a series of children’s books and animations, called the story of x. Working with master florist Kurt Rausch in the 90’s, gave an understanding of how nature’s patterns and structures inform the way we see.

As a new mother in the 00’s, Alex was shocked by the (lack of) selection of nature and biology games and toys on the market. Galvanized by her previous work designing for young minds, she decided to fill the void herself. Years of research on biology, cognition and education followed, alongside prototypes and testing her child and others.

While games are the vehicle to transmit ideas, she focuses on platform design, and na2ure is an ideas company, rather than a product company. The Periodic Table for Biology released as an app ferret and the analog Ani-gram-it game. The Pattern Alphabet first shown at at RISD Design Science and Sandbox Summit at MIT, in April 2016, has many forms it can take to reach its target audience. Alex is currently focusing on two complementary modules of hands on exhibit components and activity cards. The newest idea in the suite of visual platforms, the Motion ABC,  will address children 4-24 months, and continue into the Pattern ABC.

Vijal Parikh is fascinated by the brain and how we learn.

He is a consulting psychiatrist for ThriveNYC- MHSC. He has a private practice where he focus on issues related to depression, anxiety and sleep. He graduated from Cornell University, after which he received his medical degree from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, and completed his fellowship training in Public Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center after finishing four years of adult psychiatry residency.

Vijal’s interest in early STEAM learning harks back to the magnet programs he attended in school, science competitions such as the Intel Science Talent Search, research projects as a mechanical and chemical engineering intern at Cooper Union, and as a researcher at Arecibo Space Telescope funded by the National Science Foundation.

He plays several instruments, codes and is passionate about the arts in its many forms, and hopes to find the intersection of where science and design meets, and where technology can expedite medicine.


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INCOSE Natural Systems Working Group (NSWG)

Chair:  Curt McNamara    Co-chair:  Randy Anway
https://sites.google.com/site/incosenswg      nswg-info@incose.org