February 16, 2014 | David F. Coppedge

Biomimetics Quiz

Match the living thing with the technology being developed by imitating its design features.

  1. Common household birds     _______    A.  Surgical robot
  2. Arctic cod      ___________________    B.  Self-organizing robots
  3. Mollusks       _____________________    C.  Strong, lightweight building blocks
  4. Termites       _____________________    D.  Self-guided robot
  5. Human hand       ___________________    E.  Blood preservative
  6. Cells      ________________________    F.  Underwater robot
  7. Bone      _________________________    G.  Perching drone
  8. Honeybee     _____________________    H.  Synthetic fuel
  9. Bacteria     _____________________    I.  Strong, lightweight structures
  10. Sea snake      ____________________    J.  Shatterproof glass
  11. Wrinkled fingers      _____________    K.  Camouflage materials
  12. Cuttlefish       ___________________    L.  Genetic switches
  13. RNA interference       _____________    M.  Energy-absorbing material

Answers:  1-G (New Scientist); 2-E (Science Daily); 3-J (Science Daily); 4-B (Live Science, National Geographic); 5-A (Medical Xpress); 6-C (Science Daily): 7-I (PhysOrg); 8-D (Science Daily); 9-H (PhysOrg); 10-F (PhysOrg); 11-M (Science Daily); 12-K (PhysOrg); 13-L (Science Daily)

Now take the upper-division test.  It’s a work problem.  Go out into the yard and observe some living thing.  Find something interesting about its abilities.  Look into how its design makes it work.  Think of a technology that could imitate that design.  Warning:  This exercise may tempt you to chuck Chuck,* become an entrepreneur and make a lot of money.  “Observing the natural world can clearly lead to improved man-made designs” (Science Daily).

*I.e., to abandon Charles Darwin.  This causes his defenders to up Chuck.



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