April 8, 2014 | David F. Coppedge

Biomimetics Is All About Design Inspiration

Scientists wouldn’t rush to design things after nature’s examples if they weren’t well designed.

A steady stream of scientific papers and news articles shows that imitating nature (biomimetics) remains a scientific bonanza after years of breakthroughs.  Here are a dozen recent examples of biological designs from a wide variety of organisms:

  1. Blowfly inspires mini-drone.  (Live Science, Evolution News & Views)
  2. Human lungs inspire unbreakable security codes. (Science Daily)
  3. Photosynthesis inspires fuel cell.  (PhysOrg)
  4. Oyster inspires windshields and military armor. (Science Magazine, Live Science)
  5. Biological muscle inspires engineered muscle.  (PNAS, Medical Xpress)
  6. Mother-of-pearl inspires super-strong material.  (Science Daily)
  7. Starling murmurations (Guideposts) inspire student’s octocopter drone.  (PhysOrg)
  8. Flying snakes inspire gliding suits.  (Live Science)
  9. Human brain inspires light-based computer chip.  (Science Daily)
  10. Bombardier beetle inspires ATM cash safeguard.  (PhysOrg)
  11. Hagfish slime inspires strong threads.  (Science Daily)
  12. Moth eye inspires glare-proof coating on solar panels.  (Science Daily)

The most common word in these articles is “inspire.”  Have scientists ever been so inspired since they looked at an organism and found a workable design?

The biomimetics revolution is still hot.  Get your precocious students into the movement.  It will be the end of Darwinism, and the beginning of a new design-based way of thinking that will bring a cornucopia of benefits to the world.

Exercise: Which of these articles mentioned evolution?  Was evolutionary theory relevant to the design work?


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