Copying the ideas of others is usually frowned upon, but when it comes to the work of Mother Nature, scientists are finding they can use nature as a template.
An interdisciplinary group of scientists and engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology recently formed the Center for Biologically Inspired Design (CBID) with the goal of capitalizing on the rich source of design solutions present in biological processes. The researchers believe nature can inspire design and engineering solutions that are efficient, practical and sustainable and thus have the potential to greatly enhance new technologies, materials and processes.
"Biology can be a powerful guide to understanding problems in design and engineering," said Associate Professor of Biology Marc Weissburg, CBID co-director. "In comparative physiology, we teach that every animal has to solve a particular problem to survive, so every animal is a design solution for a particular problem.
Yen noted that biomimetry even offers inspiration for the way students -- and faculty – learn. "Like animals, we can learn by playing," Yen explained. "Were looking to nature as our template."
Jane M. Sanders | EurekAlert!
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