Biomimetics

Design inspired by nature. Biomimetics is the application of methods and systems found in nature to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology. The transfer of technology between lifeforms and synthetic constructs is desirable because evolutionary pressure typically forces natural systems to become highly optimized and efficient. A classical example is the development of dirt- and water-repellent paint (coating) from the observation that the surface of the lotus flower plant is practically unsticky for anything (the lotus effect). Examples of bionics in engineering include the hulls of boats imitating the thick skin of dolphins; sonar, radar, and medical ultrasound imaging imitating the echolocation of bats; and the arch imitating the spinal column. In the field of computer science, the study of bionics has produced artificial neurons, artificial neural networks, and swarm intelligence.

robotic scorpion

For decades, scientists have looked to scorpions and other eight- and six-legged creatures for inspiration. Imagine a creature that can withstand extreme termperatures-from below freezing to a brutal 120 degrees F- and survive in almost any environment on earth. Scorpions are among the best-adapted animals in the world. Now imagine a creature that can mow your lawn, vacuum your living room, guard a museum, build a car and explore the surface of Mars all without oxygen or food. Combine the best features of these animals and the technology of science and you can understand how scientists have been using robots designed after scorpions for years.

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