Biomimetics--using nature to inspire human innovation

Bioinspir Biomim. 2006 Mar;1(1):P1-P12. doi: 10.1088/1748-3182/1/1/P01. Epub 2006 Apr 27.


Evolution has resolved many of nature's challenges leading to lasting solutions. Nature has always inspired human achievements and has led to effective materials, structures, tools, mechanisms, processes, algorithms, methods, systems, and many other benefits (Bar-Cohen Y (ed) 2005 Biomimetics-Biologically Inspired Technologies (Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press) pp 1-552). This field, which is known as biomimetics, offers enormous potential for inspiring new capabilities for exciting future technologies. There are numerous examples of biomimetic successes that involve making simple copies, such as the use of fins for swimming. Others examples involved greater mimicking complexity including the mastery of flying that became possible only after the principles of aerodynamics were better understood. Some commercial implementations of biomimetics, including robotic toys and movie subjects, are increasingly appearing and behaving like living creatures. More substantial benefits of biomimetics include the development of prosthetics that closely mimic real limbs and sensory-enhancing microchips that are interfaced with the brain to assist in hearing, seeing and controlling instruments. A review is given of selected areas that were inspired by nature, and an outlook for potential development in biomimetics is presented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Biomimetic Materials / classification
  • Biomimetics / methods*
  • Biosensing Techniques
  • Diffusion of Innovation*
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Insecta
  • Man-Machine Systems
  • Models, Biological
  • Plant Physiological Phenomena
  • Plants / anatomy & histology
  • Robotics / methods
  • Spiders
  • Technology