Training Mechanical Engineering Students to Utilize Biological Inspiration During Product Development

Bioinspir Biomim. 2007 Dec;2(4):S198-209. doi: 10.1088/1748-3182/2/4/S08. Epub 2007 Oct 16.


The use of bio-inspiration for the development of new products and devices requires new educational tools for students consisting of appropriate design and manufacturing technologies, as well as curriculum. At the University of Maryland, new educational tools have been developed that introduce bio-inspired product realization to undergraduate mechanical engineering students. These tools include the development of a bio-inspired design repository, a concurrent fabrication and assembly manufacturing technology, a series of undergraduate curriculum modules and a new senior elective in the bio-inspired robotics area. This paper first presents an overview of the two new design and manufacturing technologies that enable students to realize bio-inspired products, and describes how these technologies are integrated into the undergraduate educational experience. Then, the undergraduate curriculum modules are presented, which provide students with the fundamental design and manufacturing principles needed to support bio-inspired product and device development. Finally, an elective bio-inspired robotics project course is present, which provides undergraduates with the opportunity to demonstrate the application of the knowledge acquired through the curriculum modules in their senior year using the new design and manufacturing technologies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena / education*
  • Biomimetics / methods*
  • Biomimetics / organization & administration
  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Professional / methods*
  • Education, Professional / organization & administration
  • Engineering / education*
  • Equipment Design / methods*
  • Maryland
  • Mechanics*
  • Universities / organization & administration