Biomimetics is an interdisciplinary approach that aims to explore the potential of biological systems, systematically analyse their functional principles, transfer these principles into technology, and hence improve quality of life. Similarly, the related disciplines of biomimicry and bioinspired design take inspiration from nature to solve problems in society and engineering. Wageningen University & Research (WUR) works on many facets of biomimetics.
Why look at nature for innovative solutions?
Life has conquered the whole planet. Crustaceans swarm on underwater volcanoes in the deep sea, cactuses grow in scorching deserts, and geese can fly over Mount Everest. In the course of evolution, animals and plants adapted to survive the challenging conditions posed by their respective lifestyles and environments. These adaptations represent creative solutions to fundamental problems, many of which we also face in our highly technologised world. For example, animals can move more efficiently from A to B than any manmade device. Multi-functional materials and smart architectures of organisms make body parts lightweight yet strong. Sophisticated appendages allow skillful mechanical interactions with the environment, of which robotics engineers can only dream.
Examples of biomimetics research
Biomimetic research and design are strongly rooted throughout various research groups at Wageningen University & Research. Below are examples of our research.