Biomimicry

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Scientists Look to Nature for Design Inspiration

by Shawn Radcliffe

In the quest for innovative and functional designs, many scientists are now turning to nature for inspiration. Known as biomimicry, or bio-inspired design, this approach has taken scientists in many new directions, with potential applications for medicine, search-and-rescue, toxic waste cleanup, and consumer product design.

Scientists are approaching their work from many different angles. They are building tiny machines using living cells, creating micro-robots based on insects, building synthetic fibers similar to those found in real creatures, and using artificial intelligence to engineer machines and parts that resemble something you’d find in nature.

This PBS NewsHour report takes you into the laboratories of scientists at the leading edge of this field, one that blurs the boundaries between the animate and the inanimate.

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