Some answers to common questions about bio-inspiration and bio-inspired research.
What is bio-inspiration?
Bio-inspiration, also known as biomimicry, is the practice of looking to nature and biological systems for inspiration in order to solve human problems and design better technologies. This can involve studying the structures, processes, and behaviors of living organisms in order to develop new materials, technologies, and systems that are more efficient, sustainable, and resilient. For example, studying the structure of a lotus leaf and its ability to repel water can inspire the development of water-repellent materials for use in clothing or building materials. Bio-inspiration is a growing field that draws on the vast diversity of life on earth to develop new solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity, including climate change, resource depletion, and sustainable development.
What is bio-inspired research?
Bio-inspired research is a field of scientific inquiry that draws inspiration from nature in order to develop new technologies, materials, and approaches to solving human problems. This research often involves studying the mechanisms and processes found in living organisms and using this knowledge to design and engineer new systems and materials that can be used in a variety of applications.
Examples of bio-inspired research include the development of biomimetic materials that mimic the strength and flexibility of natural materials such as spider silk or bone, the creation of self-healing materials that can repair themselves when damaged, and the study of natural systems such as swarms of insects or flocks of birds in order to develop more efficient algorithms for use in artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Bio-inspired research is an interdisciplinary field that draws on expertise from biology, physics, chemistry, engineering, and materials science, among other disciplines, in order to develop innovative solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity, including sustainable energy, environmental protection, and human health.
In the case of the NCCR Bio-Inspired Materials, this means:
- to take inspiration from natural materials to establish design rules and strategies for the creation of macromolecular and nanomaterial-based building blocks and their assembly into complex, hierarchically ordered stimuli-responsive materials with new and desirable properties;
- develop a predictive understanding for the interactions of such materials with living cells;
- and use the generated knowledge to develop innovative applications, particularly in the biomedical field.