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Scientists and engineers apply nature's design to human problems

Copying the ideas of others is usually frowned upon, but when it comes to the work of Mother Nature, scientists are finding they can use nature as a template.

An interdisciplinary group of scientists and engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology recently formed the Center for Biologically Inspired Design (CBID) with the goal of capitalizing on the rich source of design solutions present in biological processes. The researchers believe nature can inspire design and engineering solutions that are efficient, practical and sustainable and thus have the potential to greatly enhance new technologies, materials and processes.

"Biology can be a powerful guide to understanding problems in design and engineering," said Associate Professor of Biology Marc Weissburg, CBID co-director. "In comparative physiology, we teach that every animal has to solve a particular problem to survive, so every animal is a design solution for a particular problem.

"They can provide solutions for more efficient manufacturing and design of materials with new capabilities, for example. These are things the biological world has solved, and if you study them, you have the opportunity to apply that knowledge in the human sector. You can also extend that reasoning to ecological processes. These are guiding principles behind the Georgia Tech Center for Biologically Inspired Design."CBID's mission is to promote world-class interdisciplinary research and education at Georgia Tech in biologically inspired design. CBID researchers also want to communicate to government and industry officials that nature can provide unique design solutions to the problems they must address.CBID director and Professor of Biology Jeannette Yen is beginning this process with an invited talk on the center's mission and activities on Oct. 29 at the Bioneers Southeast Forum on the Atlanta campus of the Savannah College of Art & Design. This conference is one of 20 similar "town hall" meetings held
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Source:Georgia Institute of Technology Research News


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