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Scientists and engineers apply nature's design to human problems

hat of an "invasive" species, with the Center as the new species and Georgia Tech as the established community that is productive and successful. "Invasive species can have a negative connotation, but we're not talking about disrupting the community," Weissburg explained. "We're talking about augmenting it and adding to its functionality and activity. We used the analogy of a new species trying to fit into a community as a way to think about what our center could do to increase the productivity of the Tech 'ecosystem.'"

As CBID encourages interaction among its initial 17 members, Yen expects an increase in biomimetic research ?that is, research in biologically inspired design. Already, however, biomimetic research projects are under way in biosensing, materials design, locomotory devices, systems organization and "green" technology.

Examples include:

  • Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Minami Yoda is developing an auditory retina based on the fish ear.
  • School of Materials Science and Engineering Professor Ken Sandhage and School of Chemistry and Biochemistry Assistant Professor Nils Kr�ger explore nanostructure synthesis via the self-assembled, biomineralized template -- the marine diatom.
  • Tovey is designing Web-hosting optimization techniques based on the foraging strategy of honey bees.
  • Assistant Professor of Applied Physiology Young-Hui Chang and Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Lena Ting use neuro-mechanical control principles derived from animals to engineer prosthetics and robots.

Yen noted that biomimetry even offers inspiration for the way students -- and faculty ?learn. "Like animals, we can learn by playing," Yen explained. "We're looking to nature as our template."

WRITER: Jane Sanders


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Source:Georgia Institute of Technology Research News


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