Biomimetics and Biomimicry in Engineering

Posts Tagged ‘Comment’

The Future Engineer podcast engineer

In Seminars and Keynotes on 2015/02/10 at 11:23 am

STEM XX 016 episode is on the importance of multidisciplinary engineering, the power of positive thinking and biomimetics – learning from nature to solve our technical problems.

If you have ~30min to spare, have a listen and please leave comments below and tell me what you think. Thanks!

You can listen to it here and download it here.


Heriot-Watt & Moredun Research Institute Exchange

In Comment, Knowledge Transfer on 2011/02/27 at 6:17 pm

Just back from Peebles. Idyllic place south of Edinburgh and before the Borders. A great place to think, talk and meet delightful people. Some of them from my own organisation.

We spoke about these common issues:

(c) A. Miller & Wordle


Well into the afternoons and evenings:


(c) A. Miller

It is always important to keep in mind that there is a thin line that separated technology transfer (or providing a service) from true multidisciplinary research. This is always worth exploring, as one thing might take you to the other.


Free doesn’t mean cheap

In Comment, Funding on 2010/12/23 at 12:12 pm

The turmoil provoked by the tight vote result on the raise of the university tuition fees in England this past few weeks finds its antithesis in the clear message coming from Scotland’s Universities. We do not want the English model. Professor King, convener of Universities Scotland made an statement that most of us working in Higher Education Institutions share: “the ability to pay must not become what determines whether someone goes to University in Scotland or not”. Two options seem to outstand in this case, both of them with inherent advantages and disadvantages for the different stakeholders: on the one hand, 100% public funding for tuition fees, on the other, the ‘subsidised degrees’ formula, in which public funding is topped-up with graduate contributions. In the meantime that Scottish Government decides how to maintain student places and also keeps our Universities competitive in research in the UK and worldwide, a concurrent debate is open within Universities: how will we manage to keep offering our current and prospective students the quality of experience they deserve with a decimated funding stream from Government.

In a highly competitive jobs market, Universities and Higher Education Institutions have a large share of responsibility in ensuring that our graduating students are equipped with the skills and experiences to support their chances of securing employment upon graduation. In Heriot-Watt University we are aware of the necessity to have transferable and lifelong learning skills in addition to in-depth factual knowledge of the different subject areas. Being entrepreneurial ourselves, there is an emphasis on active participation and innovative problem solving that we transmit to our students. Practical applications, learning by doing; enterprising students who interact with companies as early as during their undergraduate degrees and are exposed to work in industry from early on. In all of this we believe, as these are essential when a newly graduate tries to position herself in the competitive market place. We want to continue doing this, and to encourage enrolment of motivated and ambitious students from all social backgrounds. Although this will certainly become tougher with less funding and less resources, we all (i.e. lecturers, researchers, students, admin personnel) must continue delivering the same excellence that Sottish Universities are renown for.

Students coming to study in Scotland have to be aware that ‘free’ (or quasi-free) does not mean cheap, and consequently make the most of the opportunity that they are given, valuing it as much as if they were paying £9k from their own pockets.

My interpretation

In Comment on 2010/04/03 at 11:45 pm

It is frustrating to see the term ‘biomimetics’ listed next to quite disconnected terms such as ‘natural design’, ‘human emergence’, ‘natural foods’, ‘community work’, or even ‘women leadership’.

I strongly defend that the adoption of biomimicry and biomimetic methods in engineering demands from us a new viewpoint, a mindset shift where design problems are not tackled in isolation, where manufacturing techniques go beyond a simple fabrication: the efficient use of raw materials, the engineering of smart properties and their functionalities, and the sustainable approach to disposal and re-manufacture. Nature inspires these processes because she is efficient, smart and sustainable. She has no choice and this is an important lesson.

However, the consideration of ‘healing’, ‘energy reading’ and ‘cultural ecology’ as part of biomimetics is taking the statement a step too far. At least for me. I would love to hear what you think. Leave a comment below.