Engineered Biomimicry is a documentation of a broad range of research papers by various prominent scientists who aim to solve challenges and innovate by learning from nature. The book is edited by Raul J.Palma, who is a researcher himself and Akhilesh Lakhtakiya, who is also a researcher.
An Evan Pugh University Professor and Charles Godfrey Binder Professor of engineering science and mechanics at the Pennsylvania State University, Akhilesh Lakhtakia, is an Indian who had published well over 20 books. His research focuses on electromagnetic fields in complex materials, chiral materials, bianisotropy, industrially scalable bioreplication, etc.
An Adjunct Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain, Raul J. Martin Palma’s research interests include nanostructures and nanotechnology, optics and photonics, etc.
The two of them have participated in the publishing of another book, Nanotechnology- A crash course, and has also conducted a few research together. The book on nanotechnology was published in 2010 and the engineered Biomimicry was published in 2013. It’s safe to assume that their common interest in Nanotechnology is what brought them together. Some of their research papers have also been included in the book as chapters.
While the book might be of great interest to physicists, engineers and scientists, architects and designers with a good understanding of mathematics and science would also find the book helpful to enable them to think of various possibilities of solving specific problems and also expose them to technologies and materials based on Biomimicry techniques.
This book is more like a textbook than a casual read so you might have to sit down on your desks with a notebook and pencil to understand the book yourself. Usually, readers of this book might skip pages to just read the topics that are of most interest to them initially but might end up reading the whole book over some time
The book starts with a foreword that explains Biomimicry as a process of carefully done abstraction from natural principles of nature rather than directly mimicking nature. Direct mimicry might not be possible at all times because of the complexity of biotic organisms. This chapter also mentions four different approaches to get inspired by Biology.
The following preface starts with interesting situations over time, showing the evolution of human eagerness to fly and how this led to the innovation of flying machines and aircraft. It was a great example to show that it is the core biological functions that need to be replicated rather than the biological structure as you see it.
‘The only difference is that aeroplanes do not flap their wings and the tails of the birds do not have vertical stabilizers.‘
A series of research papers ranging from 20 – 35 pages follow- each chapter explaining an engineering inspiration from nature in detail and concluding with the details of the respective authors.
In an introductory chapter by H.Donald Wolpert, animals are referred to as Olympic athletes that exceed the possibilities of humans in various fields like swimming, running, high jump, long jump, weightlifting, etc. This chapter alone should be able to trigger an inspiration in readers who know nothing about Biomimicry.
The book contains research papers on various topics from the development of vision sensors by understanding and comparing mammal and insect vision systems to genetic programming using the process of evolution.
While some chapters conclude with a design product, some chapters only propose certain conceptual ideas inspired by nature, that can be employed in engineering. Each research paper has a completely different style because of the authors
Biomimetic robots, micro flyers, 3D fabrication of IMBCs, 3D scaffold construction and its fabrication, surface modification and engineering, an unmanned aerial vehicle, importance of biomimesis in tractor engineering, structural colours, coatings, self-healing and self-organisation techniques, solution-based bio replication methods, physical and chemical water layer deposition and Atomic layer deposition are some of the engineering concepts discussed in the book
Ranjan Vepa, Jayant Sirohi, Mohsen Shahinpoor, Princeton Carter, Narayan Bhattarai, Erwin A. Vogler, Javaan Chahl and Akiko Mizutani, Michael S.Ellison, Natalia Dushkina, Blayne M. Phillips and Peng Jiang, Thomas Hesselberg, Torben Lenau, Aditi S. RRisbud and Michael H.Bartl, Lianbing Zhang, Mato Knez, and Wolfgang Banzhaf are some of the practitioners whose research works have been included in the book. Aside from these, even the editors of the book have contributed to some of the chapters.
The takeaway from the book would be that complex problems have already been solved by nature, and all we need is to look and observe. The series of research papers provides the readers with a wide variety of innovations and techniques that can solve various problems. While the whole book can be a hard read for some, every person might ultimately read at least three or four chapters according to their interests.
- Akhlesh Lakhtakia and Martín-PalmaR.J. (2013). Engineered biomimicry. Boston Etc.: Elsevier. Copyright.
- www.sciencedirect.com. (n.d.). Engineered Biomimicry | ScienceDirect. [online] Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/book/9780124159952/engineered-biomimicry [Accessed 25 Apr. 2021].