Researchers a Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne have developed a technique that can be used for both, fabricating bio-inspired robots and secondly, furnishing them with higher configurations. Their newly constructed platform also helps in examining and researching robot designs along with their various modes of locomotion. Result of their platform is the production of complex yet reconfigurable microrobots – the nanobots can change their own shape by rearranging the connectivity of their parts- with high throughput.
Janine Benyus helped bring the word “biomimicry” into 21st century vocabularies. What is biomimicry? Let Benyus explain in this video.
Janine Benyus helped bring the word biomimicry into 21st century vocabularies in her 1997 book on the subject. Her company, The Biomimicry Group, encourages biologists at the design table to ask: how would nature design this? She says our human society will create a more sustainable world in part by emulating the natural organisms all around us, which have already gone through billions of years of trial and error to find elegant and amazing solutions to process and design problems.
by Lisa Novacek
Can cities learn from nature? Shannon Royden-Turner unpacks the principles of biomimicry as a way to effectively and sustainably move cities forward.
“We’re stuck in a paradigm of not even realizing we’re part of nature” states Shannon Royden Turner, director at Actuality (formally know as in/formal south) during an interview in her Cape Town office on Long Street. With over 15 years of experience, Shannon’s works with local & provincial government, community members, community leaders, NGOs and corporate organisations to uncover solutions that consider the interrelationship between complex components of cities.
Scientists at the University of Sheffield have created a computer model of how bees avoid hitting walls – which could be a breakthrough in the development of autonomous robots.
Researchers from the Department of Computer Science built their computer model to look at how bees use vision to detect the movement of the world around them and avoid crashes.
Bees control their flight using the speed of motion – or optic flow – of the visual world around them, but it is not known how they do this. The only neural circuits so far found in the insect brain can tell the direction of motion, not the speed.
This study suggests how motion-direction detecting circuits could be wired together to also detect motion-speed, which is crucial for controlling bees’ flight.
“Honeybees are excellent navigators and explorers, using vision extensively in these tasks, despite having a brain of only one million neurons,” said Dr Alex Cope, lead researcher on the paper.
“Understanding how bees avoid walls, and what information they can use to navigate, moves us closer to the development of efficient algorithms for navigation and routing – which would greatly enhance the performance of autonomous flying robotics”, he added.
Professor James Marshall, lead investigator on the project, added: “This is the reason why bees are confused by windows – since they are transparent they generate hardly any optic flow as bees approach them.”
Dr Cope and his fellow researchers on the project; Dr Chelsea Sabo, Dr Eleni Vasilaki, Professor Kevin Gurney, and Professor James Marshall, are now using this research to investigate how bees understand which direction they are pointing in and use this knowledge to solve tasks.
Their paper entitled ‘A Model for an Angular Velocity-Tuned Motion Detector Accounting for Deviations in the Corridor-Centering Response of the Bee’ is published in PLOS Computational Biology.
by Cat DiStasio
The ongoing quest for renewable energy takes a lot of cues from nature, and here’s one more. A team of scientists from Denmark’s University of Copenhagen has developed a “reverse photosynthesis” process that turns biomass into fuel using the sun’s energy. It’s essentially the opposite of what plants do by converting sunlight into chemical energy – and it could lead to new industrialized forms of clean energy that give fossil fuels a run for their money.