What Does Biomimetics Mean?

Biomimetics is the term for the use of natural models in technology innovation. In other words, in biomimetics, humans seek to use natural examples and natural systems to inform the process of building some technology.


Techopedia Explains Biomimetics

The term and the concept of biomimetics is as old as ancient Greece. For many centuries, humans have tried to observe natural models in order to improve man-made systems. Classic examples of biomimetics include Velcro, where the hooked structures of the material were modeled after naturally occurring materials, and the evolution of the airplane and other flying machines as contemplated by da Vinci, the Wright Brothers and others over a number of centuries. In fact, one major use of biomimetics is the study of aerodynamics in natural evolved systems, in order to create better man-made flying machines for human travel or other purposes.

Other more modern types of biomimetics may involve creating zero-waste systems, advancing the agility of consumer products – (better aerodynamics, lighter weight) and other types of "borrowing" from natural systems.

Many of these are physical processes – they use physical attributes of natural systems to build products that enhance human activity. But others may be more research-based – for instance, scientists can study autonomic systems involving mass movement or behavior, in order to advance different kinds of learning technologies. These types of biomimetics are less individual and physical, and more theoretical and based on collective research.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.