EZO-32806 Biomimetics


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work0
Course coordinator(s)MSc JKA Langowski
GJ Amador
Lecturer(s)dr. GW Kootstra
dr. JA Dijksman
GJ Amador
MSc JKA Langowski

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Mathematics (MAT-14803, MAT-14903)

Continuation courses:

Functional Zoology (EZO-30806). Soft Robotics (new proposed course).


Note: this course has a maximum number of participants. The deadline for registration is one week earlier than usual. See academic year: (http://www.wur.nl/en/Education-Programmes/Current-Students/Agenda-Calendar-Academic-Year.htm)->Registration for Courses.
In biomimetics, the structure and function of biological systems are studied to inspire the design of materials, surfaces, instruments, buildings, etc. This course addresses basic skills required for conducting biomimetic research and development. The student is introduced to a range of important topics, such as:
- State-of-the-art and history of biomimetics;
- concepts of biomimetic design;
- the design process (e.g., morphological charts, functional decomposition;
- techniques for analysing biological systems;
- tools for design realisation;
- design evaluation.
In addition to topic discussions, practical work consisting of a mini-research project will apply the studied concepts. Small, interdisciplinary groups of students will analyse the functions and mechanics of a biological system, test the underlying physics using synthetic replicas, and translate the acquired knowledge to technical concepts. The topics that will be addressed to help identify and translate bioinspired solutions include for instance:
- functional surfaces;
- robotics;
- medical instruments;
- material science.
Students deliver written and oral group presentations of the mini-research projects.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- work in an interdisciplinary group environment;
- navigate through the subfields of biomimetics;
- analyse the functionality of biological systems, and to identify the biomimetic potential of these systems;
- obtain a better understanding of the functioning of biological systems by reverse engineering these;
- improve technical systems by the abstraction, transfer and application of knowledge gained from biological systems;
- design and execute mini research projects, including written and oral presentations;
- organize their own learning process based on reflection upon the acquisition of new knowledge in the field of biomimetics.


- follow lectures and study the explained material;
- read scientific papers and synthesise information;
- make quantitative observations of biological mechanisms;
- develop biomimetic concepts within small research projects;
- give oral and written presentations.


- 2 short reports , test of learning outcomes 1,2,3,4;
- 2 oral presentations, test of learning outcomes 1,6,7;
- 2 group reports, test of learning outcomes 1,3,4,5,6,7.


- Study guide;
- S. Vogel: Cat’s paws and catapults - Mechanical Worlds of Nature and People;
- T.J. Prescott, N. Lepora, P.F.M.J. Verschure: Living machines- A handbook of research in biomimetics and biohybrid systems;
- G. Pohl, W. Nachtigall: Biomimetics for Architecture & Design.

Restricted Optional for: MBIBiologyMScB: Spec. B - Development and Adaptation4WD