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Nature meets technology at Georgia Tech's conference on bio-inspired design

Through the centuries, nature has inspired countless number of poets, artists and musicians now engineers are looking to nature to help them solve some of the most complex problems of the day. For two days, May 11-12, researchers from 20 institutions will gather at the Georgia Institute of Technology for the first International Symposium for Biologically-inspired Design and Engineering.

The premise underlying this evolving field is the belief that every animal must solve a particular problem to survive, so every animal embodies a design solution for a particular problem.

"The natural selection and evolution of species provides us with the longest engineering design test of all time," said Jeannette Yen, professor in Georgia Tech's School of Biology. "By studying how organisms solve the problems they face, we get to benefit from the millions of years of knowledge embedded in the DNA of each creature."

While scientists, like Leonardo DaVinci, looked to nature for inspiration centuries ago, biomimetics has recently caught on as a hot area of research at universities across the country. Last year, Georgia Tech launched the Center for Biologically Inspired Design (CBID) as a way to encourage more of the interdisciplinary research that was already taking place among research groups. Now, the center boasts 20 members comprised of researchers from various fields of engineering, biology, chemistry, psychology, applied physiology and architecture.

Other institutions are also expanding biomimetic research. The University of California Berkeley recently opened a new Center for Interdisciplinary Biological Inspiration in Education and Research. And at the University of Toronto, researchers are busy creating methods for teaching this approach across disciplines.

At this conference, scientists and engineers from institutions, including Georgia Tech, Caltech, Case Western, UC Berkley, the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research, Shandon
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Contact: David Terraso
d.terraso@gatech.edu
404-385-2966
Georgia Institute of Technology
11-May-2006


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