Biomimetics (UG)

Module aims

Mankind has always mimicked nature. Fishing nets, airplane wings, sonar, computer viruses and artificial intelligence are just a few of a long list of examples where nature has inspired technological applications but many functional principles developed during evolution still remain to be discovered. Understanding these principles may help scientists and engineers to solve outstanding technological problems.

Learning outcomes

Explain the scope of biomimetics Compare approaches of nature and engineering to develop ‘optimal’ and ‘robust’ design Identify constraints in natural and engineering design Justify that natural solutions are not always the best ones Explain how both biological and engineering problems can be understood at different levels of organization: function (or purpose), algorithm, and implementation Interpret data, draw conclusions and communicate them to others

Module syllabus

 Theme I. Information and Molecular Biomimetics Theme II. Senses and Sensors: focus on audio and electric field detection Theme III. Senses and Sensors: focus on vision. Theme VI. Biomimetics of hearing Theme V. Neuromorphic electronics Theme IV. Steerable filters for image processing/computer vision Theme VII. Biomimetics of vision-based state estimation robotic applications


Basic mathematical skills and physical understanding assumed. Students need to be familiar with simple energy methods.

Teaching methods

As a key feature of the course that diverges from the traditional lecture style will be that the first (introductory) and last (concluding) lecture will be taught by both course organizers (AK and DL). This will be done in an interactive way, where expectations of students, immediate questions, and discussions on the general level are encouraged. It would (i) enable the organizers to convey an overarching framework for a quite diverse repertoire of examples and (ii) should emphasize common design principles in nature.

Each lecturer will introduce their theme with reference to the general structure of the course and to material provided in earlier lectures of their colleagues. Similarly, when concluding a topic, a link will be drawn to related topics or principles whatever is appropriate.

Lectures: 19 hours
Journal club: 8 hours


Written exam: closed-book exam worth 80% (for credit)

‚óŹ  Item 1:Presentation Title: Description:journal club presentation worth 20% (for credit) Weighting: %

No type of previous exam answers or solutions will be available

Exam rubric: The final exam is closed book, no material such as books, notes or calculators may be used. The exam will combine multiple-choice questions with essay-type questions. The exam duration is 2 hours.

Feedback : • Immediate feedback after journal club presentations • Interactive lecturing style • Direct feedback during concluding lecture • SOLE feedback 

Intercalated BSc code: BE3-MBMIME-BSC