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.

Biomimetics is a new interdisciplinary field that is quickly growing and seeks to explore, appreciate, and make use of nature's solutions at different organizational scales ranging from molecular to systems levels. The aim of this course is to offer an introduction into biomimetics as an inspiration for novel emerging technologies.

The course will be taught in a modular form where each module covers a distinct theme that will include two lectures complemented by a journal club.

Learning outcomes

Learning Outcomes - Knowledge and Understanding

  • Know the scope of biomimetics
  • Know the specific material described in the Syllabus
  • Be able to compare approaches of nature and engineering to develop optimal and robust designs
  • Identify constraints in natural and engineering design
  • Understand that natural solutions are not always the best ones

Learning Outcomes - Intellectual Skills

  • To explain how both biological and engineering problems can be understood at different levels of organization: function (or purpose), algorithm, and implementation.

Learning Outcomes - Practical Skills

  • To make your own notes, read scientific papers, think, and summarize.
  • To be able to interpret data, draw conclusions and communicate them to others.

Learning Outcomes - Transferable Skills

All practical skills listed above are expected to be transferable

Module syllabus

 Week 1 (weeks are numbered as weeks when the course runs; reading week is not counted)

Lecture 1 by Dr Andrei Kozlov: Introduction to Biomimetics

Theme I. Information and Molecular Biomimetics

Lecture 2 by Dr Andrei Kozlov

Journal club Introduction by Dr Andrei Kozlov

Week 2

Journal Club 1. (AK)

Lecture 3 by Dr Andrei Kozlov

Theme II. Senses and Sensors: focus on hearing and on electric field detection.

Lecture 4 by Dr Andrei Kozlov

Week 3

Journal Club 2. (AK)

Lecture 5 by Dr Andrei Kozlov

Lecture 6 by Dr Andrei Kozlov

Week 4

Journal Club 3. (AK)

Lecture 7 by Dr Andrei Kozlov

Theme III. Senses and Sensors: focus on vision.

Lecture 8 by Dr Andrei Kozlov

Week 5

Journal Club 4. (AK)

Lecture 9 by Dr Andrei Kozlov

Theme IV. Tough and strong materials

Lecture 10: Lecture by Dr David Labonte

Week 6

Journal Club 5. (DL)

Lecture 11: Lecture by Dr David Labonte

Lecture 12: Lecture by Dr David Labonte

Week 7

Journal Club 6: (DL)

Theme V. Dynamic adhesives

Lecture 13: Lecture by Dr David Labonte

Lecture 14: Lecture by Dr David Labonte

Week 8

Journal Club 7: (DL)

Lecture 15: Lecture by Dr David Labonte

Theme VI. Wetting phenomena

Lecture 16: Lecture by Dr David Labonte

Week 9

Journal Club 8: DL

Lecture 17: Lecture by Dr David Labonte

Lecture 18: Lecture by Dr David Labonte


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)

●  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