Bioengineering: Design Based on Biological Principles

Join Robert Full in this fascinating presentation as he attempts to design the perfect foot. In order to do this, Full studies the varied typology of foot designs that have evolved in different biological organisms and encounters spiked feet, distributed feet, bipedal octopuses (or octopi, both plural forms are correct), glue and the nanotechnology that allows geckos to adhere themselves to smooth vertical surfaces (not through adhesive materials but through intermolecular Van der Waals forces).

The basic idea behind bioengineering is both simple and profound: observe the evolution of natural designs (mother nature has had over four billion years to get it right), extract general principles from these observations, and synthesize them into better models than those nature itself has created so far. We're not quite there yet, but we're on our way....

More importantly, however, this presentation makes explicit the need for curiosity-based research, since this type of research is more likely to stumble upon unanticipated solutions to practical problems we would not have been able to discover by attempting to solve those problems directly.



Did you ever imagine you'd have to look up to cockroaches?
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