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ENGR 100.580: 

Bio-inspired Design



Kim Lewis (TechComm),

Talia Moore (ME, ROB),

Evan Radeen (TechComm)

Fall Term

“If you like biology but you want to be an engineer, this is the class for you. We search the literature, we find these principles, these mechanisms in biology, extract them, and apply them to engineering.” 

– Talia Moore, Faculty

Course Description:

Bio-inspired design views the process of how we learn from nature as an innovation strategy translating principles of function, performance, and aesthetics from biology to human technology. The creative design process is driven by interdisciplinary exchange among engineering, biology, medicine, art, architecture and business. If you like learning weird facts about nature and want to boost your creativity, this is the course for you! You will learn about:

    • The bio-inspired design process from original scientific breakthroughs to functional prototypes
    • Applications from case studies that include gecko-inspired adhesives, cockroach-inspired robots, artificial muscles, computer animation, and prosthetics
    • Health, environment, and safety design considerations

Term Project:

Apply bio-inspired design approach, technical communication skills, and mechanical engineering skills, form a “startup company”, and pitch a new BioDesign to “investors” in a Design Showcase


Experientially learn CAD, 3D printing, laser cutting, molding, other types of fabrication, visual communication, technical description, engineering ethics, and entrepreneurship to collaboratively create and present original bio-inspired design projects

Student inspecting object while using laptop
Students’ hands working with fiber material
Group of students smiling while working with fiber materials