This approach harnesses the genius of nature to solve complex problems. By emulating nature's ingenious designs, biomimetics paves the way for innovative, eco-friendly materials, structures, mechanisms and processes, reducing the industry's environmental footprint.
Technology Life Cycle

Technology Life Cycle


Initial phase where new technologies are conceptualized and developed. During this stage, technical viability is explored and initial prototypes may be created.

Technology Readiness Level (TRL)

Technology Readiness Level (TRL)

Field Validation

Validation is conducted in relevant environments, where simulations are carried out as close to realistic circumstances.

Technology Diffusion

Technology Diffusion

Early Adopters

Embrace new technologies soon after Innovators. They often have significant influence within their social circles and help validate the practicality of innovations.


Also known as biomimetics, biomimicry tackles various manufacturing challenges, from enhancing sustainability to optimising product design by harnessing the ancient wisdom of nature to solve complex problems. This approach offers solutions to issues like resource scarcity, energy efficiency, and waste reduction by emulating nature's ingenious designs. For instance, in product development, mimicking the structure of spider silk can lead to lighter yet more robust materials, ideal for aircraft components or safety gear.

Biomimicry involves studying biological systems and processes. Engineers and scientists delve into nature's designs, such as the lotus leaf's self-cleaning ability or the human circulatory system's efficiency, and then apply these principles to manufacturing. By mimicking these natural mechanisms, manufacturers can create more sustainable and efficient products and processes.

This set of solutions paves the way for innovative, eco-friendly materials and processes, reducing the industry's environmental footprint. Moreover, it fosters a more circular economy by emulating how nature efficiently recycles and reuses resources. As we grapple with the climate emergency and resource depletion, biomimicry emerges as a game-changer in the pursuit of sustainable, forward-thinking manufacturing.

Image generated by Envisioning using Midjourney

Living organisms continue to be a source of inspiration to engineers across a variety of sectors. Here we present a collection of content from the pages of Communications Engineering reporting technological advances inspired by the structure, sensing capabilities and motility of biological systems across a wide variety of classes, from mammals to plants. We have curated this content into sections defined by the engineering application direction of each study. We continue to welcome submissions to showcase more ways in which biological systems inspire engineering research.
Through most of the industrial age, we have been getting by on our own wits and inventions for new product designs. But now few savvy manufacturers are beginning look back at ...
Biomimicry is a practice that learns from and mimics the strategies found in nature to solve human design challenges—and find hope.
This review article summarizes the current state-of-the-art for biomimicry in additive manufacturing. Biomimicry is the practice of learning from and emulating nature - which can be increasingly realized in engineering applications due to progress in additive manufacturing (AM). AM has grown tremendously in recent years, with improvements in technology and resulting material properties sometimes exceeding those of equivalent parts produced by traditional production processes. This has led to the industrial use of AM parts even in highly critical applications, most notably in aerospace, automotive and medical applications. The ability to create parts with complex geometries is one of the most important advantages of this technology, allowing the production of complex functional objects from various materials including plastics and metals that cannot be easily produced by any other means. Utilizing the full complexity allowed by AM is the key to unlocking the huge potential of this technology for real world applications – and biomimicry might be pivotal in this regard. Biomimicry may take different forms in AM, including customization of parts for individuals (e.g. medical prosthesis, implants or custom sports equipment), or optimization for specific properties such as stiffness and light-weighting (e.g. lightweight parts in aerospace or automotive applications). The optimization process often uses an iterative simulation-driven process analogous to biological evolution – with an improvement in every iteration. Other forms of biomimicry in AM include the incorporation of real biological inputs into designs (i.e. emulating nature for its unique properties); the use of cellular or lattice structures – for various applications and customized to the application; incorporating multi-functionality into designs; the consolidation of numerous parts into one and the reduction of waste, amongst others. Numerous biomimetic design approaches may be used – broadly categorized into customized/freeform, simulation-driven and lattice designs. All these approaches may be used in combination with one another, and in all cases with or without direct input from nature. The aim of this review is to unravel the different forms of biomimetic engineering that are now possible – focusing mainly on functional mechanical engineering for end-use parts, i.e. not for prototyping. The current limits of each design approach are discussed and the most exciting future opportunities for biomimetic AM applications are highlighted.
Background The inaugural NAMRI/SME David Dornfeld Manufacturing Vision Award and Blue Sky Competition, funded by the National Science Foundation, was held during SME's annual North American Manufacturing Research Conference (NAMRC), June, 2017. Desired outcomes  present new ideas and vision for manufacturing research and education  consider the “outrageous” by asking new questions  present new challenges in new application domains requiring new approaches  provide bold vision of the future of manufacturing. This presentation received the NAMRI/SME Dornfeld Manufacturing Vision Award, named in honor of the late David Dornfeld, PhD, FSME.
Biomimicry – innovation inspired by forms, processes and systems found in nature – is a tool that allows companies to develop a new class of products and services.
This study examines the current technological level and industrial/technical trends in the field of biomimicry technology, as well as recent technological and research and development trends. Patent analysis was conducted, focusing on technology that uses design elements and biological/ecological characteristics to provide solutions to technological problems. The technological scope of the analysis included the field of technologies and materials that apply to the conditions found in ecology, as well as robot machines and devices designed to mimic certain animals and ecological elements. The search for patents was conducted in Korea, the United States, Japan, and Europe from 1975 to 2021, resulting in a total of 8278 raw data cases, from which 940 valid patents were selected. The percentage of patent document and the status of both domestic and foreign applicants varied among the countries of Korea, the United States, Japan, and Europe. Based on the results of the patent analysis, it was found that biomimicry technology is in a growth phase that is expected to continue in the future and that Korea and the United States are leading the development of this technology.

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