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Doing BiE: Lessons Learned From Teaching Bio-Inspired Engineering

[+] Author Affiliations
Christopher H. Jenkins

Montana State University, Bozeman, MT

Paper No. IMECE2011-63064, pp. 731-735; 5 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 2: Biomedical and Biotechnology Engineering; Nanoengineering for Medicine and Biology
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, November 11–17, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5488-4
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


Examples of bio-inspired engineering (BiE) abound: from Da Vinci to Velcro to robotics. Showing students the excitement and utility of BiE is easy — teaching them how to “do” BiE is much more difficult. In teaching ME 455 Bio-Inspired Engineering at Montana State University. A fundamental challenge is to teach engineers BiE without the need for them to be biologists. The nature of design itself is another challenge. The value of BiE is in expanding the engineering design solution space. Today, the usual forward approach and the one most typical for design — an engineering problem in search of a biological solution paradigm — is essentially unavailable. In this paper, we provide rationale for some of the challenges in teaching BiE to engineering students. We then share lessons learned in addressing these challenges from direct experience in the classroom.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME
Topics: Biomimetics , Teaching



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