Computer-Aided Biomimetics

Biomimetis refers to solving engineering problems by abstracting and studying biological systems.

Engineering inspired by biology has led to various ground-breaking technological developments. Example areas of application include aerospace engineering and robotics. However, Biomimetics is not always successful and only sporadically applied in industry. The reason is that a systematic approach to biomimetics remains at large, despite the existence of a plethora of methods and design tools. In recent years computational tools have been proposed as well, which can potentially support a systematic integration of relevant biological knowledge during biomimetics. However, these so-called Computer-Aided Biomimetics (CAB) tools have not been able to fill all the gaps in the entire design process.

During this PhD project I investigated why existing CAB tools fail, proposed a novel approach – based on Information Extraction – and developedd a proof-of-concept for a CAB tool that makes it possible to work towards systematically applying biomimetics.
> 📃 Link to thesis

Designed and built a Natural Language Processing tool to identify relevant open-ended information in scientific texts. The aim was to significantly reduce the time spent on manual ontology curation for Computer-Aided Biomimetics.
> 📃 System paper (ACL 2020)
> 📃 Dataset paper (LREC 2020)
> 📹 System slides and presentation (SlidesLive)
> 📹 Short presentation SciNLP @ AKBC 2020 (Youtube)
> 💻 Code and data (GitHub)

Work towards a systematic and scalable approach to Biomimetics. The aim is to support engineers during their search for relevant information in biology texts. What information would an engineer ideally retrieve? And is that type of information actually available?
> 📹 Knowledge Transfer Network presentation (Youtube)
> 📃 Paper (MDPI Biomimetics 2018)

The interdisciplinary character of biomimetics has resulted in a plethora of approaches and methods that propose different types of design processes. There are even plenty of names that are semantically very similar: biomimetics/ Bio-Inspired Design (BID) / biomimicry / bionics / ... Although sustainable, creative and complex system design processes are not mutually incompatible, they do focus on different aspects of design. These papers explore the requirements for Computer-Aided Biomimetics. The focus is on reviewing existing literature and establishing potential directions of research.
> 📃 Paper (Living Machines 2017)
> 📃 Paper (Living Machines 2016)