Biologically inspired design is the use of designs found in nature for analogy and inspiration in designing technological systems. Biological systems, processes, and strategies provide insights into sustainable and adaptable design that can inspire technological innovation. Thus, using nature for inspiration and emulating nature is a research field growing in scope, activity, and importance.

We recently organized two workshops on “Charting a Course for Computer-Aided Bio-Inspired Design” sponsored by the United States National Science Foundation (NSF). These workshops brought together a few dozen leading researchers in computational methods and tools for biologically inspired design (http://designengineeringlab.org/BID-workshop/NSF_BID_Workshops.html). An edited volume based on the workshops and containing a dozen chapters describing the state of the art is forthcoming. Here, we briefly summarize some of the main findings from the two workshops.

Biologically inspired design seeks to exploit biology for several different kinds of design such as...

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