Enabling natural prototypes to be used at a technical level, improving products, or developing completely new technologies modelled on nature – welcome to the world of biomimetics!
Biomimetics involves the abstraction of biological systems to yield innovative and highly functional technologies. Principles which have endured for millions of years throughout the course of evolution, and which have proven their worth and usefulness, serve as the template for technologies used by modern-day humans.
Leonardo da Vinci is considered the world’s first ever biomimetic scientist. His flying-machine designs were inspired by the anatomy of birds. And many other examples in our daily lives similarly demonstrate how useful it can be into look to nature for ideas. One such example are the towers of wind turbines. Modelled on the structure of grass blades, they seek to use the blades’ bending properties and stability. The attachment mechanism of the burdock plant is also apparent in everyday life in the form of Velcro fasteners.
In this interdisciplinary course, budding biomimetic scientists initially focus on scientific elements from biology and chemistry, as well as the foundations of mathematics and IT, before moving into technically creating prototypes based on principles found in nature.
The learning environment is familiar, working in small groups and using state-of-the-art equipment. The teaching style is geared around practical application, often collaborating closely with local companies, which encouraging simultaneous implementation of the skills and knowledge acquired at university.
Study programme and structure
Academic degree: Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.)
Standard course duration: 6 semesters (3 years)
Course commencement: Winter semester (September)
Course focus areas:
- Lightweight design
- Sensor systems
The course is run full-time over six semesters or as part of the co-operative education scheme (see www.mein-duales-studium.de) over eight semesters.
One half of the modules focus on the underlying questions of biology, including the necessary foundations (chemistry, specialised biology, materials science etc.), while the other half revolves around technology and engineering, with basic subjects like mechanics, mathematics, IT and physics.
As the course progresses, fields are increasingly interconnected, particularly in relation to the course focus areas of lightweight design and sensor systems, in subjects such as foundations of component design, lightweight structure design and biological sensor analysis.
Interdisciplinary subjects like english for scientific academic purposes and a selection of specific compulsory elective modules round off the programme.
In the sixth semester, the knowledge acquired throughout the course is applied as part of the biomimetics term project and internship phase. The course ends with a thesis.
In industrial fields, biomimetics graduates can find work anywhere involving product and/or process development in the broadest sense of the word.
This may, for example, relate to purely technical structures engineered by a biomimetics scientist, e.g. to apply the aerodynamic shape of a whale to a new vehicle.
Biomimetic scientists thus can generally be expected to find work wherever products and processes are created or further developed. The greatest potential, however, is considered to be in future technologies:
- Lightweight design for all mobile applications (aircraft, water vessels, road vehicles, mobile systems)
- Lightweight design materials
- Energy efficiency
- Sensor systems, neuronal networks
are all typical areas of work and application for biomimetic engineers.
They can play an active part in product design and development processes, construction processes and production processes as creative minds and intermediaries between the various disciplines.
Postgraduate option: Master programme
Following on from the successful Bachelors course, the Bocholt campus offers a Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering, with majors in “Robotics” and “Lightweight design”.
This course is a consecutive extension of the Bachelor´s degrees and hence cannot be taken without prior preparation.
A Masters programme can of course also be undertaken at any other tertiary institution.
Having successfully completed the Master´s programme, graduates may then follow a PhD programme at a university - national or abroad.
6 semesters Bachelor of Science, Biomimetics
4 semesters Master of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, PhD option
Redaktionell verantwortliche Person nach § 55, Abs. 2 RStV:
Dekan des Fachbereichs, Prof. Dr. Martin Maß
Note: Modul names have been translated from German course titles.
Currently, only some courses are being taught in English
Westphalian University of Applied Sciences
Tel 02871 2155-902
Prof. Alexander Sauer
Tel 02871 2155-948
Tel 0209 9596-943