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Nurturing nature’s innovations

Hands-on at the exhibit

  • Get up close to slugs! Then make your own slug slime
  • Take a look at incredible dragonfly specimens from the Natural History Museum
  • Experience a fly’s-eye-view, and try a movement challenge in a virtual reality headset 

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Bioinspired solutions to everyday challenges can come from the slimiest of sources.

Nature frequently provides scientists and engineers with elegant solutions to everyday challenges. This exhibit presents examples of ‘bioinspired’ technology, and some of the natural phenomena that researchers want to tap into next. 

Billions of years of evolutionary trial and error have delivered ingenious solutions that we can learn from. For instance, inspired by the strong and sticky defensive mucus of the Dusky Arion slug, a team at Imperial College London developed a new class of medical adhesive. It is made of >80% water and can bond strongly to a variety of tissues in the body, even when they are wet. This means the adhesive could be extremely useful for injury repair at sites inside the body in contact with blood. Now, the Imperial team are studying how sensory wings and visual tracking enable insects to ace flight control and predation. By taking lessons from nature they hope to improve the performance of micro-drones, mini wind turbines, and visually guided robots. 

Find out more about Celiz Lab and neuromechanics and bioinspired technologies

Presented by Imperial College London and the Natural History Museum.