GE1330 - Learning from Nature

Offering Academic Unit
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Credit Units
Course Duration
One Semester
GE Area
Area 3: Science and Technology
Course Offering Term*:
Not offering in current academic year

* The offering term is subject to change without prior notice
Course Aims

Imagine one day you could climb like the ‘Spiderman’; imagine one day you could swim like a shark… Are these just pictured by popular ‘Sci-Fi’ movies? No, they are also the objectives of the frontier research in the engineering, publically known as bio-inspired engineering. Indeed, the concept of bio-inspiration is not new. In the ancient times, our first tool was made by mimicking the nature; however, most of the early efforts motivated by crude imitation were not successful. Therefore, since the modern times, our civilization has been driven mainly by human intelligence. Nevertheless, the classic approach has already come to its limit for addressing today’s technological challenges. With the rise of nanotechnology, we are now aware that nature provides us the ultimate source to find better solutions. With the surge of this renewed interest, it is the time for us to revisit the ideas of ‘learning from nature’.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected:

  1. To understand the synergy between structure and size in determining the properties and functionalities of natural and man-made objects; 
  2. To be able to comprehend the state-or-art experimental techniques that are currently used for structural and property characterization of synthetic/biological materials across different length scales;
  3. To be able to formulate a problem out of a mini-project related to engineering design and use the basic knowledge in bio-mimicry to find a feasible solution;
  4. To be able to understand the general designing principles of some biomedical implants, which restore functions of diseased organs.

Assessment (Indicative only, please check the detailed course information)

Continuous Assessment: 70%
Examination: 30%
Examination Duration: 1.5 hours
Detailed Course Information


Useful Links

Department of Mechanical Engineering