Publications in Scientific Journals:

I. Gebeshuber, P. Gruber, M. Drack:
"A gaze into the crystal ball: biomimetics in the year 2059";
Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part C - Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science, 223 (2009), 50st Anniversary Issue; 2899 - 2918.

English abstract:
Biomimetics is a field that has the potential to drive major technical advances. It
might substantially support successful mastering of major global challenges. In the first part of
the article, the current state of biomimetics is reviewed, and goals and visions of biomimetics are
presented. Subsequently, possible biomimetic scenarios to overcomethe major global challenges,
as indicated by the Millennium Project, are envisaged. Those of the 15 challenges (sustainable
development, water, population and resources, democratization, long-term perspectives, information
technology, the rich-poor gap, health, capacity to decide, peace and conflict, status of
women, transnational crime, energy, science and technology, and global ethics) where biomimetics
might provide relevant contributions are considered in more detail. The year 2059 will mark
the 100th anniversary of Part C of the Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the
Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science. By this time, some of these challenges will hopefully
have been successfully dealt with, possibly with major contribution from biomimetics. A new
Leitwissenschaft and a new type of `biological technology“ are emerging, and in biology more
and more causation and natural laws are being uncovered. In order to estimate the fields of biology
from which technical innovations are likely to appear, the amount of causal knowledge is
estimated by comparing it with correlational knowledge in the respective fields. In some fields
of biology, such as biochemistry and physiology, the amount of causal laws is high, whereas in
fields such as developmental biology and ecology, we are just at the beginning. However, sometimes
ideas and inspirations can also stem from nature when the causations are not known. The
biomimetic approach might change the research landscape and the engineering culture dramatically,
by the blending of disciplines (interdisciplinarity). The term `technoscience“ denotes the
field where science and technology are inseparably interconnected, the trend goes from papers
to patents, and the scientific `search for truth“ is increasingly replaced by search for applications
with a potential economic value. Although the trend in many scientific fields goes towards applications
for the market, a lot of disciplines will stick to the traditional picture of science. An open
question left to the future is whether the one development or the other (technoscience or pure
science) is an advantage for the future of humans. In the subsequent section, the article gives
information about organizations active in biomimetics. It shows the relevance of biomimetics on
a global scale, and gives reasons for promoting transdisciplinary learning. Increasing interdisciplinarity
calls for novel ways to educate the young. Brian Cambourne“s `Conditions of Learning“
theory is recommended in this respect. This dynamic and evolving model for literacy learning
comprises the concepts immersion, demonstration, engagement, expectations, responsibility,
employment, approximation, and response. Each of these conditions supports both the student
and the teacher in their discovery of learning, helps provide a context within which to learn,
and creates an interactive and dynamic experience between the learner and the content.
In the year 2059, researchers and developers who routinely think across boundaries shall
successfully implement knowledge in solving the major challenges of their time!

Created from the Publication Database of the Vienna University of Technology.