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Homework Help: Physics concept that originated from an animal source?

  1. Oct 30, 2012 #1
    I need help finding some animals whose application of physics in the nature have inspired people to use the same physics in inventions/different applications.

    Some animals I've thought of are:
    • Bats (Radar)
    • Dolphins (Sonar)
    • Birds (Airplanes)

    These animals would be perfect, except there aren't many social and environmental aspects I can talk about.

    I just need some random animals to help me brainstorm.
    If anything jumps into your mind, please post it.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 30, 2012 #2


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    Bats don't use radar (radio wave reflections to determine position or speed). The use a form of sonar, or high frequency sound wave reflections in a process called echo location.
  4. Oct 30, 2012 #3

    D H

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    These are dubious examples at best. First off, bats, like toothed whales, use sound for echolocation. Radar is very different beast. Secondly, neither radar nor sonar were biologically inspired. That echolocation in bats and toothed whales is similar to how sonar (not radar) works was discovered after sonar was developed.

    The field of machine learning (a branch of artificial intelligence) does have several biologically-motivated concepts. Genetic algorithms, ant colony optimization, and particle swarm optimization, for example.
  5. Oct 30, 2012 #4
    I saw a program once where engineers had created a robotic arm based on the way an elephant’s trunk worked.
  6. Oct 30, 2012 #5


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  7. Oct 30, 2012 #6
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