PerspectiveMaterials Science

Biomimetics and evolution

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Science  19 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6203, pp. 1448-1449
DOI: 10.1126/science.1256617

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Biomimetics is based on the idea that living systems offer novel solutions to engineering challenges, as exemplified by the legendary story of how a stubbornly attached burr led to the development of Velcro. Yet, despite dramatic increases in biomimetic research, marketable products remain rare. Evolutionary analysis can be essential for pinpointing biological features that can be emulated in engineered structures. A recently published approach that links biomechanics and evolutionary analysis (1) points to a powerful strategy for biomimetics, as illustrated by the development of gecko-inspired adhesives (2, 3).