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Engineering Marvels: Tools and Machines Inspired by Nature

written by: vishalseafarer • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 4/20/2010

Some of the simplest and greatest tools and machines are inspired by nature. From everyday tools to aircraft, this article shows how mechanical engineering has come a long way and made everyday life easy.

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    Engineering Marvels: Tools and Machines Inspired by Nature

    Let us take a look at the common and everyday tools and machines. A day is incomplete without screws, nuts and bolts, and paperclips, which are all simple objects that hold together bigger objects. Life without them is incomplete and almost impossible. Moving on to machines of higher complexity, we have cars and motorcyles, aircraft, and other machines.

    Take a look at the world around you. There are so many machines and tools that assist you in completing common and often repeated tasks and make a person's life easier. Be it at home or at office or when a person is holidaying, these machines and tools have come a long way, developing over the years, and many have been inspired by Mother Nature herself.

    Now let us take a look at the Machines and Tools that have been designed inspired by Nature.

    • Airplanes - Birds and other winged creatures that fly are the source of inspiration for the invention of Airplanes. Though, when airplanes were invented, it was just a basic model that followed the principles of physics. But nowadays, the design has changed drastically, the wing design of the airplane is designed close to that of the birds. Fighter jets' wing designs are like the birds of prey because they need to wheel and attack while commercial aircraft wings are designed like that of those birds that migrate long distances. Airplanes are some of the best examples of what machines can do, and they have some of the most complex mechanical designs today.

    Fighter Jets with Wing Design like Birds of Prey   Wing of Birds of Prey  

    Image Credits:

    Wing design of Bird of prey:

    Fighter Jet:

    • Bionic Arms and Legs - Human Arms and Legs are composed of a complicated network of nerves and well-structured muscles around bones. Bionics are said to be one the most important inventions in modern medicine. Thanks to intricate mechanics, this has been made possible and people who have lost limbs in unfortunate events can use bionic arms and legs as a replacement, though they are still under development and some people might not be as comfortable with them. Further improvements are done in the field of mechatronics, in which mechanics and electronics are applied together so that near perfection can be achieved for human arms and legs.

    Bionic Arm  

    Human Arm   Image Credits:

    Bionic Arm:

    Human Arm:

    • Helicopters - Dragonflies and Other Insects The design and weight distribution of helicopters are similar to dragonflies and other similar insects. Dragonflies are capable of hovering in the same spot for a while. The same design has been adopted for helicopters.

    Helicopter   Dragonfly  

    Image Credits:



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    • Submarines and other Deep Sea Diving Machines - Deep Sea Fishes are capable of withstanding high pressures. The body of submarines and other machines are designed such that they are capable of staying underwater without having the water pressure as constraints. Some of the machines' interior structures are also similar to that of the structure of the various marine creatures after which they are designed. These designs also help the machines to have a good water flow around the body of the machine.

    Image Credits:

    Whale -

    Submarine -

    96 970  


    • Surgical Instruments and Other Common Home Tools - Beaks of Various Birds The most complicated tools, especially the ones used for surgery, have been designed after the beaks of various birds and they are used for various purposes. Just like some beaks are used for cracking nuts and some for picking up tiny grains, similarly the instruments of various descriptions, designed after them are used for various purposes like cutting skin and small tissues, etc.

    Image Credits:

    Beaks of various birds -

    Medical Instruments -

    Medical Instruments   Beaks of Various Birds  

    There are many other instruments that have been designed after the gifts of Mother Nature. These are just a few and the very common ones that are familiar to most of the people.