Currently being developed by Professor Li Shiu and colleages at the University of Toronto engineering department is BIDLab, a search tool that can be used to locate biological information in Laymens terms to solve engineering problems.
Shu found that oftentimes engineers draw incorrect analogies when attempting to innovate from biology. BIDLab is an attempt to remedy this situation by providing a search engine through which engineers can make appropriate analogies in regards to biological processes that might benefit their ongoing projects. This tool can provide simple information that can inspire and guide engineers to technological advancement.
The system matches engineering functions with biological keywords derived from introductory biology texts. An engineer can enter a function for which they would like to find a biological analogy for and pull up a number of search results. This would be extremely useful in any bio-inspired project to find examples of mechanical functions in nature explained in simple terms.