Looking Back on IB 411


For the past eight weeks I have been immersed in the world of Bioinspiration through Maryanne Alleyne’s online course through the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In this time I have learned a great deal about biology, nature, and myself.

The field of bioinspiration involves taking cues from the many wonders of nature and incorporating them into our everyday lives. Through our knowledge of the natural world we are able to improve upon manmade constructions in ways that continue to amaze. Scientists around the globe are finding ways to take natural phenomena and put them to use to better mankind.

From building robots that can crawl like cockroaches to artificial leaves that are able to mimic photosynthesis, it certainly seems that bioinspiration is the future. Soon we could have robotic jellyfish cleaning up oil spills and viruses powering our cell phones. The rush is on to find novel ways to make use of nature’s wonders.

Throughout this course I have been forced to think long and hard about nature and its uses in everyday life. Sometimes the process has been long and arduous and the results subpar, other times I’ve found myself extremely proud with the end-product. To think so abstractly is not an easy process, and often I’ve found myself amazed at the ideas put forth by some of the brilliant researchers I’ve been introduced to through the last eight weeks. 

I feel this course has spurred forth a latent creativity hiding within myself. This blog was initially started to chronicle my journey through IB 411, but I fully intend to continue occasionally blogging when ideas spring into my head (and I have the free time to research).

My only regret is that I didn’t have more time to devote to this class. Regardless, the lessons learned herewithin will likely stick with me for many years to come.


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