BE 107, Spring 2015

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BE 107: Exploring Biological Principles Through Bio-Inspired Design


  • Michael Dickinson (BBE),
  • Richard Murray (CDS/BE),
  • Chris Kempes (CMS/GPS),
  • Floris van Breugel (BE),
  • Lectures: TuTh, 10:30-12, location TBD
  • Office hours: by appointment

Teaching Assistants

  • David Flicker (ME)
  • Melissa Tanner (ME)
  • Lab session: Wed, 1-4 or 7-10 pm (determine later), location TBD
  • Open lab hours: Mon, 1-4 pm, location TBD

Course Description

Students will formulate and implement an engineering project desired to explore a biological principle or property that is exhibited in nature. Students will work in small teams in which they build a hardware platform that is motivated by a biological example in which a given approach or architecture is used to implement a given behavior. Alternatively, the team will construct new experimental instruments in order to test for the presence of an engineering principle in a biological system. Example topics include bio-inspired control of motion (from bacteria to insects), processing of sensory information (molecules to neurons), and robustness/fault-tolerance. Each project will involve proposing a specific mechanism to be explored, designing an engineering system that can be used to demonstrate and evaluate the mechanism, and building a computer-controlled, electro-mechanical system in the lab that implements or characterizes the proposed mechanism, behavior or architecture.

Course homepage