Institut für Evolution und Ökologie


Via our participation in interdisciplinary research projects (e.g. the collaborative research council “Biological design and integrative structures – analysis, simulation and implementation in architecture”, our team has been involved in biomimetic projects on insect attachment, hingeless movement principles (including foldable shading systems) and optimal material flows. The field of biomimetics combines the disciplines of biology and engineering with the goal of understanding living systems in order to solve technical problems or to improve existing technical solutions. Hence, biomimetics is directly compatible with our functional morphological studies. Our practical research is complemented by the further development of the theoretical underpinnings of biomimetics into a fully fledged scientific discipline. Here, conceptual and theoretical considerations concerning biology and engineering facilitate our investigations. This entails recognising and investigating the core entities of the organism, machine and building, among which knowledge transfer occurs in biomimetics.

Key publications from this project

Drack, M., Limpinsel, M., de Bruyn, G., Nebelsick, J., Betz, O. (2018): Towards a theoretical clarification of biomimetics using conceptual tools from engineering design, Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, 13, 016007.

Drack M. (2017) An Affinity to Theories in Biology. Pages 79–86 in: Philosophy of Systems Biology: Perspectives from Scientists and Philosophers, edited by Green S. Cham (Switzerland): Springer. (DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-47000-9_7) (ISBN: 978-3-319-46999-7)

Drack, M., Betz, O. (2017). The basis of theory building in biology lies in the organism concept: a historical perspective on the shoulders of three giants. Organisms. Journal of Biological Sciences 1: 69–82. 

Schieber, G., Born, L., Bergmann, P., Körner, A., Mader, A., Saffarian, S., Betz, O., Milwich, M., Gresser, G.T., Knippers, J. (2017): Hindwings of insects as concept generator for hingeless foldable shading systems, Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, 13, 016012

Speidel, M. W., Kleemeier, M., Hartwig, A., Rischka, K., Ellermann, A., Daniels, R. & Betz, O. (2017): Structural and tribometric characterization of biomimetically inspired synthetic "insect adhesives", Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology, 8, 45-63

Betz, O., Birkhold, A., Caliaro, M., Eggs, B., Mader, A., Knippers, J., Röhrle, O., Speck, O. (2016): Adaptive stiffness and joint-free kinematics - Actively actuated rod-shaped structures in plants and animals and their biomimetic potential in architecture and engineering. in: Knippers, J., Nickel, K. & Speck, T. (Eds.): Biomimetic Research for Architecture and Building Construction. Biological Design and Integrative Structures. Biologically Inspired Systems Series. Springer, 135-167.

Bruyn, G. de, Betz, O., Nebelsick, J.H., Drack, M., Limpinsel, M. (2016): Making life “visible”: Organism concepts in biology and architecture as the basis for an interdisciplinary synopsis of constructional biomimetics, in: Knippers, J., Nickel, K. & Speck, T. (Eds.): Biomimetic Research for Architecture and Building Construction. Biological Design and Integrative Structures. Springer, 379-394.

Drack M. (2016). On connections between properties in biology – How we learn about order in organisms. Systema 4:48–53. (<>)

Betz, O., Koerner, L., Gorb, S. (2009): An insect’s tongue as the model for two-phase viscous adhesives? adhesion Adhesives & Sealants 3, 32-35


Oliver Betz
  +49 7071 29 72995
room E2A14

Funded by

BMBF Ideenwettbewerb Bionik, 2004-2005

BMBF, 2006-2007

MWFK Baden-Württemberg, 2009-2012

DFG, 2010-2013 and 2014-2019

FFG Österreich, 2016-2019

BIAG, Baden-Württemberg Stiftung, 2015-2016