On today’s ID the Future, Bristol University engineer Stuart Burgess dives deeper into the engineering marvels of such sea creatures as the parrotfish, sling-jaw wrasse, mantis shrimp, and the deep sea dragonfish, with a particular focus on the amazing linkage mechanisms found in these creatures. Burgess says these mechanisms are extraordinary examples of engineering prowess, and they are irreducibly complex, thereby posing a challenge to modern evolutionary theory. He and host Eric Anderson also discuss the engineering sophistication of muscles, with a specific look at the human bicep and how the muscle and the brain work together. Burgess is an expert on linkage mechanisms. His design work in this area helped Great Britain’s cycling team win gold in the two most recent Summer Olympics, and his gearboxes can be found on the European Space Agency’s large Earth-observation satellites. The occasion for today’s discussion is Burgess’s recent scholarly paper in the journal Bioinspiration & Biomimetics.
Today’s ID the Future spotlights a Bristol University engineer whose design work helped Great Britain’s cycling team win gold in the most recent Summer Olympics. Stuart Burgess, currently on a visiting fellowship at the University of Cambridge and an expert on linkage mechanisms, discusses with host Eric Anderson how top engineering firms are paying big money to learn from the extraordinary designs found in biology so as to improve their own designs. Burgess has designed groundbreaking linkage mechanisms, but he says the human knee is still well ahead of what even the most advanced human engineers have managed in this area, even accounting for the fact that wear and tear and misuse can lead to knee problems. He walks listeners through some things that make the knee an engineering marvel, and takes a look at some other masterfully designed linkage mechanisms in nature, including those found in the jaws of fish. The occasion for the discussion is Burgess’s recent scholarly paper in the journal Bioinspiration & Biomimetics.