Biomimetics refers to the study of biological mechanisms in order to engineer machines that can mimic them. Here are some notable research projects that others have done in this field:
Flow Visualizations Around Real Insects
Insect Flight Group - flow visualization videos: dragonfly, Red Admiral butterfly, bumble bee, moth, locust
Dragonfly and Butterfly Flow Visualizations - by Robert Srygley
Artificial Insect Experiments
“Flapper” - Large-scale model of a moth by Charles Ellington at the Animal Flight Group. This was one of the first experiments to understand insect flight. Here is a explanation and a picture.
Robofly - Large-scale hoverfly wings flapping in oil. See this article and video presentation by Michael Dickinson.
Insect-Based Flapping Wing MAV - by Gordon Leishman
Computational Simulations (CFD)
Insect Flight - Jane Wang made one of the first simulations to predict that an insect can produce sufficient lift to remain aloft. Here is another article about it.
Vortex Method Simulations - by Jeff Eldredge
Simulation - by Rajat Mittal, Here is another animation.
Bat Flight Simulation - Nice visuals but low Reynolds number.
Other Biomimetic Robots
Snake Robot - By Gavin Miller. This is one of my favorites. The movement appears very smooth on video. See also the sidewinding snake. Here is another robotic serpent by NASA.
Spinybot II - robot that can climb walls
RoboPike - a robotic fish
RoboSnail - Here’s an unusual idea.
RoboStrider - modelled after a water-strider
RoboRoach - By Roger Quinn. This hexapod is modelled after a cockroach.
RoboLobster - by Joe Ayers