Sunday, May 10, 2020

Spring Reading 2020 Beastly Bionics

Are you interested in engineering inspired by nature? Is your curiosity aroused by terms like bionics, biomimetics, and biomimicry? Perhaps robots and  electronics capture your imagination? Then you need to check out this book. Written by Jennifer Swanson, author of awesome books such as Astronaut Aquanaut and  Save the Crash Test Dummies, this latest title delves deeply into the ways various problems and challenges are being conquered by carefully observing nature.

As the introduction explains, "Many different areas of study use bionics: architecture, transportation, energy, medicine, farming and even communication. Because nature has already solved some challenges humans face, it's the perfect place to find ways to help." These inspirations from nature are divided into four broad chapters of solutions, helpers, energy, and healers. Each individual topic is then presented with details about the animal, the dilemma, the technology, additions that designers added, an extra fact about the technology, and "a  fascinating fact about the awesome animal."

Along with the amazing breakthroughs in design and the in-depth look at the animal's abilities and how they are steering scientists into cutting edge research, there are also incredible images. Large scale photos of each animal accompany the information and smaller photos show the technology. As readers have come to expect from National Geographic, the images are crisp, clear, and colorful.

When the term bionics is used, many people think of "The Six Million Dollar Man" or perhaps exoskeletons like those worn by Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt in "Edge of Tomorrow." But designs based on nature can also be ways to increase the brightness of LED bulbs by studying fireflies, or creating waterproof bandages based on the mucus of slugs. Sure, there are incredible replacement limbs and hearing aids, but there is so much more. The "One Creature: Many Creations" sections feature animals like spiders and geckos who have inspired several different inventions.

Besides the incredible text and illustrations, the usual nonfiction features - table of contents, glossary, index - help readers locate the information they need or want...... "Find Out More" offers a list of related books and websites. This book is perfect for young readers interested in STEM, as well as for use with science classes and robotics clubs.

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