Animal Engineers

Animal Engineers explores the design principles that the natural world has been built on and looks at the intentional and unintentional parallels in the human world. We’re just beginning to see the vast untapped reservoir of animal inventions and engineering solutions nature has to offer us—like super-strong animal shaped and inspired buildings; lightweight space stations from beetle wings and micro air vehicles inspired by flies.

Produced by NHNZ

Animal Inventors: Animal Engineers takes us from skyscrapers and stealth bombers to nuclear submarines to reveal that our oft-lauded technological advances are not as remarkable as we like to think.

Our designs appear quite primitive as they are matched and compared with the engineering achievements of humbler creatures…like the fireproof, earthquake-proof, self-regulating climate of a termite mound, or the aerodynamic perfection embodied in a beetle wing.

As it reveals dozens of similar examples, Animal Engineers demonstrates that animals beat us to the patent office by several million years on solutions to many of the great engineering challenges.

Now visionary scientists and futurists like Eugene Tsui are arguing that human ingenuity doesn’t hold all the answers. Instead they are basing the next generation of designs on the feathers, shells, structures and other features of insects and animals. The sources of inspiration are many and varied: quirky fish shapes for marine rescue vessels to give them stability in turbulent seas; butterflies and owl’s wings that offer new concepts in camouflage and noise abatement for stealth and jumbo jets and, from the ultimate flying machine—the housefly—comes aerobatic brilliance that will revolutionise aerial reconnaissance vehicles.

There is a vast untapped reservoir of engineering design and technology just waiting in the wings—and all the other body parts of the animal world. They’re tested, they’re proven—we need only tap into their natural genius.

Our new alliance with nature has only just begun.

Episodes From This Series

Animal I.T.

1 hour / 2001

Animal Engineers

1 hour / 2001

Animal Magicians

1 hour / 2001

Witches Were Right About Frogs

2 Minutes / 2007

Scorpions Cure Cancer

3 Minutes / 2007

Pufferfish Propellers

2 Minutes / 2007

Polar Bears Have Black Skin

2 Minutes / 2007

Life in the Freezer Exists

2 Minutes / 2007

Invisibility Cloaks

2 Minutes / 2007

How to Catch a 747 with Spider Silk

2 Minutes /

Crayfish on Mars

2 Minutes / 2007

A Modern House from Ancient Animals

2 Minutes / 2007