Wednesday, 2 November 2011

BAE Systems/RAF Biomimicry Roadshow

Newport Junior pupils in Years 4-6 had a very special visitor who helped them learn more about biomimicry. Brains, a larger than average, robot was the guest star in the BAE systems/RAF engineering workshop. The "fact packed" fun show educated its audience of both pupils and staff in the fact that engineers use nature to help them develop new products that help us live in the modern world.
Most people are aware how incredibly strong spider web silk is however it can also reflect UV light. A fact that has been used to produce glass with a spider silk like material embedded into it that prevents birds crashing into the windows of tall sky scrapers.
Dolphins are able to detect a Tsunami before it can cause tremendous devastation , as witnessed on the coast of Japan earlier in the year. Engineers are researching how the dolphins do this and hope to copy it to provide an early warning device. Even the humble mussel has been found to produce a non toxic waterproof glue that has been copied by scientists and is safe to use in a whole variety of situations that need ecofriendly but effective sticky glue.
Year 6 pupils went on to participate in a creative nature workhop and a Lego mindstorms robot challenge. Guiding the little robots round a tricky track laid out on the floor required great team work and programming skills.
The afternoon ended all too soon but we hope Brains will soon come back to visit us again next year.

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