5 stories that show technology combined with bugs can result in great design

Proof that RoboCop isn’t the only one to benefit from a mecha-treatment.

There are more kinds of insects in the world than all other kinds of animals put together, but because they are so small we rarely see how extraodinary they are.

– David Attenborough

Insects have long been the subject of study by scientists who want to fully understand the success of their species. Flying, swimming, gathering, distributing, multiplying or even carnage – chances are there is a bug out there with a fancy Latin name that has perfected the art – and now designers and engineers have started to harness the solutions first seized upon by the insect world in the name of good design. Take a look at these cross sections between bugs and machines, starting with…

Plan Bee

Plan Bee

This design of Savannah College of Art and Design student Anna Haldewang is an airborne drone that fits in the palm of your hand. Read more.

AI spider robot

AI spider robots

The creators of bots_alive developed an algorithm capable of generating entirely new behaviours dynamically, resulting in an interactive robot that basically functions on its own. Read more.

Rescue roach

Search and rescue roaches

Scientists at University of California did numerous tests on cockroaches to discover the secret of their shells, wanting to replicate their nimble ability to crawl through rubble. Read more.


Robobees and the future of pollination

Created by Harvard University researchers, these mechanical bugs are able to perch using a small electrical charge and may become agriculture’s primary pollinators in a few short years. Read more.

Cyborg roach

Cartographic cyborg insects

These insect-cyborgs swarm around a radio beacon to map out unsafe areas right after a major disaster, keeping human first responders out of harm's way. Read more.