Naturebot: Unconventional Visions of Nature presents a humanities-oriented addition to the literature on biomimetics and bioinspiration, an interdisciplinary field which investigates what it means to mimic nature with technology.

This technology mirrors the biodiversity of nature and it is precisely this creation of technological metaphors for the intricate workings of the natural world that is the real subject of Naturebot. Over the course of the book, Barilla applies the narrative conventions of the nature writing genre to this unconventional vision of nature, contrasting the traditional tropes and questions of natural history with an expanding menagerie of creatures that defy conventional categories of natural and artificial. In keeping with its nature writing approach, the book takes us to where we can encounter these creatures, examining the technological models and the biotic specimens that inspired them. In doing so, it contemplates the future of the human relationship to the environment, and the future of nature writing in the 21st century.

This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of biomimetics, environmental literary studies/ecocriticism, and the environmental humanities.


Introduction: The Biomimetic Trail

1. Trailhead: Quadrupeds and Plantoids

2. Interpretive Station: Bats and Biomimetic Sensors

3. Interpretive Station: Social Insects and Robotic Swarms

4. Interpretive Station: Social Robots and Other Trailside Companions

5. Trail’s End: Burgers and Biomimetic Bodies