Biomimetics is the development of novel technologies through the distillation of principles from the study of biological systems. Biomimetic research operates in two directions. First, by promoting a flow of ideas from biology into engineering the latter can benefit from the millions of years of design effort performed by natural selection. Second, biomimetic artefacts can provide excellent models of their biological counterparts, allowing us to ask and answer questions about the biological system that cannot be addressed through experiment alone. Biomimetic systems thus provide a test-bed for theoretical ideas in biology and a means for generating new hypotheses for empirical research. We can also refer to this second class of biomimetic systems as biologically based artefacts to emphasize that they aim at unlocking the principles underlying a biological phenomenon through the construction of an artificial system.