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  1. Atomic force microscope
  2. Atomic nanoscope
  3. Atom probe
  4. Ballistic conduction
  5. Bingel reaction
  6. Biomimetic
  7. Bio-nano generator
  8. Bionanotechnology
  9. Break junction
  10. Brownian motor
  11. Bulk micromachining
  12. Cantilever
  13. Carbon nanotube
  14. Carbyne
  15. CeNTech
  16. Chemical Compound Microarray
  17. Cluster
  18. Colloid
  19. Comb drive
  20. Computronium
  21. Coulomb blockade
  22. Diamondoids
  23. Dielectrophoresis
  24. Dip Pen Nanolithography
  25. DNA machine
  26. Ecophagy
  27. Electrochemical scanning tunneling microscope
  28. Electron beam lithography
  29. Electrospinning
  30. Engines of Creation
  31. Exponential assembly
  32. Femtotechnology
  33. Fermi point
  34. Fluctuation dissipation theorem
  35. Fluorescence interference contrast microscopy
  36. Fullerene
  37. Fungimol
  38. Gas cluster ion beam
  39. Grey goo
  40. Hacking Matter
  41. History of nanotechnology
  42. Hydrogen microsensor
  43. Inorganic nanotube
  44. Ion-beam sculpting
  45. Kelvin probe force microscope
  46. Lab-on-a-chip
  47. Langmuir-Blodgett film
  48. LifeChips
  49. List of nanoengineering topics
  50. List of nanotechnology applications
  51. List of nanotechnology topics
  52. Lotus effect
  53. Magnetic force microscope
  54. Magnetic resonance force microscopy
  55. Mechanochemistry
  56. Mechanosynthesis
  57. MEMS thermal actuator
  58. Mesotechnology
  59. Micro Contact Printing
  60. Microelectromechanical systems
  61. Microfluidics
  62. Micromachinery
  63. Molecular assembler
  64. Molecular engineering
  65. Molecular logic gate
  66. Molecular manufacturing
  67. Molecular motors
  68. Molecular recognition
  69. Molecule
  70. Nano-abacus
  71. Nanoart
  72. Nanobiotechnology
  73. Nanocar
  74. Nanochemistry
  75. Nanocomputer
  76. Nanocrystal
  77. Nanocrystalline silicon
  78. Nanocrystal solar cell
  79. Nanoelectrochemistry
  80. Nanoelectrode
  81. Nanoelectromechanical systems
  82. Nanoelectronics
  83. Nano-emissive display
  84. Nanoengineering
  85. Nanoethics
  86. Nanofactory
  87. Nanoimprint lithography
  88. Nanoionics
  89. Nanolithography
  90. Nanomanufacturing
  91. Nanomaterial based catalyst
  92. Nanomedicine
  93. Nanomorph
  94. Nanomotor
  95. Nano-optics
  96. Nanoparticle
  97. Nanoparticle tracking analysis
  98. Nanophotonics
  99. Nanopore
  100. Nanoprobe
  101. Nanoring
  102. Nanorobot
  103. Nanorod
  104. Nanoscale
  105. Nano-Science Center
  106. Nanosensor
  107. Nanoshell
  108. Nanosight
  109. Nanosocialism
  110. Nanostructure
  111. Nanotechnology
  112. Nanotechnology education
  113. Nanotechnology in fiction
  114. Nanotoxicity
  115. Nanotube
  116. Nanovid microscopy
  117. Nanowire
  118. National Nanotechnology Initiative
  119. Neowater
  120. Niemeyer-Dolan technique
  121. Ormosil
  122. Photolithography
  123. Picotechnology
  124. Programmable matter
  125. Quantum dot
  126. Quantum heterostructure
  127. Quantum point contact
  128. Quantum solvent
  129. Quantum well
  130. Quantum wire
  131. Richard Feynman
  132. Royal Society's nanotech report
  133. Scanning gate microscopy
  134. Scanning probe lithography
  135. Scanning probe microscopy
  136. Scanning tunneling microscope
  137. Scanning voltage microscopy
  138. Self-assembled monolayer
  139. Self-assembly
  140. Self reconfigurable
  141. Self-Reconfiguring Modular Robotics
  142. Self-replication
  143. Smart dust
  144. Smart material
  145. Soft lithography
  146. Spent nuclear fuel
  147. Spin polarized scanning tunneling microscopy
  148. Stone Wales defect
  149. Supramolecular assembly
  150. Supramolecular chemistry
  151. Supramolecular electronics
  152. Surface micromachining
  153. Surface plasmon resonance
  154. Synthetic molecular motors
  155. Synthetic setae
  156. Tapping AFM
  157. There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom
  158. Transfersome
  159. Utility fog


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Redirected from Biomimetic)

Bionics (also known as biomimetics, biognosis, biomimicry, or bionical creativity engineering) is the application of methods and systems found in nature to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology. Also a short form of biomechanics, the word 'bionic' is actually a portmanteau formed from biology (from the Greek word "βιος", pronounced "vios", meaning "life") and electronic.

The transfer of technology between lifeforms and synthetic constructs is desirable because evolutionary pressure typically forces natural systems to become highly optimized and efficient. A classical example is the development of dirt- and water-repellent paint (coating) from the observation that the surface of the lotus flower plant is practically unsticky for anything (the lotus effect). Examples of bionics in engineering include the hulls of boats imitating the thick skin of dolphins, sonar, radar, and medical ultrasound imaging imitating the echolocation of bats.

In the field of computer science, the study of bionics has produced cybernetics, artificial neurons, artificial neural networks, and swarm intelligence. Evolutionary computation was also motivated by bionics ideas but it took the idea further by simulating evolution in silico and producing well-optimized solutions that had never appeared in nature.

It is estimated by Julian Vincent, professor of biomimetics at the University of Bath in the UK, that "at present there is only a 10% overlap between biology and technology in terms of the mechanisms used".


The name biomimetics was coined by Otto Schmitt in the 1950s. The term bionics was coined by Jack E. Steele in 1960 at a conference in Dayton.


Often, the study of bionics emphasizes imitation of a biological structure rather than just an implementation of its function. For example, in computer science, cybernetics tries to model actual organic structures that make humans intelligent, while artificial intelligence tries to model the intelligent function regardless of the particular way it can be achieved.

The conscious copying of examples and mechanisms from natural organisms and ecologies is a form of applied case-based reasoning, treating nature itself as a database of solutions that already work. Proponents argue that the selective pressure placed on all natural life forms minimizes and removes failures.

Although almost all engineering could be said to be a form of biomimicry, the modern origins of this field are usually attributed to Buckminster Fuller and its later codification as a field of study to Janine Benyus.

Roughly, we can distinguish three biological levels in biology after which technology can be modelled:

  • Mimicking natural methods of manufacture of chemical compounds to create new ones
  • Imitating mechanisms found in nature (velcro)
  • Studying organizational principles from social behaviour of organisms, such as the flocking behaviour of birds or the emergent behaviour of bees and ants

Examples of biomimetics

  • Velcro is the most famous example of biomimetics. In 1948, the Swiss engineer George de Mestral was cleaning his dog of burrs picked up on a walk when he realized how the hooks of the burrs clung to the fur.
  • Leonardo da Vinci's flying machines and ships are early examples of drawing from nature in engineering.
  • Julian Vincent drew from the study of pinecones when he developed in 2004 "smart" clothing that adapts to changing temperatures. "I wanted a nonliving system which would respond to changes in moisture by changing shape", he said. "There are several such systems in plants, but most are very small -- the pinecone is the largest and therefore the easiest to work on". Pinecones respond to warmer temperatures by opening their scales (to disperse their seeds). The smart fabric does the same thing, opening up when it is warm, and shutting tight when cold.
  • "Morphing aircraft wings" that change shape according to the speed and duration of flight have been designed in 2004 by biomimetic scientists from Penn State University. The morphing wings were inspired by different bird species that have differently shaped wings according to the speed at which they fly. In order to change the shape and underlying structure of the aircraft wings, the researchers needed to make the overlying skin also be able to change, which their design does by covering the wings with fish-inspired scales that could slide over each other.
  • Nanostructures and physical mechanisms that produce the shining color of butterfly wings were reproduced in silicon by Greg Parker, professor of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton and research student Luca Plattner in the field of photonics, which is electronics using photons as the information carrier instead of electrons.
  • self-purification of surfaces: paints and roof tiles that keep their surface clean just like the lotus does.
Lotus leaf surface, rendered: microscopic view
Lotus leaf surface, rendered: microscopic view
  • neuromorphic chips, silicon retinae or cochleae whose wiring is modelled after real neural networks. S.a.: connectivity
  • synthetic or 'robotic' vegetation, which are machines designed to mimic many of the functions of living vegetation as an aid to conservation and restoration. [1]

Specific uses of the term

In medicine

Bionics is a term which refers to flow of ideas from biology to engineering and vice versa. Hence, there are two slightly different points of view regarding the meaning of the word.

In medicine, Bionics means the replacement or enhancement of organs or other body parts by mechanical versions. Bionic implants differ from mere prostheses by mimicking the original function very closely, or even surpassing it.

Bionics' German equivalent "Bionik" always takes the broader scope in that it tries to develop engineering solutions from biological models. This approach is motivated by the fact that biological solutions will always be optimized by evolutionary forces.

While the technologies that make bionic implants possible are still in a very early stage, a few bionic items already exist, the best known being the cochlear implant, a device for deaf people. By 2004 fully functional artificial hearts have been developed. Significant further progress is expected to take place with the advent of nanotechnologies. A well known example of a proposed nanodevice is a respirocyte, an artificial red cell, designed (though not built yet) by Robert Freitas.

Kwabena Boahen from Ghana was a professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. During his eight years at Penn, he developed a silicon retina that was able to process images in the same manner as a living retina. He confirmed the results by comparing the electrical signals from his silicon retina to the electrical signals produced by a salamander eye while the two retinas were looking at the same image.

Slang terminology

Used in a sentence, "Lets smoke some bionic." or "This bionic's the mad chronic!". Represents marijuana, mainly Cannibas sativa or Cannibas indica.


Science Fiction

Medical bionics are a common element in science fiction, with The Six Million Dollar Man a well-known example. In the popular mid-1970s TV series, based on the novel Cyborg by Martin Caidin, scientists rebuild a wounded, barely-living test pilot into the world's first bionic man, making him "better, stronger, faster." (On April 3, 2006, at Experimental Biology 2006, leading scientists in the field of bionics explained electronically-powered legs, arms, and eyes like those on the television program. The symposium on "The $6 Billion (Hu)Man" was part of the scientific program of the American Association of Anatomists.) Caidin also discusses bionics in his 1968 novel, The God Machine. Other examples from science fiction include many cyberpunk works, including Neuromancer, and the Luke Skywalker character from the Star Wars series of movies. In the movie Back to the Future II, Griff Tannen is implanted with a bionic device that has become faulty.


A political form of biomimcry is bioregional democracy, wherein political borders conform to natural ecoregions rather than human cultures or the outcomes of prior conflicts.

Critics of these approaches often argue that ecological selection itself is a poor model of minimizing manufacturing complexity or conflict, and that the free market relies on conscious cooperation, agreement, and standards as much as on efficiency - more analogous to sexual selection. Charles Darwin himself contended that both were balanced in natural selection - although his contemporaries often avoided frank talk about sex, or any suggestion that free market success was based on persuasion, not value.

Advocates, especially in the anti-globalization movement, argue that the mating-like processes of standardization, financing and marketing, are already examples of runaway evolution - rendering a system that appeals to the consumer but which is inefficient at use of energy and raw materials. Biomimicry, they argue, is an effective strategy to restore basic efficiency.

Biomimicry is also the second principle of Natural Capitalism.

Bionic Hornet

In November 2006 the Israeli Deputy Prime Mister Shimon Peres announced plans to develop a tiny flying robot the size of hornet that would be able to chase, photograph and kill its targets. Prototypes for the new weapons are expected within three years. [2]

Other uses

In a more specific meaning, it is a creativity technique that tries to use biological prototypes to get ideas for engineering solutions. This approach is motivated by the fact that biological organisms and their organs have been well optimized by evolution.

A less common and maybe more recent meaning of the term "bionics" refers to merging organism and machine. This approach results in a hybrid systems combining biological and engineering parts, which can also be referred as cybernetic organism (cyborg). American heavy metal group Megadeth's song Psychotron refers to bionics in this form; "Part bionic and organic, not a cyborg, call him Psychotron".

See also: implant, prosthesis.

See also

  • Bioimplantronics
  • Biophysics
  • Important publications in bionics
  • Cyborg
  • Fatronik
  • Next nature
  • List of environment topics

Compare with:

  • Biotechnology

External links

  • Bionics & Evolutiontechnique at the Technical University of Berlin
  • "Warum Fliegen sich im Kino langweilen" ('why flies get bored in the cinema') by Helga Kleisny. ISBN 3-8311-0155-8. A popular German book on bionics
  • Technology And The Quality Of Life: Part One--A Vision Of The Future
  • Boxfish - DaimlerChrysler
  • Bionics2Space: Bionics & Space System Design
  • Biomimicry Guild and Biomimicry Institute
  • Duke's Center for Biologically Inspired Materials and Material Systems
  • LiveScience on Biomimetic armour
  • Israel developing anti-militant "bionic hornet"
  • An overview of biomimetics/biomimicry at the Science Creative Quarterly
  • Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago's Neuro-Controlled Bionic Arm.
  • Neural Interface bionic Arm
  • Brain Controlled Video Game
  • Ocean Energy Bionics Using Biomimicry to generate electricity.


  • European Space Agency - Advanced Concepts Team Biomimetics Website
  • BioMimicry
  • Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. 1997. Janine Benyus.
  • Biomimicry for Optimization, Control, and Automation, Springer-Verlag, London, UK, 2005, Kevin M. Passino
  • Ideas Stolen Right From Nature (Wired Magazine)
  • Big Bennett Bionic


  1.   Woodley, M. A. (2005). "Synthetic Vegetation: An Ecosystem Prosthesis", Int. J. Environ. Sci. Tech, 2:4, 395-398. [3]
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