Bionics

blaredsnottyAI and Robotics

Nov 15, 2013 (3 years and 9 months ago)

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Bionics

Bion
ics

(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 o
f
biomechanics
, the word 'bionic' is actually a
portmanteau

formed from
bio
logy

(from the
Greek

word "βιος", pronounced "vios", meaning "
life
") and
electro
nic
.

The
transfer of technology

between lifeforms and synthetic constructs is desirable becau
se 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
cyber
netics
,
artificial neurons
,
artificial neural networks
, and
swarm intelligence
.
Evolutionary computation

was also motivated by
bionics ideas but it took th
e 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
tec
hnology

in terms of the mechanisms used".

Contents




1

Methods




2

Examples of biomimetics




3

Spec
ific uses of the term




3.1

In business




3.2

In medicine




3.3

Politics




3.4

Other use
s




4

Quotes




5

See also




6

External links




7

References




8

Notes


Methods

Often, the study of bionics emphasizes imitation of a biologic
al 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 re
gardless 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
-
ba
sed reasoning
, treating nature itself as a database of solutions that already work.
Proponents argue that all
natural life forms

minimize and
ecological niches

remove 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



Imit
ating
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
M
estral

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 changin
g 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 smar
t fabric
does the same thing, opening up when it is warm, and shutting tight when cold.



"Morphing airplane 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 airplane 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

w
ere
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
.



neuromorphic

chips
, silicon
retinae

or
cochleae

whose wiring is modelled after
real neural
networks
.
S.a.:

connect
ivity




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 business

The latest research by Phil Richardson at the Centre for Biomimetics at the University of Bath has shown
that Biomimetic mo
dels can be used to create analogies in business. The analogies can be applied to
provide inspiration as a precursor to innovation. This approach can then be hybridised with traditional
programme governance models to create an integrated inspiration to imp
lementation method.

Examples include the application of natural systems to solving complex data problems.

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 dev
elop 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
artificia
l 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
.

Bionics are a common element of
science fiction
, with
The Six Million Dollar Man

as the probably best
-
known example.

Politics

A political form of biomimcry is
bioregional democracy
, wherein polit
ical 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 c
omplexity

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 tha
t 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 persua
sion, not value.

Advocates, especially in the
anti
-
globalization movement
, argue that the mating
-
like processes of
standardization, financing and mark
eting, 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
.

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".
This definition of bionics is best known to the
general public in reference to the television series
The Six
Million Dollar Man
, in which the titular cyborg character is referred to as a "bionic man".