biomimetics Bionics bio-inspiration biognosis biomimicry bionical creativity eng
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Computer Science Clay
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Joined: Jan 2009
03-08-2009, 04:00 PM

Bionics (also known as biomimetics, bio-inspiration, biognosis, biomimicry, or bionical

creativity engineering) is the application of biological methods and systems found in nature

to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology. The word bionic was

coined by Jack E. Steele in 1958, possibly originating from the Greek word ß???, bíon,

pronounced [bi:on] ("bee-on"), meaning 'unit of life' and the suffix -ic, meaning 'like' or

'in the manner of', hence 'like life'. Some dictionaries, however, explain the word as being

formed from biology + electronics.

The transfer of technology between lifeforms and synthetic constructs is, according to

proponents of bionic technology, desirable because evolutionary pressure typically forces

living organisms, including fauna and flora, 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).

The term "biomimetic" is prefered when reference is made to chemical reactions. In that

domain, biomimetic chemistry refers to reactions that, in nature, involve biological

macromolecules (for example, enzymes or nucleic acids) whose chemistry can be replicated

using much smaller molecules in vitro .

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 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

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